50 Happy Years…Really?

A 50th Wedding Anniversary: a milestone that was fairly common 25 years ago, occasional today, but which relatively few in this generation will achieve.

About.com marriage experts, Sheri and Bob Stritof  wrote of 50th wedding anniversaries, “The golden anniversary is one of the most celebrated wedding anniversaries. And rightly so!”

Who wouldn’t agree with that?  Frankly, doing pretty much of anything consistently for 50 years is an accomplishment.  Continuing, they said, “Spending half a century in love with one person is a wonderful statement about the gift of married life.”

Okay, as a stand alone statement, that’s one most people can agree with.  And Stritofs’ comment appears in their article about celebrating a 50th wedding anniversary.

But, the cynic on my shoulder gives me pause.  The assumption that spending “half a century in love with one person,” is consistently the case in a marriage, is off the mark.

Lamenting her own choices, a friend of mine, who had been through her share of bad marriages (plural) and disastrous relationships (fodder for a sit-com or a melodrama), reminded me of an encounter she had with an “old married couple.”

Fascinated by their ability to remain together, she asked them, “What’s your secret?”

Without hesitation, the man replied, “Well, you have good years and bad years.  And you have to accept that.”

Thinking the old man had misspoken, my friend replied, “Oh, you mean you have good days and bad days.”

“No,” interjected his wife, “he means you have good years and bad years.  It’s all part of marriage.”

It was then, my friend explained, that it dawned her how tenuous 50 years of marriage could be.  What if one of them had given up during one of the bad patches?

Maybe that’s one reason that 50th anniversaries are so rare these days, but if it arises—should be celebrated.

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2 thoughts on “50 Happy Years…Really?

  1. Great link. If the divorce rate is stabilized, and life expectancy increases as the article suggests, then it follows that the base percentage points would increase.

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