My husband and I married when I was 19 and he was 21. That was a little over 40 years ago. When we celebrated our anniversary this summer, I thought about the amount of time I have spent with this man. Believe me, 40 years is a lot!
Then this week my parents celebrated their 62nd anniversary! Wow, you say… Wow is right! They married young, too. They have been through a lot together over the years.
Mom & Dad married while Dad was on leave from the Navy. He returned to the Navy shortly after the wedding, then came home for good about a year later.
They soon started a family (that would be me). They moved several times, had several jobs then ended up in St. Louis when I was 4 and my sister was on the way.
A job opening became available and Dad moved us to Wichita, KS weeks after my sister was born. While in Kansas, they added another daughter, my 19-year-old Aunt came to live with us while attending college, and Dad traveled out of town every week for his job. We attended church whenever the door was open and enjoyed the company of wonderful, life-long friends.
After 10+ years in Wichita, we moved back “home” to Missouri. I was a Jr. in high school, Sue was going into 5th grade and Janet was starting Kindergarten.
Eventually, I left for college, then married. My sisters also left the nest. Mom & Dad started having Grandkids, Dad changed jobs, Mom worked at the Church’s day school. Then they both were retired. Life moves at a snail’s pace day to day, but the years flash by.
The Grandkids began to grow up, too. The family grew – 3 daughters, sons-in-laws, then 6 Grandkids, then 9 Grandkids, and they’ve now added a couple of grand-in-laws and 2 Great-grandkids!
Throughout their lives, they have remained committed to one another, respectful of each other, and have shown us all what a strong, Christian marriage looks like. They have been an example for us through their strength, their faith, and their love for their family.
Just think what it must be like to spend your entire life with someone. (They grew up in the same town and went to elementary school together.) The ups and downs, highs and lows, happiness and sadness – all of the things that make up a life together – all to be shared with that same special person.
Here are some observations from my perspective.
Sometimes life is hard:
Knowing your partner has your back gives you strength to continue. It isn’t easy to get out of bed some days. Choose to ride the waves of difficulty together.
Sometimes you have to compromise:
You won’t always agree on it all. In fact, you may NEVER agree on some things. Learn to let the insignificant things slide. It can still feel good to “know” you were right, even if you don’t “win”.
Nobody is perfect:
We are all human, we make mistakes, we mess it up on occasion. Overlook the imperfections and know that your partner, even if not perfect, is the perfect one for you.
After 60 years, you know that person you married will not be the always be the same. Especially if you marry young. Experiences change you, relationships change you, circumstances change you. Stick it out when your partner goes through a period of change. Adjust and love who they are becoming.
Having the same approach to money matters will definitely make life run a little smoother. Talking about financial things, developing goals together, and wanting the same outcome is ideal. However, if this isn’t the case, learn to compromise. Find out what is important to your partner and consider each other in major decisions.
Your partner should also be your best friend. Have fun together, laugh together, look for the humor in situations.
Practice your faith:
Going to church together, praying, leaning on your faith always, but especially during the most trying times can bring you closer. Look beyond yourselves for the courage to move through your life.
Space to breathe:
It’s fun to share interests, but it’s also healthy to have interests as individuals. Spend time with friends as a couple, but enjoy the other times – lunch with just the girls, or hunting with the guys. Give your partner room – a little time apart can be just what the doctor ordered.
Be a team:
Work together. Stay united. Show the family that you respect each other and are on the same side.
Love each other:
The commitment to marriage is a serious one. Look for the good in your partner. Remember what drew you together in the first place. Things will change over the years but put in the effort to make the love last. Until death do us part. Honor your promise.
My parent’s marriage has encompassed all these things. I am so lucky to have grown up with their example, their wisdom, and their love for each other.
Congratulations on 62 years. We love you both so much!
To the Parents: If you have any words of wisdom you’d like to add, please let me know and I’ll be happy to edit this piece.
To any of you out there who know my parents John & Marilyn: Please feel free to share your observations, stories, and congratulations in the comment section below.