Her and my grandfather, Bill, had been married, just two months shy of 60 years.
In total I've been alive for just over 1/3 of their entire married life... 1/4 of their total life span...
Today looks grim for most single DC-ers, with the intrusion of the real housewives of DC and politicians scrounging up new lovers every day, it's hard for the single people out there to step back and breathe the smog-ridden air and not think about the rat race that is hunting down relationships in the bars and kickball leagues of this city.
So I've come up with a few little life gems, along with the help of my mother/father/grandfather, which might not be relevant to you today, but they should help you along as you grow.
1. Stop obsessing over George Clooney/Anna Paquin. It's not going to happen.
Pinning all your hopes on the impossible-to-attain-lover, only sets up your future relationships for failure. No one can compete with the vision of perfection you have in your head and it's not fair to make them.
2. Settling down with a person who has opposite life goals, will only hurt you both in the end. If you want three kids, and they want nothing to do with children, you'll only wind up with high-blood pressure and a headache. Finding out five/ten years into a marriage or a relationship that they don't want to have kids/dogs/join homeowners associations/invest in hedge-funds will only stress out the relationship and bring it to the brink of possible failure and heartbreak for both parties.
3. You can't change someone's moral/ethical values. This particular piece of wisdom from my grandfather, might seem erroneous to some, but in honest truth, I find it the most important rule of all. I'm not going to get preachy, but opposing moral values can strain relationships. If you believe ardently about giving 20% of your income to helping the poor and your significant other thinks that you're wasting money on bums buying alcohol and refuses to support you in your charity work or vice-versa, then at the end of the day you have a huge moral dilemma on your hand that could have been avoided had you picked a mate with a similar moral compass. I'm not saying that people of opposing religions can't get along... I'm saying that if you and your spouse/sig-ot don't agree on the directions of your life and your impact on the world as a couple, then you're going to have problems on your hand.
4. Perfection doesn't exist. Hard to accept, I know. However, someone with flaws that you can surpass, does exist. Make sure that at the end of the day, the way they click their teeth up against a fork isn't going to drive you crazy. Learn to love the whole person, from the leaving the seat up, to the forgetting to clean the hair from the drain (disgusting, I know).
5. You don't live forever and neither will your spouse. My grandfather said something tonight that stuck with me, "I was given 60 years with someone, I didn't deserve a day with." There will be fights. There will be arguments. There will be moments you want to take down the 22 and blow their brains out, but the truth of the matter is this. When you find someone with whom you decide to spend the rest of your life with, cherish it. Everyday is a new adventure and you never know when someone will kick-off before their time, but you shouldn't take the time you have with them for granted.
Every relationship in your life, brings you to where you are. From your relationship with friends/family/lovers/boyfriends/girlfriends, etc... There are lessons in every moment of your life that brings you to who you are and to the significant other you will become. As long as you remember that the life-gems around you always have things to teach.