My in-laws celebrate fifty years of marriage this year and each family member was asked to write something to them.
Dear Bonnie & Terry,
I must say how much I have been blessed by a marriage that is relatively easy — For Tom and me, it was a joining of two people’s lives that made complete and total sense. Growing up, my parent’s marriage seemed so hard, which I now know was as much a reflection on the people than the institution of marriage.
I am so grateful for the man that Tom is, the man you raised him to be and for his life experiences that have shaped him into the person he is today. But I know that much of his character was formed as child in your home and I am so grateful to you and to God for allowing him to grow up in a healthy home with Christian parents who loved one another!
When I think of you two, I feel I feel more than a little awe. Your partnership seems to work so well. You two don’t talk a lot about your marriage — whether it has been easy or difficult. There is so much I would like to know. Your marriage seems to have a quiet strength. I suppose the best testimony is the 50 years you have been together. Yours has shown the test of time. CS Lewis described that kind of love as not only a feeling but a deep unity, that must “be maintained by choice and will, and deliberately strengthened by habit, reinforced by (in Christian marriages) the grace which both parties ask, and receive, from God.” It is clear that you made a choice a long time ago and you work daily to support and reinforce it. “This quieter love enables people to keep the promise. It is on this love that the engine of marriage is run: being in love was the explosion that started it.” (Mere Christianity)
When I think of you two, I think of that deep unity and the quiet love that Lewis speaks of and I know that it must have been a daily choice to make it this long! But more than simply choosing because it is the right thing to do, you both seem to be happy in your marriage. My parents certainly loved each other, but they had a strange relationship. It was a puzzle to me why they stuck it out when they often seemed so miserable. But you all have been together for more than fifty years and you seem to enjoy your life! That’s a great example to us and to our kids.
Recently I read an article that said in a committed relationship roughly two-thirds of the problems are unresolvable. That’s daunting when you think of it, but especially in a coventant of marriage where you plan to stay together until death parts you.
You two seem to be quite different and yet you have made a good life together. Whatever it is that you have found, it works and it is a joy to see you share your lives together happily. Although we cannot hope to resolve every problem, being committed to a person and to the life that you want to build together, seems to be the key.
May your lives continue to be an example to us and to your grandchildren for many, many years to come.
I love and admire you both.
And from my eleven year old son, Dylan:
Happy anniversary Grandma and Grandpa.
I hope you have had a wonderful 50 years together. And that you have many more years. I think you are nice and generous people. Thank you for being my grandparents.
From my nine year old, Jacob (with a little help from his parents.)
Dear Grandma and Grandpa — Thank you for coming to Wisconsin in the middle of he winter and for all the trips you have made here from warm Florida. You are fun and kind. I love you. Thank you for loving me. Thank you for coming to stay with us and taking care of us when my parents go on trips! You do a good job. I am glad that you are my dad’s parents! Love- Jacob
- What If Marriage Had a Natural End? (psychologytoday.com)
- What’s So Grand About Marriage? (andrewsullivan.theatlantic.com)