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Vogt's Notes: Celebrating a marriage milestone

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Fifty years. A half century.

That’s a long time.

Can you imagine being married for that many years?

I certainly can, and I believe many of you readers can as well. Perhaps many of you have already celebrated your golden anniversaries.

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I have more than a quarter century to go, but I firmly believe my husband and I can reach that marriage milestone because of the role models we have in our lives.

My maternal grandparents are the first people I remember who celebrated their golden wedding anniversary. I was in my 20s and not married yet. What I remember most is the party at our beloved Grand Beach in Michigan, at the golf course clubhouse. I remember that my grandma wasn’t exactly the same person she’d once been because she had suffered some strokes.

But she was beautiful in her peach-colored dress, and my grandpa was dapper in his white tuxedo with peach-colored shirt. Sadly, my grandma died soon after that party. But they reached 50 years of marriage, despite the many hardships and setbacks they weathered along the way.

I believe that’s a definite part of marriage — the hard times. it’s not always easy. Life may bring different challenges to different people, but we all experience them. We become even stronger because of them.

My husband’s grandparents were married for 50-plus years as well. I also remember that family gathering at Jerry’s Supper Club in Owatonna to mark the occasion. My husband and I, as well as his siblings, were all married by then, and we all had young children running around and we took up quite a long table. I still treasure the all-family photo we took by the restaurant fireplace that night.

My mother- and father-in-law celebrated their 50th anniversary just a couple of years ago with a trip to Hawaii. There’s one reason to keep forging ahead in marriage!

My parents just marked their 50th anniversary earlier this month. Their celebration lasted awhile: They returned to New York, where they had gone on their honeymoon; they hosted a family dinner in a Chicago suburb; and they went to Las Vegas with longtime friends who share the same anniversary date and year.

My parents met those friends on a chance encounter in the late 1970s. We were living in Belgium and my dad and I had gone down the street to a restaurant to bring home dinner. As we waited for our order, a man approached my dad and asked if he’d attended St. Ambrose University in Davenport, Iowa. Indeed, my dad had, and they chatted and exchanged names. This man was just moving his family to Belgium and my dad said to be sure to call our family.

They did and our families became fast friends.

Not only have their marriages lasted so long, so has their close friendship.

I have several childhood friends whose parents — second parents to me — also reached 50 years of marriage.

I can’t help but believe that with all these role models for strong marriages, I’ll someday get there as well. It won’t be anytime soon, but if we’re blessed with good health and the ability to roll through the tough times, we’ll get there.

Nancy Vogt can be reached at nancy.vogt@pineandlakes.com. Follow her at facebook.com/PEJNancy and on Twitter @PEJ_Nancy.

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