07 November, 2010

A Toast, to 30 Years

My parents recently had their 30th (30th! Three tens!) wedding anniversary. I wanted to share with all of you the toast I did at their vow renewal.

There's a lot to be said for thirty years of marriage. There's more than I could ever say, and I've
only been around for 22 years of it.

Thirty years – From a two-seater outhouse and a shack with no running water in the backyard,
now to a massive house-in-progress with acres around, you have stood the test of time. It's
incredible – and it's even more incredible that you now go up on the hill, with your cabin that has
no running water, as your romantic getaways.

When I asked about your marriage and what kept you together, the biggest thing was that you
were friends. You worked together, and you did things together, even when it wasn't really what
the other wanted to do – stories about skinning skunks come to mind – and you just didn't stop
going, even when dad had to work all the time and when we made you want to tear your hair

Your love for each other has led to a big family – nine of us kids, and now grandchildren born
and soon to come, I'm sure (Casey, get to work on that.). If success is measured by the success
of your children, I think you can be pretty happy with what there is – three of us are happily
married, with homes and jobs, and we wouldn't be here without you or without you pushing us to
do better, and be better. You are the reason why I will always count on family.

You taught us the value of stubbornness, but also how to forgive and how to compromise. You
are a team, and even though sometimes it's not absotively perfect, you keep on going and you
make it through the hardest things. You have shown me that you can't give up, no matter how
scary the world is, and that there's nothing wrong with trying. And yes, you are great parents,
because you're "cool", and because you now are my friends, too.

I'd like to read from Ruth, Chapter 1, verses sixteen and seventeen.

16 And Ruth said, Entreat me not to leave thee, or to return from following after thee: for
whither thou goest, I will go; and where thou lodgest, I will lodge: thy people shall be my
people, and thy God my God:
17 Where thou diest, will I die, and there will I be buried: the LORD do so to me, and
more also, if ought but death part thee and me.

This was read at my wedding. The Book of Ruth has always meant a lot to me, particularly for
this passage. To me, this is love. To be with that person you love, and accept them and be a
part of them in a way that is unable to be broken.

I think that, If There is Love, you'll be together, Always and Forever, and We've Only Just
. Like Nugent said, "There's hope for tomorrow, and we're workin'on today".

Just FYI, the last paragraph is because my parents had "There is Love" (by Paul Stookey) sung by a friend at their wedding, their first dance in my mom's living room was "If" by Bread, their prom song was "Always and Forever", and the first dance at their wedding was "We've Only Just Begun" by the Carpenters. The last line is from "White Buffalo" by Ted Nugent, and that was the song my dad wanted to play.

Now some notes from my mom:

What keeps our marriage together? First, it was marrying our best friends....we did things together, even things the other one didn't really enjoy, we talked to each other, whether it was good or bad. Later on, when things were a little rough, we thought about what it would be like to try to explain to our kids that "mommy and daddy just weren't happy", for no reason, just that we had tough times, and were different...I was the romantic, he was not.....that caused some issues. I was a night person, he was a morning person. I think the biggest thing that kept our marriage together was understanding each other's faults, accepting them, and stubborness. Along with communication, making sure we spoke up when there was a problem, even if it caused a fight. Knowing that a fight didn't mean the end of the marriage...and speaking up when we needed "date night" even when the kids were little. Were they all good times? No, but we also knew that it wasn't because of "who" we were with, but life in general trying to beat us down. The love for our kids, being there for them.....that made us think twice.

Did we have a five year plan? Not quite.....we were in love. We wanted to be together. Dad was going to finish college, and we wanted to have kids and a farm. I didn't want a career, just something to help us get by until Dad found a good job. We wanted kids, critters, gardens, canning...and a white picket fence. The only "plan" we had, was hoping to have our mortgage paid off by 45. Well, here we are at almost 50, planning to refinance again..and having kids went way over what we planned....but, would I do it all over again? Most of it!

and when I asked about sharing her quotes, Mom said:

You can even add in that we started out with a one room shack, no running water, in a cow pasture,and a double seater outhouse,  and here we are later, using a two room cabin, with no running water, and a porta potty, as our romantic getaway! Now, that's love!

And, my dad said, after he saw where we would be living, and did live, for 6 months....If they can make it through this, they will make it through anything...and we have! 

So here's to my parents, to their lives and what they have left behind them. They've given me a great example of how a marriage should be, and how everyone can make it if they're willing to try hard, and never give up.


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