Last weekend I was fortunate enough to be a part of the celebrations for my parents' 50th wedding anniversary.
It was a lot of fun to share in a milestone that I suspect too few will achieve in the decades ahead.
I say that - not through any sense that the importance of marriage is diminished - rather that too few take the ‘until death do us part’ bit seriously.
Marriage seems to be going the way of many other things in our society, oriented around short-term benefits rather than long-term outcomes. I call such an approach transactional rather than relationship-based and we see it everywhere.
In so many aspects of society today, staying power and sticking power seems to be a diminishing commodity. Some would say that’s a good thing as it fosters competitive market forces and stops customers from being taken for granted. That’s true but there is still value in working with others to establish something that offers more than just a one-time benefit.
That means you’ll have some good times and bad times but both are more manageable and enjoyable if you know someone is standing firm with you.
It also gives you a bit of ‘corporate memory’ to inform your future decisions. Just like in a marriage where you learn from the subtle signals from your partner, knowing the history and background can be an invaluable asset.
I notice the same in politics. There are the diminishing number of rusted-on major party supporters and there are a growing number of people looking for the transactional benefit rather than the long-term price.
It’s a case of ‘do this or you lose me’ as a supporter. It happens to every political movement and yet the temptation to oil the squeaky wheel can lead to a loss of principle, identity and reason for being.
That damages political credibility and generally leads to worse political outcomes instead of taking a principled and methodical approach. That’s why the latter is a better way.
We want positive long-term outcomes for our nation and for all Australians.
Sometimes that comes at the price of short-term pain. But just like every participant in a golden wedding anniversary knows, the honeymoon doesn’t last forever and you cannot put off some pain forever. Trying to do so just compounds the problem. Eventually, you have to deal with the stark reality of life.
For our government, it means we have to deal with the intergenerational debt problem, the declining educational outcomes, the wasteful bureaucratic approach that is choking opportunity with red and green tape, and so much more.
We can’t pretend to still be enjoying the honeymoon of decades past. We need to now work towards keeping our economy, our society and our culture together.
Happy Anniversary Mum and Dad.