Geoff’s parents, Phil and Joyce, celebrate 50 years of marriage today, June 15, 2018. My parents, Polly and Tony, celebrated 49 years of marriage on May 31. Geoff’s sister, Allison and her husband Brian celebrated 3 years on June 6, and my brother Greg and his wife Holly will celebrate 12 years on June 17. Geoff and I will celebrate 11 years on June 23. That equates to 125 years of love between 22 days. First of all, congratulations to the Krills for reaching that Golden Anniversary, no easy task, and to my folks for being less than one year from that kind of epic milestone.
So here’s the thing: If we had an extra $25,000 dollars in our pockets, we would have taken these 125 years of marriage on this RIDICULOUS FAMILY VACATION somewhere amazing. Picture it, we would have rented an entire house or villa or small castle complete with our individual family wings and bathrooms to escape to when the “together time” grew to be too much which sometimes happens– and even happens in the best of marriages. Each day would begin with a hike or a swim or a yoga class or coffee and tea on a patio, porch or veranda outside. Some might choose to jog or cycle or give horseback riding a whirl. The day would continue with some kind of adventure or experience. There would be excellent food, local culture, and interesting people permeating throughout the days. Our children would magically be engaged in conversation with their aunts and uncles and grandparents and cousins and, no one would even think about arguing or fighting over anything to disrupt the natural, groovy flow of the FAMILY VACATION.
Clearly, this probably isn’t ever going to happen. So I dream. Maybe one day we Krill Ehrman Thomas Bass family will win the lottery. Until that day, life is still pretty good, and we have some excellent parents modeling what marriage looks like longer than we’ve even been alive. Our dads sang an old song about love at our wedding, and our school chorus performed “Grow Old Along With Me, The Best Is Yet to Be,” both perfect selections for what would be our big day. Polly, Tony, Phil and Joyce, with 99 years of marriage between them, are really very much young at heart all of them, taking daily adventures on bicycles or to checking out new restaurants, or meeting old friends for lunch in a cool spot, or raising puppies, along with our children.
I asked for some family participation for this one given we are all a little in awe of these milestones.
Greg shared from our parents’ marriage, “They somehow built in us a confidence that we could do anything. Maybe it’s their unconditional optimism, which I hope we can pass on to our kids.”
Geoff learned from his parents’ marriage, “It’s OK to have a voice; it’s OK to have an opinion; it’s OK to be wrong and know that love still exists always.”
Allison reflected on her parents, “It’s easy to find love, but a successful marriage requires a strong foundation with regular maintenance. Life will throw many unexpected challenges your way. If you listen to each other, discuss, debate and compromise, you will make better choices and drive strength from each other.”
I have this very vivid memory of being with my best friend Jessie and her family the night before her wedding. Her sister was practicing the reading she needed to give during the ceremony when a discussion ensued about how it was meant to be read. Suddenly, her sister was yelling loudly, screaming even– sort of on purpose, yet clearly annoyed with Jessie or her parents or the reading itself– the actual lines, “Love is patient, love is kind.” When we realized her words, we all busted out laughing at the sheer irony of the moment.
1 Corinthians 13:4-7
4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
Here is what I’ve observed from our parents’ 99 years of marriage: Love is not always patient or kind; it maybe sometimes envies based on circumstances. Love would not dishonor others but might be easily angered if under a lot of stress outside the marriage. Our parents have for 99 years protected one another, trusted one another, hoped for one another, and always persevered, remaining steadfast even when faced with challenge, loss, disappointment or tragedy. Thank you parents for being you, even when we disagree with your perspective or wish you understood us differently. You were individual people long before becoming our parents, so nice work. You chose well.