“You’ve been married 59 years. What’s the secret?” I asked Grandma and Grandpa Stingel.
It was the spring of 1984 and I guess I was a little nervous about my own wedding set for that fall.
“Well,” Grandpa started, with a grin and shooting a look across the living room at Grandma, “it takes a lot of work.”
Married in 1925, they weathered the Great Depression, tough years on a dairy farm near Sugarcreek Ohio, and raising six children. Together, they survived surgery that left Grandma with an impaired voice that could only speak above a hoarse whisper for the last 15 years of her life.
Life with its sorrow, life with its tears.
Grandma and Grandpa didn’t make it to their 60th anniversary, dying nine days apart that June, just months after I asked my question.
But Grandpa’s single sentence has been all the counseling I have needed in the course of my own 28-year marriage.
It takes a lot of work.
This year, my own parents (that’s them pictured above in 1952) will celebrate their 61st anniversary in August — a number that’s almost incomprehensible in today’s divorce-riddled society. And if I asked them, I’m sure I’d get the same response that Grandpa gave me.
All this talk of relationship strength was triggered by our staff brainstorming ideas for Farm and Dairy’s current feature, a Celebration of Love.
“We’re like a part of our readers’ families,” we said. “Just look at all the ‘Vacation With Us’ photos. They take us everywhere: honeymoons, anniversaries, family trips…”
So what if we had a feature where we asked our readers to send us photos of them in love — more specifically, couples. You know, rockin‘ the whole Valentine’s Day idea…
This is an excerpt from a blog post on The Social Silo. If you’d like to read the rest, follow the link below.