My parents celebrated their 40th wedding anniversary on September 30th and they did so in grand fashion! A party was thrown at a local country club with some of their closest friends and family. It was a great way for many people to say congratulations and reflect back on 40 years of marriage.
My siblings and I were all tasked with playing a part in the celebration and each gave their own reflection on Mom and Dad’s 40 years. To prepare a few words, I did a good amount of research (snooping around the house when they weren’t home). I was really interested in looking back at the roots of their relationship and reflecting on my childhood/their time as parents. I wasn’t necessarily looking to share their story, or some magic formula for maintaining a successful marriage, but that’s what it turned into. Here’s the best I could come up with:
Lasting love is kind of like putting a puzzle together.
There are usually a lot of pieces, so it’s not always easy and oftentimes we have to find some pieces that went missing from the box. But when it all fits together,
it’s a beautiful thing that made the time and effort of putting it together all worthwhile.
I don’t know about you, but when putting the puzzle together, I always start with the edge pieces. “Learning to love” (I meant this to be the examples of love we see growing up), and “finding love” are like the edge pieces. In many ways, that’s the easiest part of the puzzle, but of course, anchors the whole picture.
It’s all those pieces in the middle that somehow need to fit together, which isn’t always easy. That’s what I called, “keeping love.” For Mom and Dad, it has been the right mix of compassion, patience, partnership, selflessness, communication and humor. If we think about all our closet relationships, I’m guessing it’s a similar puzzle. To keep relationships going takes more than just love. It takes a whole lot of complimentary characteristics in order to be able to work through the good times and the bad, the tragedies and the triumphs. Mom and Dad have worked hard at their relationship. And for that we are all grateful, especially us kids.
I shared a bunch of photos (more to share since the projector gave out on me halfway through my presentation…), and shared some fun stories and memories along the way. And here was my final reflection: In many ways, not a lot has changed in the 40 years since Mom and Dad got married. Short some very special people in their lives who are no longer with us, it’s still the same support of loving families and in many ways the same exact friendships that they had back in high school, many of whom were present again at the party. Think about how much changes in 40 years for that to still be the case!
So I guess that’s part of the puzzle of lasting love too – support. Whether married or not, dating or not, we all have loving relationships in our lives and those whom we support as friends and family in their respective relationships. I share this article as another opportunity to say “Congrats Mom and Dad!” but also, so that you can reflect on your own relationships too. Keep working on those puzzles!!! Because while they can be hard work, lasting love is truly a beautiful thing.