Fifty years ago on Labor Day weekend, my husband, Stan, and I exchanged marriage vows in front of family and friends. Those vows have been the basis of our marriage and very important to each of us. We exchanged the traditional wedding vows and in many ways had a very traditional wedding, common in those days.
Our vows started out with to have and to hold from this day forward. That was something that was pretty easy to keep as we moved through the years. We supported each other, comforted each other and held on to our love through so many challenges. Life threw us curve balls at times but we managed to get through them together through love and faith.
Then we vowed to do that through better or worse. That was a little more challenging. There were a lot of bad times and a lot of good times. We both lost our parents which were tragic events, we lost friends and other family members. We had our share of fights and sometimes really struggled to get through the ‘worse’ part and return to the ‘better’ part of the marriage. Not one word in our vows said that it would be easy and we kind of went into it a little bit unprepared.
Then came richer or poorer. Our marriage was definitely based more on the poorer side when it came to finances but we are abundantly rich with our children, grandchildren, friends and family. We are blessed in so many ways and able to get by from week to week. That is considered ‘rich’ to some people and a blessing to us.
We are now reaching the ‘in sickness and in health’ part of the vows. The sick days are starting to accumulate and our bodies are not responding as they once did. This vow extends not just to yourself but to support your spouse as they go through struggles. Sometimes this is a big challenge and requires knowing them well, being extremely patient and sometimes sitting in a lot of waiting rooms, clinics and hospital rooms.
We then vowed to love and to cherish until death parts us. I am not looking forward to that part of our marriage. I am hoping that we can see 60 years or more and that those years will be good years. We have made many memories, forgiven many misfortunes, said and did things that were wrong but somehow made it to this Golden Anniversary.
In some ways it feels like only yesterday that two young and naive teenagers pledged their marriage vows and then worked to live by them. It wasn’t always easy but the rewards are wonderful.