I met this beautiful couple – Madeleine & Vincent, and their granddaughter, Mia at a park today.
Me: “What advice would you give to your younger selves?”
Vincent (86 years old): “Learn to communicate…it’s extremely important in all aspects of life. I struggled with it the first 40-50 years of my life. But now I am a lot better at it.”
Madeleine (84 years old): “Also, learn to listen. Too often, we think we understand what the other person is saying, but we don’t.”
Me: “How long have you both been married?”
Vincent: “49 years.”
Me: “To what do you contribute the success of your marriage?”
Madeleine: “He’s my best friend. And we always communicate. Also, it’s very important to forgive and forget. You cannot expect the other person to be perfect every day, so don’t take every little thing that happens in your relationship too seriously. Don’t hold onto grudges. Let go, and be happy. The only things we take seriously are sickness and death.”
Mia (9 years old): “To read more, and be more friendly”.
Madeleine went on to tell me how she grew up during the war. There was no TV, no fancy toys to play with. She thought they were poor, but her mom said “No, we are not poor. We always have food on the table”. She said: “Life was much simpler and happier back then. All the cousins lived on the same block. We played on the streets. And on Sunday, everyone went to grandma’s house. But nowadays, families are spread apart. We see each other couple of times a year on holidays.”