How is a married couple like a herd of African wildebeests and zebras?
Herds of African wildebeests and zebras migrate together because their strengths compensate for their weaknesses, making them more compatible and less vulnerable to attack. Wildebeests (also called gnus) have poor eyesight, but they have a keen sense of smell, whereas zebras have good eyesight and a poor sense of smell.
Each group has its unique set of qualities to benefit the other. Together, they can fend off enemies who threaten their survival.
Like the yin-yang symbol, they are complementary.
Rather like in a good marriage. . .
In our marriage, I’m the “wildbeest.” struggling with poor eyesight, yet I have bionic ears (thanks to my mother’s genes).
My husband Cliff is hearing impaired but sharp-eyed, essential for a visual artist.
We compensate in other ways too
Accommodation, another hefty “-tion” word, is a first cousin to compensation and a boon to harmony.
As the story goes, my Uncle Clyde Metzler, a pastor who officiated at many weddings at Hernley Mennonite Church near Manheim, PA, told the starry-eyed couple, “There are two bears in your marriage: Bear and forbear. Remember that!” Of course, such wisdom would be true for relationships of all kinds.
- Give your partner the bigger piece of chicken or lemon meringue pie.
- Stifle words of contempt. You can’t take them back. Find another way to express yourself.
- Take a walk.
- Get some sleep. Maybe you’re just tired, as I suggest in this blog post.
I Corinthians 12: 6 There are many ways in which God works in our lives, but it is the same God who does the work in and through all of us who are His.
~ The Living Bible
This year, we celebrate 53 years of marriage. Like every other couple, we have lived through tough times and have had our share of ups and downs. Nevertheless, he is still the one I would choose to be quarantined with!
My goodness , Marian, you are describing Peter and me too! He is the ‘messy’, inborn GPS artist and I the tidy, directional-challenged writer wannabe. Ups and downs? You bet! Tolerance, space and heaps of sense of humour are essential to any marriage. We just celebrated my in-laws 59th wedding anniversary: what an achievement! One can only imagine the battles they have fought and won together.
Lastly, many congratulations to you both on you 53 years of marriage. 🍾🥂❤
Thank you, Fatima, for pushing the START button on this conversation. You and Peter have lived in an RV at close quarters and in more spacious homes. Still, accommodations are required. I’m glad so many points in this post resonated with you.
Your in-laws are headed for a diamond anniversary. What an achievement!
Yes, that will be the next big celebration next year. 🍾
Good morning, Marian, and a very happy anniversary to you and Cliff! (And many more.)
Thanks for the good wishes, Merril!
You’re very welcome!
Happy anniversary, what a great reminder. I was thinking recently how Stuart is the worrier, the one who allows extra time in his estimate of when we’ll arrive somewhere, and tends to look on the negative side–so that he won’t later be disappointed. He’s the late-to-bed guy. I’m pretty much the opposite. He keeps me/us balanced. Going on 45 years. 🙂
You and Stuart seem to be a good match, complementary as you are. Did you know that sapphire is the symbol for a 45th wedding anniversary? If you are a jewelry lover . . . , I suppose! (No sapphire in my jewelry box though we’ve long since passed the milestone. Congrats as you approach # 45!
I’m glad you found your zebra, Marian. Wishing you and Cliff a happy anniversary and many more!
In animal language, we are the perfect match. Thanks for the good wishes too.
By the way, I’ve seen a hummingbird dip into my red-glass feeder. He probably visited before, but I may have missed it: They are so little and SO fast!
LOL! You are a perfect match, Marian. That’s great you’re seeing some activity. Ours has been wild! They are everywhere. Each evening, Derek and I sit out back and enjoy them whizzing over our heads and battling for domination over the feeders. I’ve gotten some great photos when they settle down and actually feed. 🙂
Happy Anniversary. I love this post. It is so true that it’s forbearance and shared values that keep a marriage together. Plus I feel it’s important that you each are two entirely different species, how else would you keep things interesting? And nobody wants boring.
You are absolutely right: Cliff is from Mars and I, from Venus. As you probably know, here’s even a book about the differences – ha!
O this is lovely Marian! Congratulations on 53 years of marriage! (they say the first 53 yrs of marriage are the hardest). What a wonderful analogy of the wildebeest and zebra … who cross raging rivers as well when they migrate. The stripes of each one of the patterns on the zebra is unique to each one. Like male and female, yin and yang. May those wonderful energies continue to complement you and Cliff. Loved the photos and the Corinthians scripture, thank you 🙂
Susan, I’m guessing that you have seen zebras and gnus in their native habitat where you live. What a privilege! I’m glad various part os this post resonated with you. Thank you!
Happy Anniversary! Thanks for posting the lovely picture of you two! It’s good to read that you have differences in your marriage, like we all have, but love finds a way! You inspire me!
Lovely to see you here, Anita. I suspect you have been married a long, long time too. Sending you hugs and good wishes for continued health and safety. 🙂
Happy Anniversary! Opposite attract! Wishing you blessings and many more good years!
I couldn’t agree more, Lisa. Thank you for the good wishes! 🙂
Marian, happy anniversary to you and Cliff. Love the photos! 💖 💘 💝 May God continue to bless your marriage.
Thank you, Linda Marie. I appreciate your good wishes! 🙂
Happy Anniversary Marian and Cliff. I love Susan’s reminder: the first 53 years are the hardest. May we all have a yang for every yin.
Thanks, Janet. The Yin-Yang image is even better than the see-saw which sometimes pictures our relationship. 🙂
A significant milestone. Congratulations and Happy Anniversary!
Thanks, Jean. I remember your pink gown with matching headpiece and all the folks from Bossler’s Church that drove all the way from PA to NC for the event. We certainly have a lot of shared history!
Wishing you a wonderful anniversary celebration! Happiest of anniversaries to you both!
Huge thanks for the good wishes, Jack!
Happy anniversary Marian and Cliff , you wonder where the years have gone don’t you . It’s 33 this year for us . Colin and myself are like chalk and cheese .I’m away with the fairies and he’s on rock solid ground , but like you , I wouldn’t have wanted to spend lockdown with any other .
Yes, Cherry, the years add up one by one. Colin and you sound like a wonderful match, and I love the way you describe it: chalk and cheese! I’ll be sure to show this to Cliff. You are a dear! ((( )))
Happy anniversary! Love the list of complementary traits and roles. And the playful way you describe compensation as we enter the twilight years.
Milton and Ruth Brackbill, my Intro. to Lit prof, were approaching their twilight stage during my last years at EMC. Remember them? I recall she had to help him off the platform when he couldn’t quite finish his chapel talk. “Twilight years” sounds late in the game, but that’s when the stars appear. 🙂
Cliff & Marian In
Happy Anniversary to special friends.
Wow, that’s impressive, Carolyn! Thank you for taking the time to write an especially beautiful tribute to us. I’ll be sure that Cliff sees this! ((( )))
happy, Happy, HAPPY anniversary! I loved the photographs of you and Cliff that you included in today’s post!
Thanks for reading and including your good wishes. I’m glad you enjoyed the staged photos, so fun as I observe from your own exhibitions on FB and Instagram – ha!
Congratulations, and wishing you many more good years together! For some reason the old ditty “Love and marriage go together like a horse and carriage” came to mind. You can’t have one without the other!” It’s that Agape love that carries us through all the messes and inconveniences, isn’t it? I am thankful to still have both hearing and eyesight intact, but Hardy is deaf without a hearing aid! That requires patience from both of us! My dad used to remind me when I was younger that life would teach me about patience and it certainly has!
Your dad was a wise, wise man. Enrolling in the University of Life ensures that you will learn patience if you live long enough…and make an effort to accommodate! Thanks, Elfrieda.
Happy Anniversary! I applaud your commitment. Love the pictures, but especially the one of you together.
Thank you, Janet. I appreciate your reading & commenting here!
Wonderful. I love your hearing and seeing photos. It is true that wonderful relationships do have that balance, and the awareness of the balance, because sometimes the things we need most are also the things that drive us crazy!
You are right, Arlene. None of it is easy, but all of it is worth it! By the way, -)
I enjoyed your blog this week and shared it on my Facebook page yesterday.
Lovely! Thank you
Congratulations and best wishes on 53 years of marriage. Wow! Love your animal comparisons. Such a clever and interesting post. Hits home for many, I’m sure.
The animal facts inspired this post, and then I thought about all the ways C. and I are complimentary, sometimes exasperatingly so! Thank you, Lorrie! 🙂
Words of wisdom… Happy 53rd Anniversary and many more, Marian and Cliff! <3 Thanks for a fun post reminding me of the many blessings we have in one another. I'm more like Cliff and Dan is more like you, Marian–perfect matches. xo
I’m glad you and Dan are a marriage of opposites–and complementary too. I know you are an artist/illustrator as well as an author, so Dan, who loves order, may be the organizer, Thanks again, for visiting today, Bette!
Happy Anniversary you two! I love your togetherness and sense of humor in this post. It’s great inspiration for these crazy times of ours when we all need to be together to get through this nut show and to be able to smile and laugh about it!
“Crazy times” and “nut show” are not exaggerations of the first half of 2020. I began the year picking the word beauty as my guide word, not imagining how the year would unfold. However, we have each other – along with a sense of humor to help get through.
There’s beauty all around. Nature displays its loveliness regardless of ugly happenings.
There is so much wisdom and humor all wrapped into your post. My wife and I just celebrated our 34th anniversary last week. Longevity does not always equal quality, and I like your suggestions.
A strong marriage works because each person can see and appreciate the other’s strengths. My wife is a doer. In some ways I wish I was more like her that way. She gets things done and doesn’t procrastinate the way I sometimes do. On the other hand, I’ve got my good points. I’m relatively smart and I’m sensitive to others’ needs and thoughts. I do think it’s important for spouses to share things in common (a good sense of humor, a hobby, etc) while also maintaining separate lives. You each need to keep your individuality but also respect boundaries.
Pete, congratulations to you and your wife on 34 years together. You are right, “Longevity does not always equal quality,” and it helps to be aware of each others’ good points.
Thanks for adding to the tips for staying happy while married – ha! 🙂
Thank you all who have commented on Marian’s post. She comes up with some interesting ones! And appreciates you reader friends so much.
Happy Anniversary to the love of my life. Now you’ll take a break from the comments and we’ll go dine at The Chart House along the banks of the St. Johns River in a couple of hours.
Yes, the Chart House was a treat, even with huge nimbo-cumulus clouds above the river for dramatic effect. Thanks for your enthusiastic support for, lo, these (gasp!) 5-3 years.
As one who wrote a book on keep a marriage thriving, Marian, I wholeheartedly concur with your advice. And so funny, I like you have impaired vision and bionic ears since I fine-tuned them for listening in on adult conversations lol. Happy Anniversary to both of you, and wishing you many more! <3
Yes, Debby, it’s been way more than 20 years after “I Do,” but you and I both know a few tricks to keep the love fires burning. Not too long ago, I found a quote from Walt Whitman that didn’t fit in this post, but which you may appreciate: “The embers left from earlier first/Shall duly flame again.” 🙂
Happy Anniversary to special people. Hope we can get together again soon.
Getting together sounds wonderful. We don’t know when, but every day gets us closer. Thanks for the good wishes, Bonnie! 🙂
Happy 53rd wedding anniversary, you two lovebirds. You must have gotten married at birth, since you both don’t look a year older than 53. And this is therefore the 53rd comment. I love your term “directionally challenged”. I could live being called that! Opposites attract, yet you are the perfect partners-in-covid times. Enjoy the treats and celebrations.
You “know” us better than most because you’ve seen us face to face. Thanks for the huge compliments and your comment about “complementariness.” Obviously, we are not without problems, with tiffs here and there, but we always get through them and go on, as you and Mark have learned how to do! Thanks, Liesbet! 🙂
How wonderful, Marian. Congratulations to you and your husband! I never knew that about zebras and wildebeasts. That’s fascinating and a great metaphor!
We wordsmiths love metaphors. I’m glad you enjoyed this one, which inspired the whole post. Thanks, Barbara, for checking amidst your busy schedule.!
My heavens this is a glorious post. Happy Anniversary one day late. Your words are SO wise (and what a great hook in the beginning). Bear or Forbear, huh? The interesting thing to me is that “the greatest of these is LOVE.” People ask, “how do you stay married so long?” Love….and a bit of forbearance. Haha. I think you should send this post to marriage counselors throughout the world. <3
Dear Most Enthusiastic Reader of All: Thank you for your huge endorsement of this post. “Marriage counselors throughout the world” sounds like a tall order but very generous of you to think so.
I do agree, Pam, the greatest of these is LOVE, pure and simple, though not always easy! 🙂
Hey, I know what I know, and your post should go viral! 🙂 (As they say these days…) Here’s to love, tough and challenging and worth it all. xo
As my marketing guru, YOU’RE HIRED, Pam! 🙂
Marian, this is precious and spot-on! Marriage certainly does require lots of compensation and accommodation and a ton of patience but it’s all worth it. Wishing you and Cliff Happy #53. You and Cliff are shining examples of how it should be. May God continue to bless you both for many years to come. And I love the creative twists you always add—I mean wildebeests and gnus. But it all makes sense!😊
Well, Kathy, we know each other pretty well by now, especially the need for patience with our mates. We had a tiff again a few days ago, but I don’t think we were tired, just stir crazy. Recognizing the underlying cause of my partner’s irritation is so important even if I don’t always practice what I preach.
Blessings to you too! 🙂
Didn’t know that about Wildebeests and zebras. And I’ve wondered why they migrated together. I’m going to have to dig around your blog for more about your challenged eyesight. I’m having my own challenges and need a kindred soul!
Jacqui, I have macular degeneration, which is treatable with injections. We are friends on Facebook, so you could iMessage me from there, or you are welcome to contact me through my email address: firstname.lastname@example.org
Except for this post, have not written specifically about my vision challenges on my blog, but I would certainly be happy to chat with you. 🙂
Thanks for the smiles! Great advice too.
You’re welcome, Fiona!
I am so sorry to be late in wishing you Happy Anniversary! (I was away and missed this post) I hope you had a splendid day! Yes, we need to rely on each other´s strengths. I love the analogy of the Zebra and Wildebeest. Your advice at the end is perfect. xo
Busy authors need never to apologize. I remember what my last summer and fall were like (2019). But here you ARE! Thanks Darlene.
Always late said the white rabbit.. What a gloriously wonderful post…Marian Congrats before I forget…53 years.. Second time around for us both and only 30 years… Me I never remember.. Him indoors always remembers.. We are chalk and cheese… Perfect staged images which me smile.. Loved them…and this post so much I can relate to including the map reading.. Mine one for maps.. I just get an image in my head of where I am and where I am going and move forward or sideways accordingly.. Who needs maps.. sigh
Carol, I never give out tardy slips (like in school). I had to smile at your ability to figure out direction. My husband says helpfully, “Just pretend you’re a bird and can see the layout.” Sorry, my mind just doesn’t work like that. Chalk and cheese we are – ha!
Thanks so much for posting, whenever it happens. 🙂
Thank goodness for that, Marian…or I would get my quota in the first few months…sigh…Which is what I do I am the bird and I get there…Not by his map… he is a map man but just by fixing on the destination which I suppose is ok if I am driving and not so good if someone else is driving…
A wonderful post and a wonderful marriage. It’s a big achievement to keep working through differences, creating new projects, and loving each other that long. Congratulations. Vic and I were well suited and balanced, but he had keener vision and hearing. Despite his mother’s nearly 102 years of life, I have the longevity. He was funny and I laughed at his jokes. I was a good cook, and he loved our food. We admired each other’s work and gave each other space and support in doing it. We both loved dogs, nature, and long hikes year round.
Elaine, in Vic you had the perfect mate, your soul mate. I think sense of humor is high, very HIGH, on the list of must-haves for marriage. A lot of daily life is almost drudgery, so being able to laugh through the bumps is huge. You had that with Vic too.
Both of us are in our late seventies, so we have had to adapt: he to my regular eye appointments and me to his hearing loss.
I’m glad you can stay in the house you literally built together and keep on enjoying nature and hikes with Disco and Willow (?).
Thank you . . . ((( )))
This is a delightful post about your relationship, Marian. Reading your lists of strengths, I am more like you but have a few of Cliff’s traits too. He is so sweet to pose for you with that ear trumpet. I have poor eye sight and had an operation on my eyes when I was younger. They are fine now, but Michael has inherited my eye problem and will also need an operation in due course. I can also hear very well and its not always a blessing.
You are sweet to comment here, but I hope you are not interrupting your spa vacation to do so.
I think we have met our matches and can revel in the differences, which can sometimes drive us c-r-a-z-y. HaHa!
Thanks, Robbie! 🙂