A Milestone For Us

Thursday, April 9, 2015, Marge and I celebrated our 50th wedding anniversary. Where has the time gone? We have aged, our children have grown and our lives have gone through major changes since that day in 1965. Recalling that day, I can still remember how nervous I was. Marriage had always been very important to me, and I had a tremendous desire to make my marriage work. Looking back, the last 50 years have been the best of my life. Marge and I have shared laughter and tears, good times and bad, joys and sorrows; but more than that, we have shared our dreams, our innermost thoughts, our strength and frailties, and we have shared our love. Marge has always been there when I have needed support. Things that happen to me when we are apart are not complete until I share them with her. Only with Marge can I truly be myself and completely relax.
April 9, 1965

Our marriage suffered a severe challenge in1999 when an accident in the US Virgin Islands left me a quadriplegic. While this accident happened to both of us it affected us and our relationship in extremely different ways. While I struggled to adjust to and overcome the paralysis which impacted 80% of my body Marge’s struggles were centered on keeping our family afloat and adjusting to becoming the alpha individual responsible for the family. The first 34 years had been relatively stable. Not that we didn’t have challenges and setbacks, but we always seemed to persevere through them. I use to tell my students, in my Preparation for Marriage class, successful marriages were the result of two, four letter words that both ended in “k”. After the snickering died down I told them the words were “work” and “talk” and I still believe that today. However, our relationship had been rocked to the core, especially after we returned home from the rehabilitation hospital and I began getting stronger. I wanted to reclaim what independence I could and that conflicted with Marge’s concerned about my safety. It took our dogs a couple weeks to realize what it took me years to understand and that was that Marge was now the alpha person in the relationship. I also had a terrible time reconciling my desire for independence with my almost total dependency on Marge and others. Depression became an issue. Some of these issues have been dealt with, others we still struggle with.
April 11, 2015

As the result of work and talk our marriage has become strong and stable again. Gone is most of the spontaneity, most everything we do requires planning and forethought. Gone too is the physical intimacy we enjoyed, that’s been the toughest of all the changes, but we have and continue to adjust and our love blossoms again.

Our day was made much more special being able to celebrate it with so many of our friends.

6 responses to “A Milestone For Us

  1. Dear Rich & Marge,
    May I offer you both my warmest congratulations on 50 years of marriage. What a wonderful testament to your love and commitment to each other. A blessed union. May you both continue to enjoy many happy years ahead. As we all grow older so we must learn to adjust and adapt. For you more than many.
    I’ve been happily married to Anne for 35 years and it is very clear that neither of us are the same people we were when we first met and the love we have now is a different kind of love….something I’m sure you will recognise and understand….As you say, a successful marriage takes work and you have to be able to talk to each other…and I would add…listen to each other.
    Again, congratulations.
    Gary Mantle, Pewsey, England.

  2. Jill and George

    That was lovely Rich. Love you guys.

  3. Congratulations to you both for celebrating 50 years of marriage! I fondly remember Mr. Fabend as one of my all time favorite teachers in high school.

    Mary Browngardt Jordan

  4. Rich and Marge, congratulations on your 50 years of marriage. I give you both credit for being able to rise above the many challenges you have both faced over the years and being able to keep your marriage alive and well through all the highs and lows. Rich you had responded to an email I had sent you a few months ago and you said you were jealous of the picture of the buck I had shot many years ago. Now I am the one who is jealous of you and Marge and the 50 years of memories you have made together and the many more years of memories you still have ahead of you to make. All my best to you both,

    Dan O’Mara

  5. Dear Rich and Marge,
    Congratulations!! You have ALWAYS been an inspiration! Both of you. And both of you as individuals and as a couple. And you continue to be that. Rich your words are beautiful! I wish you all the best, for many more years!! LOVE, Julie and Steve

  6. Work and talk. So simple and yet so difficult at times. Thank you for sharing this with all of us, as you have so often shared other intimate details of your life. We learn from you, and we grow richer

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