I enjoyed reading about heroes recently in the Deseret News. No, I'm not referring to those men with the overactive pituitary glands who can shatter backboards with the force of their dunks.
The heroes I'm talking about are the five Young siblings, featured with their spouses on Page A1 in the June 17 issue of the Deseret News. I don't know how many, if any, baskets or touchdowns they made, nor do I care, but I do know, thanks to staff writer Spencer Young, they've all been married for more than 50 years.That's the stuff truly worthy of hero worship.
Slick advertisements would have us believe that by drinking a certain beverage or wearing a particular kind of footwear we can "be like Mike" (only if those shoes contain lots of flubber). A cute gimmick. Regardless of what we eat or wear, it's foolish to think we can develop the same athletic skills as Michael Jordan.
But we can incorporate those qualities the Youngs possess so that we can enjoy similar success in our relationships with our spouses.
Those who are married know the kind of commitment it takes on the part of both parties to make marriage work. Unfortunately, far too many couples aren't willing to make the effort to keep - what at least used to be - this sacred institution together. For some, divorce becomes the first option rather than the last one.
All five siblings and their spouses concur that the primary difference between divorced couples and those who stay together is how they deal with problems - not the problems themselves.
"It's all about give and take," Joanne Young said. And each spouse has to be willing to give more than he or she takes.
They accurately note that times and expectations have changed since they married their sweethearts in the 1940s. Still, theirs is a remarkable and noteworthy achievement and one well worth emulating. The Youngs are following the path of their parents, who were also married for more than 50 years.
They are the role models to follow, not the anything-goes examples spewing forth from Hollywood and other places. Just because some aberrant behaviors are accepted doesn't make them right. That's a real problem today. The focus too often shifts from "we" to "me." The "do your own thing" philosophy has taken too firm of a hold. The resulting breakdown in the family, manifested by the skyrocketing total of out-of-wedlock births and single-parent homes, somehow has to be reversed. We can't afford to have couples like the Youngs become extinct.
Sometime in my teens - late 1950s, early '60s - I had my first encounter with the so-called new morality. It was during a get-together - perhaps through my dad's work - with about 20 people. A couple in their mid- to late 20s made it known they were living together. I had no clue what that meant. OK, so they were together in the daytime. Where did they go at night? Back to their parents' homes? To think that an unmarried man and an unmarried woman would be together through the evening on a regular basis and do things that should only be reserved for marriage didn't compute.
Unfortunately, it's not unusual today for people to live together. What's becoming unusual is the marriage longevity of couples like the Youngs. That needs to change.