My parents recently celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary. My siblings and I threw a party for them for the big event. We were all involved in the planning process, and it was a bit stressful (particularly since we are pretty much all socially retarded/party-reluctant people). But all in all things went pretty well, my parents were pretty happy with the outcome, and it is a relief to have it done.
My parents are in their early seventies. I am not sure when it started happening, but BOY do they bicker a lot. Let me rephrase that -- no matter what my dad says, my mom snaps at him. When my dad tries to hug my mom she pushes him away. When he kisses her she pulls back. When he compliments her she rolls her eyes. When he asks her a question she snaps, snarls or yells a response. It is rather awful to witness -- it is like they both live in a constant state of irritation/exasperation -- and I don't know how they can stand it.
I am not around my parents very often, so I don't know if the behavior I witnessed on this latest trip is typical or atypical. Maybe the tension was just high surrounding the big event? Maybe this kind of thing only happens when my mom has an audience? Maybe? I don't know. All I know is that I sure as hell wouldn't want to be in a relationship where I was attacking or being attacked CONSTANTLY. Ugh!
I would like to think one can make a conscious decision to AVOID being so awful to their mate, but maybe that is wishful thinking? Maybe after a while you just say what you think, consequences and appearances be damned.
The boyfriend and I don't normally argue very often (then again we haven't been together 50 years -- we've been together about 3 years). We took a trip down to San Diego for the 4th of July holiday. On the drive down, I was telling him about my bickering parents and how awful it was to be around that kind of activity. Well no sooner had I told him this than many, many things started going wrong on our little getaway trip. It was frustrating. Very, very frustrating. We started in on the bickering thing. NOT FUN. Not pleasant. Bleh!
My little sister has been married for sixteen years. We were discussing my parents' situation and lamenting the fact that to our eyes they oftentimes appear to have an adversarial relationship. My sister said she thought the key to a successful relationship was having a team effort -- a "we're in this together" kind of approach. I like that concept. Part of me wants to pass that advice along to my parents, but I don't want to get yelled at.