Why Our Marriage Lasted Fifty-Four Years

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There is a forty-eight percent chance that African-Americans who marry before the age of eighteen, will breakup within ten years.   (Source:  Center for Disease Control and Prevention)

  • Five months after MY 17th Birthday, I married the love of my life.
  • Five months after MY 71st Birthday, WE celebrated OUR 54th Anniversary.

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When Hubby and I married, on April 11, 1960, few believed the marriage would last past the first year.

MY Belief

OUR marriage lasted for fifty-four years because WE spent the first two years in Germany.   Separated from family and friends, I couldn’t pick up the telephone or run home after an argument. I couldn’t even go to another room.   We had to work out our disagreements, absent the advice of others.

Our First Two Years

Hubby unable to find a job, enlisted in the Army.   Six months later, He was assigned to a base in Gonsenheim, Germany. Within four months, I joined him. Because of his rank, PFC (Private First Class), We were not eligible to move into military family housing.

Hubby rented an apartment on what was referred to as the German Economy. We lived in a one-room, third floor apartment and shared the bathroom with another military couple who lived across the hall.   There was no hot water, no bathtub, a dorm size refrigerator, a coal stove for heat, and a hot plate to cook on. I soon adjusted to living without a television; and fell in love with Our transistor radio.   The one English-speaking station was Our only entertainment.   During the day, We listened to mostly country music. But, every night, We anxiously waited for the half-hour mystery, cowboy, and comedy shows.

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The first six months were the most difficult. Hubby was assigned to work on the base for 24 hours every other day. Even though I had the radio and Our Little Girl, I missed the face-to-face communication with an adult. The other people who lived in the building were friendly but there was a language barrier. Though there were three women living in the apartment building, they did not speak English.

Later, we met other military families; and I became friends with a few of the women. However, we rarely communicated. We didn’t have telephones, cars, or access to public transportation; and, this pretty much ruled out any “quality time spent with the girls.” So I learned to value and appreciate every minute spent with Hubby.

During those first two years WE built a strong foundation which solitified Our marriage. Our teen-age love developed into a strong friendship and even a stronger love for each other, which has lasted for more than fifty-four years. Hubby is not Only the Love of My Life, He is My Best Friend, the Father of Our Three Children and the Grandfather of Our Five Grandchildren.

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21 thoughts on “Why Our Marriage Lasted Fifty-Four Years

  1. Wow! Amazing! Your first two years were so similar to ours. We went to Africa to work as volunteers. Our pay was $2000 per year. It was 1966. No telephone. No TV. And we had a baby girl. We have been married for almost 48 years. – Maureen

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    • I strongly believe the separation from family, friends and everything else we knew saved our marriage. For this experience, I will always be grateful. It worked for us. But in retrospect marrying at 17 and 18 was far too early. We shared the happy times with our children, but we also made sure they knew what was lost. But, I can never say that I would make a different choice if it meant I would not have shared these past 54 years with my husband.

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  2. Congratulations on your anniversary!! Two remarkable people who stay committed to each other through sickness and health, and through all of life’s many challenges. God bless you both!

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  3. WOW, I love this! I agree with you completely about the circumstances making you stronger. My husband of 34 years is also in the military, and we were far from family for much of his career. I applaud you for meeting the challenge and growing from it — and also for sharing your story to encourage others. Congratulations, and I wish you both many more years of happiness!

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    • Thank you for taking the time to comment on my post. You are so right these early life experiences did make us stronger and wiser. We were blessed with three beautiful children and our goal was to give them every opportunity to succeed in whatever they chose to do. We were both happy when all three chose college instead of an early marriage. Though it worked for us, we gave up our youth. We had to assume the role of an adult far too early. And it certainly made us stronger and wiser that we were able to convince our steer our children in another direction.

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  4. dear Yvonne,

    I stumbled upon your blog, and am so glad I found you. I offer you and your husband my most sincere congratulations on your wedding anniversary and enjoyed your account of it’s earliest years and the hardships that helped forge to deep, abiding and big love you have enjoyed.

    I lost my beloved husband Hugh, nearly a year ago. we both had cancer at the same time, and both achieved remission together. in nearly 46 years of marriage,, there was nothing that compared to the tenderness, the compassion, the care, and the love we were able to render to one another – we both knew what both sides of being a cancer patient and a being a caregiver felt like. we shared a love so deeply enhanced with such a profound gratitude that we could be there for one another. then, 8 weeks after Hugh died, I was diagnosed with another cancer – uterine – which had nothing to do with the ST IV met BC (that remains NED). I just finished 9 mos of treatment – completed only by putting one foot in front of the other in a zombie like state, as I grieved deeply for my Love .it is now only a few weeks until the 1st anniversary of his death, and I am frequently swept away once again in the surreal feelings and wondering how is it possible he is gone, grieving just as though his death was yesterday. I am told this is normal – but it still sucks.

    what keeps me afloat is gratitude, compassion and love for others who suffer, big hope that I can keep trying to refashion my life into meaningful and purpose driven efforts. but there is something else that just fills me with joy, and that is seeing other couples so happy together, who have made their lives a beautiful testament to the grace and blessings of love, and have worked hard to keep their love alive and thriving. thank you for this lovely post that has given me a respite from sorrow and grief. today – I celebrate you and your hubby,, and find peace and beauty in reading your insightful and loving words. thank you for that.

    much love and light,

    Karen xoxoxo

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    • Thank you for your comments. It took me several days to reply. You placed a lot on my mind. The thought of not having my husband at my side is scary. The length of time we have spent together, as a unit, is greater than the number of years spent with our children or parents. I felt your sadness. But, I have heard “time heals.” I pray for brighter days in your life as it relates to both your health issues and the loss of your husband. Thank you for reminding me how important it is for us to express gratitude and compassion to others. It is not only positive for the “others/receivers” but “us/givers” benefit in a positive way as well. I am glad my post brought a bit of happiness at a time when you were grieving. Sometimes things enter our “space” at the right time and when most needed. Hugs and Wishes for your happiness, joy and peace.

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      • dear Yvonne,

        thank you so much for your lovely response to my comment. thank you for your prayers, too. I FEEL your hugs and all your good wishes, and they have comforted me. and yes, I agree about things entering our space at just the right time and when most needed!

        love, and lots of warm hugs back to you,

        karen

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      • Thank you for your comments. Let’s stay connected through blogasphere. You have such beautiful memories of a wonderful marriage. It is so refreshing to hear the “positives” of marriage and loving relationships.

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  5. What a beautiful life story. happy anniversary, just a few days late. Better late than never. I wish you many more blissful moments with your wonderful hubby. So happy for you. You beat the odds. Congratulations.!:)
    Peace and hugs,
    Tammy:)

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    • Thank you. While I beat the odds, and our marriage is a happy one; I would advise young people today to pursue their education and career goals, prior to marriage to avoid some of the hurdles we had to overcome. For example, Hubby and I both went back to college when our children were 8, 7 and 2. It was a struggle to manage three children, meet the educational requirements, and maintain jobs. We did it. But, we should have been putting money aside for our children’s education during this period. Instead, we were struggling financially to stay in school. After earning our degrees, we had to pay off those student loans. Fortunately, by the time our children were ready for college our income was sufficient to cover the cost of their education. Thank you so much for following my blog.

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      • I am so happy for you and the way everything worked out. You may have struggled, but you DID it! That’s so awesome. Perseverance, my friend! I hope everything continues to go well for you because you most definitely deserve it. Hope you’re having a great weekend. Peace and take care.

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      • Sorry, for the delay in responding to your comment. I so appreciate your continued support. I took two weeks off in order to spend quality time with a friend who was visiting from out of town. I will catch up on your blog this weekend or early next weekend. I pray for your peace and happiness.

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      • No worries. I’ve been taking rather long to respond to all my comments, as well, after taking time off for being ill. I sure hope you and your friend had a great time. Thank you for the prayers. I need all the prayers I can get right now. I appreciate you following my blog and I really enjoy yours, as well. Take care, my friend. 🙂

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      • Thank you for your comments. Yes, it was a struggle but, with confidence, I can say the “good days” have been better than the “bad days.” Sorry for the delay in responding to your comments due to taking time off.

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      • No worries. Everyone has to take time off from time to time. I’ve taken quite a bit of time of lately as I’ve not been feeling so well. I’m trying to get caught up on responding to all the comments that have accumulated while I’ve been away, and that’s no easy task. That’s a full time job. LOL Hope your day was a good one, my friend. 🙂

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