When I was in high school I fell in love with the most beautiful young woman and we were married at age 19.
Shortly before our wedding day an older couple approached me, hand-in-hand, at church. The old man pulled me aside and explained that he and his wife had been married for more than 50 years. He asked if he might share a bit of advice - something every young man should know. He said, "Remember, sometimes it's better to get along than to be right."
At the time I didn't understand what he meant. But his words stayed with me. After 26 years with my sweetheart, I can recall many times when his advice influenced my actions. It was all about pride and perspective.
As your community newspaper, we have many opportunities to meet with older couples celebrating their anniversaries. I love it when we can announce 50-year wedding anniversaries. These milestones represent a level of commitment I fear may be fading from our society.
Earlier this year I posted an anniversary notice for Daily Courier readers Ken and Ann Thomas of Prescott Valley. They celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary Jan. 31, 2008.
I asked Ann if she would share their secret for a lasting marriage.
She said it starts with work and faith.
"It's been hard but we worked through everything together. You have got to have faith in the Lord and patience with each other - and that's something that can be hard to do at times. You've also got to laugh together - I laugh a lot."
But she cautioned that working together includes clear communication and even arguing at times.
"Talk - if you don't talk you are not going to get anywhere. I've heard people say they have been married for 35, or so many years, and tell me they've never had an argument - that's a bunch of baloney. To me, I can't understand that. The truth is there are times when the husband does something wrong, or the wife does something wrong, and if you don't talk about it and get it off your chest you're going to have a miserable life."
But amidst the work, faith and real talk Ann adds two more ingredients.
"You must love and honor each other. If you don't do that, the marriage will not last. Ken honors me by doing things for me - going out of his way for me. Even when he just stops what he's doing to hug me.
And just being there - staying with me these 60 years is a way he honors me. I thank the dear Lord for our 60 years together. We've been one of the lucky ones.
People don't realize that you become one - I don't know how to explain it, but you really are. I would have never made it without my husband - he's my right arm.
Ann also offered one piece of advice for men about how they should treat their wives:
"Don't think so much of yourself. Think of your partner more - her needs and the love that she deserves. Women want love and honor and they want to be treated special. That's not old-fashioned, that's just a bare fact."
Thank you, Ken and Ann, for your faithful examples. It seems we live in a world where marriage, faith and family values are constantly under attack.
I would like to personally invite our readers to send us their milestone anniversary announcements and photos so that we, as a community, can celebrate the success of marriages that endure.
You can use this link for an easy online milestones submission form, or e-mail your milestone anniversary information to firstname.lastname@example.org. If possible, please send us a "Now and Then" photo set - one of when you were first married, and a current photo. Jpeg photo files are preferred, but feel free to call about other formats and other ways to submit your photos. (928) 445-3333, ext. 1095.