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How We Stood

On Saturday, August 5, 1967, Cliff and I stood before the pastor of Calvary Presbyterian Church in Charlotte, North Carolina and pledged our troth with words adapted from the Book of Common Prayer.

As we stood, we promised before God to love and cherish . . . to honor . . . to sustain in sickness as in health, in poverty as in wealth, in the bad that may darken [our] days, in the good that may lighten [our] way, and to be true. I did not promise to obey my husband. Why would I need to do that if I loved, honored,  and remained true to him?

Then the minister intoned, “Then are you devoted to each other until death parts you.”

One of our wedding cards, silvery, rang a clear bell of promise, this one from my oldest cousin Dotty Metzler Martin and her husband Ervin.

Now we are celebrating our Golden Anniversary. After 50 years, we are still standing. But not alone then or now . . .

We stood with Our Witnesses

My sisters Jean and Janice at left; Cliff’s sister Joyce on right
groomsman Don Chapman; my father Ray Longenecker and best man Paul Mumma and groomsman James Fairfield

 

We stood with Friends

Friends from Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, drove the long distance that hot August weekend from Lancaster County to Charlotte, North Carolina. We were touched by their presence.

The attendees below represent three segments of my life then: Miriam Hess from Bossler Mennonite Church, John Herr and wife Joann, who accompanied me earlier on a trip West, colleague Verna Mohler [Colliver] and then Dean of Girls Alta Hoover [Ranck], friends from Lancaster Mennonite School.

Slide from the Ruth Martin Longenecker archives
Photo restoration, Cliff Beaman

 

We stood with Parents

Cliff’s parents and sisters Joyce and Kathy took a northern route in a RV all the way from Washington state passing through Detroit, Michigan during the race riots that year.

 

Standing by Words

Wendell Berry, in his essay On Poetry and Marriage affirms that “The meaning of marriage begins in the giving of words. We cannot join ourselves to one another without giving our word . . . .”

He is quoted again in BrainPickings along with some delightful illustrations about marriage by Maurice Sendak.

 

 

Standing Tall in All Sorts of Weather

This from an essay On Marriage Theodor Gottliebe von Hippel dated 1772:

If a man could receive the advantages of marriage without the duty of standing day and night at a woman’s side in all sorts of wind and weather, then nobody would hesitate to get married.          

And in Ada Calhoun’s Wedding Toasts I’ll Never Give, the author’s therapist Asia Wong offers wise advice:

. . . you need to figure out how to build sway into a marriage, the way you do into the foundation of a building. She [Asia] says that just as a tall building or bridge without room to expand or contract, to move in stiff winds, falls down, so a marriage that’s too rigid crumbles at the first tremor.


Why I Married You

I married you because you gave me a promise. That promise made up for your faults. And the promise I gave you made up for mine. Two imperfect people got married and it was the promise that made the marriage.

 ~ Mrs. Antrobus in Thornton Wilder’s The Skin of Our Teeth

Excerpt from “The Longly-Weds Know” by Leah Furnas:

That it isn’t about the Golden Anniversary at all, / but about all the unremarkable years that Hallmark doesn’t even make a card for.

 

Now we’re off to celebrate our 50th . . . will return in two weeks on August 9 with more wedding reflections.

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