Dearest Daughters,

How do I explain the commitment your father and I feel to each other and this marriage?

First and foremost we love each other more with each passing day. The love I feel today is so much greater than the mesmerizing love of our wedding day. I still get a butterfly in my stomach when I hear the click of his boots when he walks up the sidewalk of our new home just as I did as a newlywed in the cockroach infested basement apartment of our first married days. Granted the cadence of the step has changed due to the aging process but it still fills my heart. Even though my hair has lost its color and my body has lost the shape and gait of my youth; I have no doubt that your father loves me as I love him. As one ages, the commitment made on your wedding day becomes even more important as you change your habits to help your partner face changes in their life. This is a commitment to both of you as you are enveloped in the experience of marriage.

How do we maintain this love? I’m not sure. We are best friends. A road trip together helps with the conversation and helps you to concentrate on each other. The first person I want to share an event with is your father. I also believe it is very important to pursue the friendship of at least one other couple with whom you can talk things over. Sometimes the thoughts of a worry or hurt feelings just have to be verbalized to be understood. If you are so fortunate as to have more than one couple as intimate friends then you are doubly blessed. (Don’t forget to have a friend, you must be a friend.) I believe this applies to your mate as a friend as well as friends outside of your marriage.

We have in the past and continue today to “roll with the punches.” There have been arguments with heated disagreements. (We no longer bring up the subject of my indoor cat AND a dog.) We have compromised our own personal wishes to more closely fit with the other. A marriage is not a 50/50 deal. Sometimes it is 90/10 in your favor and then again it will turn to 90/10 in your husbands’ favor. We respect each other’s wishes. We do not always agree, but, we work for an eventual compromise. Commitment remains the watchword even at a time sprinkled with age.

As you know, these last few years have brought about retirement for me and semi retirement for your dad. I don’t know if you know what a big deal this is for us. It is a time of pulling away from the routine you have established in the work place to a more intimate existence. A time for reflecting on your changed pace in this world. It is a good time especially when blessed to have a partner of 50 years to share this but requires much thought and patience… being thankful that the dishes are unloaded from the dishwasher and keeping your mouth shut while you quietly place items back in your OCD inspired places…..!!

Finding time for an intimate physical relationship (okay, don’t choke on the word – intimate), whether it be holding hands or dinner out  has been a goal worked toward. And yes, dear granddaughter, Sarah, old people do have sex! (Just an addendum from a previous conversation with college-aged granddaughters!)

For us, God’s Blessings of a family has further cemented our commitment to each other. And as I began this letter, I end with the single word of commitment. We were young, very young at 18 and 19 years when we said “I do” so we did not have the wisdom of years. We were not very rich and would get “less rich” before things turned around so money was not the answer. We were a young Christian couple with no money, the Selective Service breathing down your dad’s neck and a heartful of love. The commitment we made before God on that late afternoon September 3, 1967 is something we have worked at to accomplish. With God as the head of our marriage this union has succeeded.

I’m not sure this fully explains 50 years of marriage in one page. Yes, I would do it over in a heartbeat. Yes, I hope God allows us some “golden” years together. And yes, we do love each other!

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Linda Waechter

Nurse, mother, wife - working at retirement.