Friday, August 03, 2007

Young Marrieds

Yesterday on Fresh Air (NPR) during an interview with Pegi Young, they played part of an interview with her husband, singer/writer Neil Young.

My sister Michelle introduced me to Neil Young, and I think fondly of her whenever I hear him. Which has nothing to do with this blog.

In the clip, Neil talked about his marriage, pointing out how unusual it was for a guy in his profession to be with the same wife for twenty-five years. I really like some of the reasons he gave for why his marriage worked – especially as I see similar qualities in my own marriage.

Here are my paraphrases of his words:

1) They aren’t a conventional couple – not following stereotypical roles.

From this I gathered that instead of following standard or expected roles, they molded their partnership specifically to best meet their needs – the marriage is designed to be their marriage.

2) Pegi did not insist or expect him to “settle down” upon marriage.

I don’t think this meant that he was irresponsible; instead he seemed to be getting at the commonly held notion that once someone is married, they need to become someone else – a new person. Instead, Pegi and Neil allowed each other to be the person they courted.

3) They changed and adapted over time – together.

People change, and these two gave each other grace to do so. Instead of seeing change as a threat, or even a disappointment, strong couples see change as part of the mutual adventure.

Albert Einstein said: “Women marry men hoping they will change. Men marry women hoping they will not. So each is inevitably disappointed.”

4) His marriage made him more free as an artist.

Rather than restricting him, Pegi freed him creatively. This was evident in the interview with her, when she was asked about songs that Neil wrote about her. She confessed that there aren’t many songs that are just about her; many have her in it, but they are about other people as well.

And she was proud of that; clearly understanding that the art needs to be bigger than her – heck, bigger than Neil – if it was truly to be art. Many a spouse would be prouder if they were the center; the true partner propels their spouse beyond the “me.”

So that is my paraphrase, as well as my interpretation of what I thought Mr. Young was getting at. He is surely blessed with the partnership he has received and nurtured.

And so am I.

Today, Catherine and I celebrate eleven years of life collaboration.

Thank you, buddy, for making me better than I could possibly be alone.

Just my thoughts,



Anonymous said...

Happy Anniversary!!

Still Rocking in the Free World with Neil.

NC Gaffneys said...

Happy Anniversary a little late....

Jeffrey Overstreet said...

Congratulations, Sean and Catherine!

Anne and I will be celebrating our own eleventh anniversary in just two months, so we're right there with you, overjoyed and without a moment's regret.