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Sixty-five years ago today my parents were married in the little town of Globe, Arizona.  They celebrated every day as husband and wife, until Mom’s death during their sixty-first year together.  Even as a young child I knew that there was something very special about their marriage, and the older I got — and the more I saw of other people’s marriages — the more I appreciated it.  Over the years Mom and Daddy passed on a few guiding principles that kept their marriage happy and healthy, and I would like to share them with you.

  1. Choose your partner wisely.  “Til death do us part” is a very long time.
  2. Marriage is not a 50/50 proposition.  Sometimes one will give 80% and the other will give 20%.  Just make sure that you take turns being the one who gives and who receives.
  3. Your husband (or wife) is the most important person in your family.  Your children, no matter how precious, will grow up and leave home, but your husband will be with you a long time after they are gone.  Make sure he knows how special he  is to you.
  4. Hold hands in public.  Not because you are insecurely clinging to each other, but as a public acknowledgement of love and support.  (Kissing in the car at stop lights is good, too!)
  5. Make sure your children know how much you love each other, and how much you both love your children.
  6. Welcome your spouse’s friends into your life, whether you like them personally or not.  Be respectful of their relationships.
  7. Be totally transparent about money — how you make it and how you spend or save it.  Money is not “mine” or “yours” in a marriage, it is “ours”.
  8. Tell your wife (or husband) how much you love her.  Do it often.  Don’t just assume she knows.
  9. Willingly spend time with your extended family.  That “strange” in-law may become one of your dearest friends over time.
  10. And this last rule was just Mom’s:  If your husband asks you to go somewhere or do something with him, don’t say “no” twice in a row.  He might not ask again.

I was so lucky that on November 1, 1948, Donald Lewis Pender married Hazel DeMurl Fenley, and they went on to become my parents.  They set an amazing example for their children, grandchildren, and the world at large.  Happy Anniversary, Mother and Daddy.SCAN0160