Last night was a celebration of some friends’ 50th wedding anniversary and recently another couple we know celebrated their 62d. I fondly remember both sets of grandparents 50th and my sister and her husband don’t have too much longer to wait. Most people have a major celebration as they should although it is interesting that we tend to focus in five-year increments. I will always associate two humorous pieces with my maternal grandparents’ anniversaries. As they were approaching the 55th, my aunt wanted another big open house and my grandfather said, “Let’s wait and we’ll do something big for the 60th”. They almost made it, too. Which leads me to the second item. His birthday and their anniversary were only a few days apart. Sunday was our general family gathering as we would drive the 20+ miles after church, one branch of the family lived in the same town, and although my aunt and her family lived a bit further, they would come in for special events. I can’t recall if it was the 57th or 58th anniversary approaching, but the point is the optimum Sunday was going to be maybe the day after my grandfather’s birthday and a couple of days before the actual anniversary. In looking at the calendar, my aunt suggested this particular Sunday and once again my grandfather declined. “Who knows? Maggie might decide she’s had enough of me and leave before the day and we would have celebrated prematurely,” or something like that was his wry response.
Of the guests gathered for our friends’ celebration, they were the only couple who were on their first marriage. Granted, two were previously widowed; one of whom has not remarried yet, but the other attendees were divorced with a mix of remarried. That thought leads me to one of only a few segments I distinctly recall when Toffler wrote his book, Future Shock, back in the 1970s. He said we would see a surge in later-life divorces because as people were living longer and staying active longer (especially working at second careers), there would be a recognition that staying in an unhappy marriage was not necessary. It was a radical idea at the time, but I have watched it play out among friends and casual acquaintances. So, for those who by virtue of living longer and managing the realities of marriage for 50 years and more, it is indeed reason to celebrate.