50 Years of Marriage

My parents aren’t perfect. They’d be the first to admit it. There were times in my life I certainly thought “less than perfect” was an understatement, but those days are gone. My parents have done a lot of things well, and today, on their 50th wedding anniversary, I want to celebrate a few.

My parents are authentic. What you see is what you get.

My parents are giving. They’d help just about anyone they could.

My parents are relational. Those who know my dad will chuckle at this one. It’s definitely an understatement. I’m not sure he knows what a stranger is. My parents have developed some phenomenal friendships over the years, and I know they’ve been a blessing to many. For the record, hearing my parents share about their friends, they feel equally as blessed.

My parents invest. I’ve watched my dad work alongside young men, and I know a group of young women (okay, so they’re my age) with whom my mom worked for several years who love being around her. Making a difference in people’s lives is important to my parents. They see opportunities instead of inconveniences.

My parents parent well. One of the things I respect most about my parents is their willingness to let me and their other children be adults. It seems obvious to let adult children be adults, but it’s easier said than done. They’ve never tried to interfere with issues I’ve had (even though I’m sure at times they certainly want to shake me and tell me how to straighten myself and my life out). They advice without demanding. They consult when asked, don’t protect from consequences, and don’t say “I told you so.”

My parents enjoy life. My dad recently said, “We’ve nearly reached 50 years of marriage, and we’ve laughed just about every single day.” Not many people can say that. My dad’s sense of humor is a bit odd. He certainly enjoys his own jokes and is probably one of the goofiest people I know. I rolled my eyes at his antics at times, but now I actually find the same antics as endearing. My mom chastises my dad for his goofiness, but she laughs, too. They find humor in the strangest situations, but the laughter they experience alongside each other has carried them through dark days and made good days great days.

My parents aren’t done living. When they retired several years ago, they shifted into another gear instead of sitting back and letting time pass.  Mom began volunteering at the elementary school to help young students who struggle to read. Dad took on many projects with friends and at home. They started walking together regularly. They took trips, visited friends and family, and helped neighbors. They live each today as fully as they can.

My parents inspire me. Not because I want to be just like them. Not because they’re perfect. They inspire me because I believe they are the best people they can be.

Of course, my opinion is a bit biased, but I’m obviously okay with sharing it with you. I want to honor my parents on their 50th wedding anniversary. And I challenge you to honor someone in your life today. Avoid empty compliments. Think of the people who really inspire you – not because they try to be perfect or have all the pieces in life neatly put together, but because they are who they are, fully experiencing and growing with each passing day. Share how someone has impacted your life, and let the impact create ripple effects through your life into others’ lives.

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