Although we live miles away from my grandparent, both from my mother and fathers side, as a family we make it habit to visit them often in their home. Our home is their home too, and often you will find them over in our house. Although my grandfather from my mother side passed away some years back, the memories of him are still green, and I would say am lucky to have witnessed the love they shared with my grandmother Monica. When it comes to love, I have had my grandparents to look up to, and for me, they are a real definition of true love and relationship goals. Curious about how they managed to stay together for years as a couple, despite the many trying moments that come along in relationships, I will interview both of my grandparents from my father's sides.
Ella and Jonathan have four children, and my father is their third child and only son. Ella my grandmother is 76 years, and Jonathan is about to celebrate his 80th birthday in the coming month. They both went to the same church back in the day, and they were active members of the church. In church, they were friends though not close. Their bond became tight when they went to the same college. Being from the same church, and going to the same collage, they found themselves spending a lot of time together. For them, it was not love at first, but a friendship. Jonathan was a bit older to Ella, and in college, Jonathan was one year ahead. My grandmother said, "Jonathan was a charmer and ladies were flowing his way, I did not see him to ever being my boyfriend then and so I was a friend." Jonathan in his final college year, surprising he invited Ella for dinner in his home, as a friend Ella obliged. The day changed everything, "as he walked me home he openly declared his feeling towards me, I would not say I was shocked since there were days I also felt love sparkles but I would not tell him. I always thought it would kill our friendship." Ella said.
Jonatan and Ella married in a church wedding at the age of 25 for Jonathan and 22 for Ella. None have been married before, and they never divorced. They both have been in the marriage for 55 years. To them, marriage has not been easy, and they all had thoughts to quit at one time, but divorce was not an option for them. Both were brought up in a strict Christian family, and divorce was not an option. They were left to fight through together. Ella says "I remember when Gina was born my last born, and I suspected infidelity of which, a friend said she saw Jonathan with another woman, but Jonathan would not admit. We could not see eye to eye, I was broken, and I wanted to leave." To Ella, this was the harder's moment and the hardest decision she was left to make. It is funny how now they laugh about it and talk freely. To them, the friendship they had before love was the greatest thing that kept them together. Jonathan said, "she is my best friend."
Another great secret to our love is acceptance of change and tolerance. Growing older we realized life changed. We had a family of four children, and there were bills to be paid and no time for the hot romance. Although Ella was working as a secretary in a school, Jonathan was the family breadwinner. Ella said, "I would not say Jonathan ever failed to provide and he loved his sons and daughter more than anything, they were his priority." Our love for God and prayers was another strength. We remember to pray for each other, and we prayed as a family always. "Today we celebrating or 55th year in marriage and I would not want to have another woman beside me," said Jonathan. "I love how he holds my hand when walking downstairs and when we walk to church together, said Ella."
When I interviewed each separately despite the difference in their declaration for their intimate love for each other, they all shared similar stories. When I look at them look at each other and smile, I pick along a lot of love and respect. They are a happy couple, and to them, they choose to be happy in the remaining days of their marriage. When asked my grandmother why she decided to stay with him despite the infidelity rumors she said "he is my Jonathan and he never hit me on any day or my children. He never left even when I failed, and he grew the guts to apologize." Ella said, "am not telling you to let your partner in future disrespect you, and you to allow them, but let them know when they wrong you and let them apologize."
Looking at them, I want to have that too, when I grow old. The bond they have now cannot be broken, and in twenty years to come, they will be closer than today. Talking to them gives me a different perspective on life and marriage. Today we live in a society where divorces are everywhere and to see them together and still in love after many decades, I realized marriage could last if only both parties are willing to work on it even at the hardest times. The hot romance may not last, but accepting change and appreciating the little thing in marriage makes happiness inevitable, and marriage is no longer counted in the number of years, but the good years together.
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