Long marriages are rooted in strong faith


“Love is a temporary madness. It erupts like volcanoes and then subsides. And when it subsides you have to make a decision. You have to work out whether your roots have so entwined together that it is inconceivable that you should ever part. Because this is what love is.”

 — Louis de Bernieres 

Fifty years ago today was a beautiful and sunny day with just a slight autumn chill in the air. I remember it because it was a very big day in my sister’s life. I looked on adoringly as the day unfolded for my big sister. I was a very young teen, and my sister was getting married. I felt the magic of the day all the way to my bones because I was excited for her and her groom. 

Starting out

After starting their early married days in an apartment, the day they moved into their forever home also stays with me. It is a lovely, old, solid white brick home in the community of our childhood home, situated on a farm that has forever existed in our memories. Long ago, my father’s aunt had raised her own family there, just west of the farm where my father was born and raised. 

I loved visiting my sister and brother-in-law there. I like to think I helped them move in, but I likely didn’t do much but take it all in, so excited for their future and the baby about to arrive. I remember riding their pony, then brushing and caring for it as my sister fought through a rough pregnancy, while also working through nursing school. 

My brother-in-law was in the National Guard while starting and building their farm. I was a freshman in high school when I became an aunt to a tiny baby girl, and I wore my new title with great pride and happiness. 

Lasting love

Over the years, four babies completed their family. I helped every chance I got, as my sister and her husband were busy in their farrowing house, and an extra set of hands was always welcomed. My love for my two nieces and two nephews grew deep and strong. 

“A long-lasting marriage is built by two people who believe in and live by the solemn promise they made,” I once read on a poster. It is much more than that. It is rooted in a strong faith, it is surviving the daily grind of life that brings headaches, frustration, agonizing challenges and somehow finding joy in the little things that your love has built. 


It will soon be a year ago that my sister ended up in the hospital, unable to get enough breath. Her husband feared the worst as he delivered her to the hospital door, denied entry himself. She was fighting COVID-19, and her symptoms continued to worsen. 

“I fought hard to live,” she later told me. Just breathing was exhausting. She was blessed with nurses who helped her battle through long days and nights in the hospital. 

When she finally returned home, she was on oxygen for a long time. She still battles to get back to where she was before COVID leveled her, and she fights with optimism and gratitude. And her groom of 50 years has been an amazing, loving supporter of his bride through every step. 

Their four children and spouses, and 10 grandchildren, have added sprinkles of reason to push on through it all. This is what golden love looks like. I am blessed to have long stood in its shadow, taking it all in, reveling in all that it has built along the journey.


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Judith Sutherland, born and raised on an Ohio family dairy farm, now lives on a 70-acre farm not far from the area where her father’s family settled in the 1850s. Appreciating the tranquility of rural life, Sutherland enjoys sharing a view of her world through writing. Other interests include teaching, reading, training dogs and raising puppies. She and her husband have two children, a son and a daughter, and three grandchildren.



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