Earlier this month, my wife came home from her sorority meeting and I noticed that she he had a button with my picture pinned to her shirt. I asked her, "What's with the button?" She said she wore it because it was our fiftieth wedding anniversary month and she was "wearing her man for the world to see."
June 30, 2012 marks the day of our 50th wedding anniversary. Our oldest granddaughter, realizing how long fifty years is, proclaimed to her Grammy, "You guys have been together a half century. Imagine that, one half a century."
As I thought about this, I wondered, what do you do for an encore? Do you do what you have been doing for the last fifty years all over again, without the mistakes you made during the first fifty? Yes, there have been mistakes, but we weathered them together. During fifty years you learn to apologize, when necessary, and remember to act out the Golden Rule on a daily basis, "do unto (the other half of you) as you would have them do unto you."
People joke about the "yes dear" rule. It goes something like this: "How do you stay together so long?" the man says he learned to say, "Yes dear." He realizes that because he wears the pants doesn't mean that he wears a crown. He is a partner not a king, but indeed she is a queen. Yes, we know there are exceptions to the queen rule. In today's society with the rap industry, we've seen the woman go from answering to being a queen to answering to being called a *itch, spelled with a B. As for me, I am a true believer and I believe you get what you pay for. If you act like kingfish and treat your "lady" like a sapphire, she will act accordingly. On the other hand if the only role models you see are negative images in relationships, you can't be expected to act any other way.
If you want your marriage to last and have a beautiful, positive experience, as mine has been, you've got to study relationships. Read about relationships, observe positive relationships, learn all you can about relationships, and you can be the best husband/wife that you can be. As long as I am talking in general, don't forget to study your spouse's needs and desires and then work to fulfill them. The rewards will fulfill you. Remember; do unto her/him as you would have her/him do unto you. Otherwise, someone else will. Be bold with your personal and intimate experiences. Remember the other rule is, "try it, you might like it."
Over the years I have bought every type of relationship book I could find. Reading to your love makes for a great evening. Sometimes it even makes for great foreplay. It could be the love poetry by Jeremy Benton, in his book, "This is My Beloved", published in 1943, at page 36, where he writes... "We will cross here where the street is crowded that I may hold your hand. We will ride the subways that we may sit touching—that there be no distance between us. Speak ---that I may fill my ears with you... Stay near me, so . . . that I may fill my lungs with you . . . Come home with me . . . that I may fill my arms with you," etc. When you read that kind of love poetry, some of today's love messages sound like garbage.
I have brought books home that could be characterized by some as pornography, but for others, it's a part of the continuing education course in how to keep your marriage interesting. Doctors, Lawyers, educators, all have to attend continuing education courses to keep their skills current, so why not have continuing education courses in marriage? If you think you already know everything, welcome to a looming failed marriage statistic. If you're still there after fifty years, then I would say what you're doing is probably working. Have you read "Song of Solomon" in your King James Bible lately? One man's pornography may be another's scripture.
In fifty years, we have transformed two solo numbers into one symphony. We are no longer separate and apart as when we were single. We are no longer just a pair, but a family of continuing math changing from one, to two, to five, to fifteen. We have lived together, loved together, cried together, laughed together, and travelled together, as far as we were blessed to afford to travel, by car, plane, bus, and motor-home. We've seen Europe, Africa, and twenty states in the U.S. We've worked together, suffered pain together, and had fun together. Mostly, we've used the Golden Rule toward one another because, at the end of the day, we like each other.
One thing we have done that may serve as a suggestion to others is that during a time, years ago, when trouble and the Devil approached, we wrote daily letters to one another in a diary. By writing you can express yourself and your feelings without feeling the need to strike back at a comment that the other party just made. You can read and take the time to digest and respond appropriately. Sometimes that response is simply, "Thank you, now I understand", or "I won't do or say that again." Or you can respond, "I'm glad you liked that. I'll remember it for the next time."
It is important to tell our story because it may help some other couple stay together fifty years. We have learned much about relationships and families and we don't let others define our relationship. And so, this month we celebrated each day together, letting the world know that I am hers and she is mine. I may not have her picture on my lapel, and maybe I will, but mainly she is in my heart every day!