A wedding anniversary is the celebration of love, trust, partnership, tolerance and tenacity. The order varies for any given year. ~Paul Sweeney
Love is the thing that enables a woman to sing while she mops up the floor after her husband has walked across it in his barn boots. ~Hoosier Farmer
Today is a rare occurrence. It’s one of the few times in a century when a calender date is a series of consecutive numbers. A lot of engaged couples settle on these dates so their wedding will be unique and memorable. And many believe getting married on one of these dates will bring good luck or fortune for their marriage.
My parents do not need such luck. They have plenty of blessings to celebrate on this date. Today, my parents will be celebrating their 60th anniversary.
The funny thing is…this is not a big deal for them. My sister and I started off planning a big birthday party for our mother’s 85th birthday in August. But she decided she didn’t want a big spectacle. Instead, we had a simple celebration with over 20 family members and long-time friends at The Olive Garden (her choice).
Then she said she’d rather have a big party with my father for their 60th anniversary. And as we started work on a guest list, menu, decorations, etc., she decided that was going to be too much too. So, again, we scaled back. So again, this weekend we will celebrate with over 20 family members and friends. This time, we will be dining at Jumpin’ Catfish (my father’s choice).
John Lee Logan and Christine Jones were married on November 12, 1953. There was no big church wedding – they exchanged vows at the courthouse. My godparents, Samson and Loretha Butler, owners of a bakery, stood and witnessed. And provided the cake. There was no limo. There was no elaborate, over-the-top sit down dinner. It was the 50’s. And they were a young, colored couple who were in love and chose to spend their lives together.
When they said “I DO” in front of the judge and their witnesses, they probably never imagined they would be celebrating a diamond anniversary. Nor did they anticipate the events and life situations they would encounter in between the wedding and today. My sister was already in place when they married, the daughter of a father who left when she was very young. There would be two miscarriages before I was born in 1962 – two brothers who never made it out of the womb. During this marriage, my parents have encountered hospital trips and surgeries, traumatic tragedies, financial struggles and family conflicts. But they’ve also enjoyed fun family trips to visit relatives, memorable family reunions, and lots of laughter over the dinner table.
Over the years, I’ve become somewhat of a wedding and marriage observer, if not expert. Influenced and inspired by my godparents, I spent almost 20 years as a baker and chef. At best estimation, I’ve prepared appetizers, dinner and cakes for almost 400 weddings. I’ve prepared a small sit down dinner reception for 20 people. And I’ve prepared buffet dinners for over 300 wedding guests. There were couples who were just so much in love, they didn’t care if it rained on their wedding day. And there were “bridezillas” who were more focused on the florist brought the wrong shade of flower than they were if they had chosen the right man.
I can say with certainty…a marriage is more important than a wedding. A whole lot of planning can go into the perfect wedding. But do we put as much energy into the vision of a marriage? Are we certain we love someone so much we are truly willing to endure the ups and downs years of wedded bliss, and misery, will bring? My parents experienced a lot. But I never heard them say the word “divorce”. I never saw them separate. There have been plenty of arguments, some playful and some very serious. But even today, my father will stop to kiss my mother before he walks out the back door.
For some couples, it would make sense to have a big, diamond jubilee celebration this week. But not my parents. As much as my mother likes a social event, she is content with a small dinner. My father? He could really care less if it is big or small. Matter of fact, he doesn’t really care if we just had dinner at home. But maybe that’s one of the secrets of their long marriage. Simplicity.
For those couples who are getting married today, on 11/12/13, I say….make it simple. Don’t make a big fuss for your wedding day. Make sure you love each other and will choose to love each other no matter what complications you encounter in the coming years. You can always have a big, but simple, celebration later…on your 50th anniversary.