May 29, 2023
Fifty years ago today, Dwight and I had been married five days. We bought a small home at 2608 N. Wilson, where I studied for Part 1 of my medical boards sitting on the living room floor because we didn’t have any furniture. He was an engineer at Burr Brown making operational amplifiers and I was beginning my third year of medical school.
He drove a Volkswagen, and I had a Toyota Camry. We had two white cats Mother gave us, Skunk and Skunk’s Brother (named by an anonymous person who has made a lot of progress in fifty years when it comes to liking cats). For a couple of months, we had a love bird, Sweety, my aunt Lois gave us, but Sweety was a very noisy bird. We found another home for him. On Sunday, we attended church at the 2nd ward building that was a couple of blocks from the medical school.
There is give and take in marriage. After dinner one night, Dwight stood in the kitchen counting dishes. He likes numbers. “Three meals a day x an average of ten to fifteen dishes a meal x seven days a week x fifty years …”
I didn’t let him finish the calculation. “You better do those dishes before I turn into a domineering wife!”
Bless him, he laughed.
In fifty years, we’ve had several more cats, a dog named Bud, a parrot, Bunker, and a couple of iguanas that were never supposed to come home from the store. We’ve moved three times. Each time we moved, we had more stuff. Fifty years is a lot of time to collect. Contrast that to Dwight’s move to Tucson from Tempe. He put all his possessions into the back seat of his Volkswagen.
I finished medical school, an internship in internal medicine, and an OB/GYN residency, and had my own practice.
Dwight worked for the same company for thirty-two years.
Our last move was to Mesa to help my aging parents who had been married sixty-six years when my father died in 2014.
I’ve heard marriage is an adventure. A Sunday school teacher said it is a crap shoot. Some people want out of it. Others find it a test of endurance. Is marriage really Cinderella’s happily ever after?
Happily ever after happens one day at a time with choices and expectations. Marriage is about serving each other. It is about giving far more than fifty percent to a relationship that promises eternity.
I’m not the same person I was fifty years ago. I hope I’ve become more tolerant, more loving, more forgiving, more willing to work toward being on the same page with my spouse than being right. I love him. I honor him. I am grateful he took a chance fifty years ago and asked me to marry him.
As we look at our lives together over the last half century, we find incredible joy in our four sons and ten grandchildren. They are people we want to be with. They are people we love.
For our anniversary, we gathered in a vacation property in Cedar City, Utah, purchased with funds left to us by generous parents. For the first two days, Dwight and the boys built pergolas for the backyard. The last two were spent doing family things—games, cooking, eating, talking. On the last day we had a family meeting blessed with the sweetest spirit I have ever felt.
I had a strong spiritual assurance that gathered were noble spirits, strong men and women, and magnificent children loved by Dwight and me as earthly parents but loved infinitely more by their Heavenly Father. It was a glimpse into eternity.