My parents celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary today and I thought I’d wear this white maxi dress as a tribute to their half century of love. It is in no way as beautiful as my mom’s wedding dress, but I’ve been saving this dress for a special occasion and what better occasion than my parent’s 50th anniversary?
My dad told me that he and my mom have actually known each other for 51 years; he met my mom when she was 17 and he was 24! They were both so young when they married, yet, they’ve been able to grow and mature together and weather everything that life has thrown at them…and believe me, they’ve had A LOT thrown at them! From constantly moving with the military, raising four kids, burying their own parents, surviving a terrible car accident, losing one home to a flood, to dealing with serious health issues, they have faced so much adversity. How, I often asked myself, are they able to continue through these challenges? So on this special day, I asked my dad to tell me the secret to a long and happy marriage. What he said is amazing in its simplicity.
Marriage is a God-given project that is never completed whose goal is heaven. I think many of us have heard that marriage is work, but I sometimes think that the word “work” carries a negative connotation when used to describe a marriage. After all, when two people are in the budding days of their romance, nothing seems like work. Everything is perfect, from what they say, what they do, what they wear and what they think. It’s only after we are with someone for a while that we start to see that we have to put more effort into our relationship to understand the other person, make sacrifices for him, and love him unconditionally, and we ask our partner to do the same for us. Is that work? I supposed we could look at it that way. Or, we could view marriage as a gift like my parents have done for the last 50 years. Who doesn’t love to receive a gift? And don’t we usually take care of those gifts that we really love? And if that gift is going to help get us to heaven, or to whatever other place you believe in, wouldn’t we want to take care of it and nurture it even more?
I am in no way an expert on marriage and I truly hope I’m not giving that impression. I will tell you that I love my husband and no matter what will face us in the future, I will continue to love him. Unconditionally. After all, I know two people who have done the same thing for the last 50 years and they have turned out just fine.
Photos by Hunter I. Riddle