In a day and age where the divorce rate is nearly 50 percent, I've come to realize how precious my grandparents 62-year marriage is.
When you stop and take in how long 62 years really is, it's pretty overwhelming to think that my grandparents' marriage is older than the internet, super glue or the first at-home microwave.
There are many great lessons that can be learned from my grandparents — and grandparents in general — but the one thing I have taken away from their relationship that will stick with me forever is the importance of finding the right partner. Keyword: partner.
My grandparents are true partners in life, they've been through it all together — for rich or for poor, for better for for worse, in sickness and in health. You have to be in order to stay with someone for 62 years.
I'm sure they've been through plenty of hard times, as every relationship goes through ups and downs, but they took their vows very seriously and decided their relationship was worth it. If you see one of them, you'll always see the other right by their side or at least a few feet away; they are inseparable.
They went camping together every single summer since they were married, and while their children and grandchildren were busy swimming and boating, they were side-by-side on the sand, enjoying one another's company.
When I'd go to their house for dinner, my grandma would be busy cooking in the kitchen while my grandpa would be vacuuming the carpet and setting the dining room table before the guests arrive.
When my grandma's eyesight started to deteriorate, my grandpa drove her everywhere, and instead of making her walk through parking lots, she patiently waits as he pulls the car up for her every time they go somewhere.
As they get older and their health starts to take a turn, they still continue to support one another, sometimes quite literally. My grandma recently got hip surgery, and my grandpa was by her side the entire time. As her hip healed, she still needed a cane to walk and my grandpa will walk slowly beside her, helping her up and down stairs and into the car whenever she needs.
They go to each other's doctors appointments, sitting in the room with one another as the other gets checked out, never leaving each other's side.
You see, red-hot passion and physical looks fade. It's something a lot of millennials put such a huge emphasis on. “He was nice, but not quite what I'm looking for physically,” or “she was a great person, but I'm looking for something more wild and passionate.”
If your relationship is based solely on surface-level things — things that will not make a difference in 10, 20 or even 60 years — the chances of longevity decrease significantly. We focus so heavily on things that will fade away after years without considering that long-lasting love is actually about finding a partner in life.
My grandparents have taught me to be with someone you'll want to be with through thick and thin, someone who will make you smile after 60 years, someone who will have your back and you'll have theirs, someone who will nurse you when you're old and vice versa.
My grandparents taught me to be with someone with whom you can still find things to talk about after decades of being together. I once asked my grandparents what they talk about after being together for so long, and they said they always find stuff. That, my friends, is what you want in a lifelong partner.
Love is more than just the shallow qualities that seem to be so important while we are young. Love, long-lasting love, is about partnership, friendship and companionship.