“Another anniversary. After the 50th, what’s so special about that?” Quite a lot, it turns out.
Cliff and I observed another anniversary on August 5. We had just returned from a trip to Asheville this summer (where we spent our honeymoon 51 years earlier), but I didn’t post then.
I’m posting now on the eve of my parents’ anniversary, October 26, the year before I was born.
My parents loved each other dearly, of that I am certain, but they squabbled a lot, uninitiated as they were on the compromises required of a good marriage. But here they are, on a trip perhaps to Watkins Glen, both looking content, my Dad, especially.
They were married for 44 years. Then Daddy died.
Weeks later, I remarked to Mother, “At least you had 44 years together,” well-intentioned words meant to comfort, but offensive and gauche, as I consider them in retrospect. I would never speak such words to a widow or widower now.
In a good marriage, there is never enough time.
We took time out this August to enjoy the North Carolina mountains, staying in Wren’s AirB&B in Fairview, NC where we ate eggs from her free-range hens, felt soothed day and night with the sounds of a trickling fountain in a koi pond, and enjoyed the spit of flames in her fire pit.
Click on the link for a few seconds of soothing water sounds
At the Biltmore Estate, Chihuly’s blown glass artifacts thrilled us, scattered through the bounteous blooms and water features in the gardens.
Time to Eat, Pray, Love
My husband does pray, here assuming a meditative posture in the prayer room of the chapel at the Cove; however, I think he is checking out photos on his cellphone.
Melodie Davis posted a blog with a similar title a few months ago, both of us deriving the phrase from Elizabeth Gilbert’s famous memoir.
In it, she passed on some wise marital counsel , beginning with “The annual setting out of our tomato stakes is often a barometer of our marriage.” Then she included eleven tips for keeping love in marriage. Here are the first three:
- You keep the vows because you promised each other you would.
- You find ways to practice daily love expressed through a kiss, a kind word, a special smile, a favor or deed done for your loved one.
- You make getaways—weekend trips or longer if you can—when it is just the two of you. You treat yourselves to the luxury of a nice motel or cabin or camping if that’s your thing, and enjoy the snuggles.
Watch your Words
Last year I offered more tips, expanding on the exhortation to “Stand on the Promises.”
After All This Time
Kenny Rogers’ rendition
You are invited to comment on marriage, your parents’ or your own.
And feel free to add tips.
Glad I took the time to pop in here and be surprised by your quoting me! It’s a busy day and I nearly delayed commenting … but love your thoughts and memories and lovely photos of your own highlights. I will add that I am especially inspired by my parents’ long years together modeling ongoing love, commitment, romance. They got lots of groans from us kids but I think Daddy and Mother thrived on the groans … they certainly didn’t let it stop their frequent public smooches. Blessings!
I’m glad your first surprise this morning was a pleasant one. Thanks for your contribution to this post, in the content ~ and in your reply, first responder here. 🙂
And I think your background is Mennonite, so I’m surprised about your parents’ “their frequent public smooches.” What a great example they have been through the generations. Blessings back to you, Melodie!
Beautiful post, Marian. As I watch Alzheimer’s slowly steal my mother from us, each day I’m reminded of 1 Corinthians 13:4-8 as I’m blessed to I see my father tend to her every need with patience and love.
Your mother has the best caregiver in the world, a kind and long-suffering husband. I hope he gets some breaks though. Care-taking is hard, hard, work, which I know you understand. Blessings to you also as you minister to your mother’s needs. : -)
I try to give him breaks, but I never feel it’s enough. He is amazing with her. Thank you for your blessings, Marian. <3
To all who give loving care: 😇
I had the benefit of knowing without a doubt that my parents loved each other and that they would never leave each other even in the hard times, except through death. When my father died at 54, it was clear that my mother lost the love of her life. Stuart and I both had the benefit of parents who loved long and well and have tried to give that same gift to our children. Next year we look forward to reflecting on those years with our children and grandchildren in Nova Scotia, the place where we started our journey.
I remember your description of each of your parents in BLUSH, and recall how you expressed their compatibility even though (perhaps, because) they had different temperaments.
You and Stuart are modeling happy marriage to your children and to all those who read your writings. Soon you’ll observe your 50th with your soulmate. My congratulations in advance!
What a lovely way to spend your anniversary! That koi pond is very soothing! Such delightful photos.
My parents have been married for 61 years. For their 50th anniversary, my brothers, sisters-in-law, and I threw a party for them and invited their closest friends.
Love the passage above Cliff. Such good advice.
You must have clicked on the video, Marie. I’m glad you found it soothing ~ and the comfort of verses in Philippians as well.
Your parents are fortunate to have you and others celebrate their long life together. It’s wonderful, isn’t it, to have such great role models!
Loved the Kenny Rogers song at the end. Reminded me of how much I miss dancing with my husband of 44 years. Hard to believe he’s been gone eight years. Good years, fun years, hard years, but love won out and we made to the end. Thanks for sharing your celebration along with your parents. Cherish your friendship.
You are welcome!
I knew John and observed how you were so complementary, in temperament and talents. I know you miss him terribly. Thanks for responding here again, dear cherished friend.
Congratulations on 51 years of marriage! How special. My parents were married just short of 60 years as dad passed away in June and they were married on October 2. They were very much in love and mom still holds his memory close to her heart. She is happy she had those 60 years. The Kenny Roger´s song is perfect. xo
Your parents maybe never heard the Kenny Rogers song, but they lived it nevertheless. Thank you for remembering them today ~ a happy reminiscence amid all the negative news these days. Thank you, Darlene!
They would have heard this song I’m sure as it’s from 1986. They were Kenny Rogers fans. They certainly lived it. Their favourite song was Anne Murray’s May I Have This Dance (for the rest of my life) as they met at a dance. I cry whenever I hear it. xo
Sweet post, Marian. Gentle. I thank you for that, a calm oasis in the midst of a very troubled sea. Woody and I were recently talking about this very topic— what keeps a marriage alive. I am very (very) pleased and grateful that he said “listening,” I concur. To really hear each other is vital.
OK, back I go into the churning waters.
Listening is the best result of hearing. You’re so fortunate to have Woody, obviously a kindred spirit. I just checked (and commented) on the “churning waters,” and spotted several allies.
Happy belated anniversary, Marian, and I am glad to hear you had such a lovely trip. When 2 people live together for such a long time, it is inevitable that disagreements will occur every so often, but how else are we to complement each other? Respect and compromise are essential, as well as sharing good times, alone or with family and friends. Nice post. ❤👍
You and your husband often live on the road, which means close quarters, the true test of a relationship. Recently on Facebook I believe you posted a photo of you two in your RV. I’m not sure who was driving, but it must have been a selfie! 🙂
Such a lovely post and photographs Marian thank you; those gardens are beautiful and striking. I listened to the tinkling water and some of Kenny Rogers. I popped back to your wedding day too. And honouring your parents in this way is also lovely. Was Cliff maybe looking for a particular scripture on his phone in the prayer room? I’m giving him the benefit of the doubt, doubt being a strange bedfellow to faith? 🙂
I liked the 3 tips by Melodie Davis .. Maybe I’ll check out the others time permitting. I’d add to be yourself at all times, so that the marriage partner also has the freedom to be themselves – perhaps I should add ‘within limits’ – but this is supposing that we all put our best foot forward 🙂
Nice try, Susan, but he tells me he was checking phone photos. Perhaps he prayed earlier, probably for our family.
Be yourself is good advice, which I take to me show your authentic self, even if vulnerabilities are revealed. Thanks for checking in with your own brand of wisdom, Susan ~ always appreciated.
Good morning, Marian. I’m getting here late today. Thank you for the lovely post–gentle, as Janet said. It’s a good reminder to promise and practice love and loving and to cherish the moments you have.
Great photos, too. 🙂
Thanks, Merril. I’m glad to be connected to people who speak their minds in a civil way. Now I hear about bombs in the mail. Like you, I’ll practice love in my sphere of influence. And I’ll vote too!
Marian — Happy anniversary! I enjoyed the photograph of your parents, and of your getaway in the mountains of North Carolina.
For Len and I — Our practice of intentional kindness has served to keep the fabric of our relationship much smoother than it might have been.
Two strong people linked together requires intentional kindness when being rude would be the easier route. Good advice, Laurie, and I speak from experience too!
I love that you brought your parents into this celebration of your 51 years of commitment. Thank you. As for practices that keep Dave and I going into our 38th year together…well, sharing your dreams. I dreamed this morning that I went and bought two train tickets, one for me and one for Dave. Then Dave came, and he was bringing my dufflebag that I had left behind in our room. I shared this dream with Dave as he was getting ready to bike to the ferry and to work.
I love that you shared an actual dream with Dave and that you can make your dream come true sometime in reality. Train trips are intriguing: the sound of the PRR train echoes in my memory forever. We’ve discussed such an excursion, perhaps a trip when the leaves are pretty up north next year . . . or the next.
I wonder what Dave was thinking as he ferried to work. Hmmmm! Let us know how the story develops. And in the meantime, thanks for sharing your thoughts here. 🙂
Happy (belated) anniversary! It looked like a beautiful place to celebrate and make memories together. Maybe that a “tip” for marriage – make memories or create moments. They don’t have to be attached to a big or expensive event, just a blink that makes you smile for a week, a year or many years. 😉
You are right, Jenn. Shared memoires don’t have to include trips that strain the budget of drain energy in other ways. As you say, “just a blink that makes you smile for a week, a year or many years.” Thanks! 🙂
Marian, I like your honest assessment of your parents’ relationship. It looks like they weathered the storms! My parents were able to celebrate their 60th anniversary, although by that time dad was using a walker all the time. My mom was almost nine years younger and she outlived my dad by three years.
Your holiday sounds like the kind Hardy and I would enjoy!
Our children did an awesome celebration for our 50th last August, ahead of our January anniversary.
It sounds as though your parents were both ambulatory through their long marriage. I’m so impressed with your children celebrating your golden anniversary early. They are really gung-ho, which reflects on their love 💕 for you!
Happy anniversary, Marian. We are at 34 years and it has had its ups and downs but we are in it for the long haul. I have found that most important is communication and respect. You must have been a child bride!
Thanks for the compliment, Janet, but I was most definitely not a child bride! I do agree that communication and respect are keys to a happy marriage. Thanks for stopping by today. I visited you too! 😊
Thank you for sharing this post. I’ve been married for 4 years but together for 14 (yeah we did it backwards, oops.) We had good intentions as we were engaged 14 years ago, but we kept putting it off for one reason or another.
Anyways I think we are in a good place now but it has taken work. You are right, even if we had been together 75 years it would not be enough time, not if you really love them. My tip is to put the other one first and God before him/her.
Welcome, Kathleen! It seems five is your magic number, 5 blogs, mother to 5, and busy wife. Yes, I did discover your blog and learned also that you are Canadian. I like your tip, which certainly fits with my philosophy. Thanks for reading and commenting here!
Beautiful tribute Marian. All your messages of love and words I speak about in my book Twenty Years: After “I Do”. And to me, this is a most poignant line: “In a good marriage, there is never enough time.” 🙂
Thanks for choosing this line: I guess it speaks of the fragility of life and our devotion to our partner in spite of it all. Yes, how well I remember your solid advice in “Twenty Years, a book I read and reviewed not so very long ago. Folks, here’s the link: Twenty Years After I Do.
Oh, you are too kind Marian. Thanks for sharing my book link. <3
But of course!
What a lovely tribute to marriage, Marian—both your parents and yours. I too was blessed with parents who were crazy about each other for the 67 years of their marriage. It was a gift and a blessing to be a beneficiary of their love. Happy Anniversary to you and Cliff and may you share many more!
Thank you, Kathy. I like the unabashed way you describe your parents as crazy about each other ~ and for 67 years. What a blessing and a half!
I hope you are getting a respite from the arduous journey we are sharing now. It boggles my mind that you have gone through this process twice!
HaHa! I guess we write because we can’t Not write. Our stories lead the way. The break has been essential and I learned a few lessons along the way😊
What a lovely post! And congrats on your years of love.
Thanks for posting here and for the blessing!
A big congratulations to both of you! 51 years, wow. And, what a wonderful idea to go back to the place of your honeymoon to celebrate. I totally understand the sentiment that how ever many years you spend with your partner, it is never enough when you love each other. I just revealed to Mark that my biggest fear is to lose him. Quite sentimental, coming out of my “fearless” mouth.
My parents have been married for 44 years this month. They constantly bicker, yet, it seems like a habit. They’ve done it forever and they keep doing it. While it drives me crazy, it somehow seems to be a part of their relationship. And, while I’d never want this in my relationship, they are used to those interactions.
One day, I hope to have a honeymoon as well. Mark and I have been married for 11 years and it still hasn’t happened, because of our lifestyle. We couldn’t afford a nice vacation together, but we have chosen an alternative life that we both enjoy, and that somehow makes up for the fact we’ve never gone on a holiday together. 🙂
Thank you for taking me on a walk down memory lane with your parents. I think the bickering may have become a habit, like in my parents’ marriage. Once my mother said to Daddy in the presence of our children, “We should stop fussing. They aren’t used to this at home.”
Mark is obviously your soul-mate, travel-partner. . . and much more! You mention never have had a honeymoon. Maybe, just pick at place you travel to and designate it as a honeymoon. You don’t have to spend a lot of money to make it special. 🙂
Here I am late again to the party! Love this post. Being married is an amazing state. bill and I have been married going on 54 years! We love to eat together, pray when things get rocky, and love each other more and more every day, which seems to happen as we get older.
You’re never late to the party: I never close comments, so the welcome mat is always out.
You say you and Bill love each other more every day. I wonder why that is: sharing so much (happy and tough times) together, seeing life as more and more finite? Hmmm I understand that feeling! Thanks, Joan.
A lovely post a tribute to your parents and Cliff…It must be lovely to be soul mates 🙂
Yes, be are fortunate, and I don’t take this for granted. Thanks, Carol!
I’ve had to think about this …that is what I always do , think about things, because if a question is worth a ponder it’s worth an answer.
I love all the photos of you and your husband , by the way , you always look so happy .😊
Colin and myself are about to embark on 31 years in Dec and can you belive I never wanted to be married . I was never keen on the title ‘Married ‘ …’she’s married you know ‘ . Mrs somebody or other never appealed to me and yet all my family have married, and successfully, just like myself and Colin , and now in 2020 my son Cameron is getting married …I’ll need a big hat for that one .
Anyway confessions out of the way . I’m feeling philosophical today 😂.
You are so, so Cherry. I love your thoughtfulness and transparency about your thoughts and feelings.
After I met Cliff I wrote in my journal, large cursive mind you, “Mrs. Cliff Beaman” because I wanted to be married. To him. And you know the rest of the story. I am to thrilled to hear you and Colin are happy after 31 years, a record by any standard.
And I’m glad you departed from the philosophical to contemplate what you’ll wear to Cameron’s wedding. One of those fantabulous fascinator hats we see on attendees at royal weddings? Hahahaha! ((( )))
How wonderful, Marian. Such good fortune. The love between you and Cliff is palpable, even on line. And I agree. There’s never enough time. I had a 42 year run of partnership and hugs, trusted love, passion, and spiritual companionship. I don’t expect to repeat that and haven’t tried. I still feel married even 10 years after my husband’s death. We didn’t argue often, but we were good at disagreeing without causing mortal wounds. My parents didn’t argue either. My grandparents got along well, too, so I saw many good marriages.
I’ve admired Chihuly’s glass in Seattle, in Rochester, NY, and at the Corning Museum of Glass in NY, but I have never seen it displayed outside. Your photo helps me imagine the shimmering colors and undulating waves. I love the hens, too.
If your parents are at Watkins Glen, they chose one of the less spectacular waterfalls for their photo. There are smaller falls at the beginning and end of the main trail, so maybe they were there. The gorge looks like many around here–and they’re flowing with abundant water this year.
Thanks for sharing your love and your marriage celebration.
Thank you for your conversation here. I always feel like warming my cup o’ tea when I see your face in this column. Yes, we are both fortunate in love. Some people live all of their lives never feeling loved from head to toe. Worse, some are mortally wounded by those who once declared their love.
About my parents’ photo: The place is just a guess, but it was probably in New York state. The date stamp says June 17, 1948, and my guess is that Mother didn’t get the photo developed right away. If I’m reading the date correctly, my grandma would have taken care of us three girls at home. That’s what pictures do, evoke memories and ask questions.
I’m glad you have seen Chihuly’s work. He is amazing, but I’m guessing he has help with the glazing and firing.
Thanks for all of this, Elaine. Best wishes too as you prepare for November!
Congrats on your wedding anniversary. You did it up just fine! I, too, enjoy being married and agree with your commenters that when it works out, it’s the best.
[And now to see if the system will take my comment.]
It’s a hit! I wonder if you used a different browser . . . whatever you did, it worked! I’m glad you and hubby are a good match. Thanks for commenting, Ally. 🙂