A Half-Century Plus One Year of Marriage

Jerry and Bonnie Lane, friends of ours, and frequent commenters on this blog, celebrated their 51st wedding anniversary this month. Can you imagine being married that long? Unless you have already celebrated at least 25 years, no, you cannot.

For two people to coexist for 51 years without challenging each other to a steel-cage grudge match is a marvel unto itself, much less staying—and growing—in love for over half a century. You understand, of course, that I couldn’t swear in a court of law that they have never challenged each other to a steel-cage grudge match, but I would be willing to bet heavily on it.

Martha and I are approaching 42 years; our friends Al and Margo will mark their 42nd anniversary 13 days before we do, and I know that there are other readers who are hovering around a similar number of years. One hears a great many maxims about what makes a successful marriage, but I’m here to leaven three of them with a spoonful of experience:

Communication is important. Yes, it is. So is knowing when to not talk to one another. This is why there are multiple rooms in a house. Spouses can be annoying, and—since they’re human beings—you’re not going to “fix” them, no matter what you think. Therefore, go someplace where they aren’t, and you won’t be annoyed.

Marriage is a 50-50 proposition.  Yes, it is. On the whole. But at any moment, it may be 50-50 or it may be 75-25. Or 90-10. Or 100-0. Developing a successful marriage involves knowing when to play the odds, and knowing when to bet on yourself when the odds are 3-1 against. Generally speaking, play the odds.

Love conquers all. No, it doesn’t. It doesn’t even conquer the urge to annoy your spouse. (See above, as sometimes it’s intentional.) If you stick with it, though, and stay at it, you realize that love is part dedication, part stubbornness, part affection, and part familiarity. A good, warm, solid familiarity.

Now, some of you know Bonnie and Jerry, and some of you don’t, but 51 years of love and dedication is be celebrated by all! It should make everyone feel better knowing that there’s a little corner of the world where love has blossomed for all this time.

Congratulations! And may today be a day full of love. (I say this rather than “Here’s to another 51,” because that’s not how it works. How it works is based on a formula: 51 years = 18, 628 days, spent one day at a time.)

We met Bonnie and Jerry through dance, and knowing how much they love the smooth dances, here’s a special waltz for them.

About Austin Gisriel

You know the guy that records a baseball game from the West Coast in July and doesn't watch it until January just to see baseball in the winter? That's me. I'm a writer always in search of a good story, baseball or otherwise.
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7 Responses to A Half-Century Plus One Year of Marriage

  1. bonjer70 says:

    What a BEAUTIFUL tribute, Austin! I wrote a very lengthy comment about this lovely post, and wouldn’t you know it … when I was taken to WORD PRESS to sign in like I always do (it automatically “remembers” me), instead of POSTING my comment it DELETED IT! My comment is lost forever. However, the shortened version is that Jerry and I were raised to share the same life values from childhood, as the core of our upbringing. That, and a good sense of humor, really helps. As Mrs. Billy Graham once said when questioned, she never ever considered divorce, but occasionally murder crossed her mind! I think that sums it up pretty darn well. 🙂 BLESSINGS!


    • Yes, a good sense of humor is another key. And you best laugh at yourself more than your spouse. There is so much nonsense in the world right now, but I was looking for a topic that was positive and inspiring and that led me to you two. It’s a tribute you deserve! By the way, I would win my bet, right?


      • bonjer70 says:

        Right, Austin! No .. we have never ever wanted to challenge each other to a steel-cage grudge match, not even close, so you would definitely win your bet! 🙂


  2. Jerry Lane says:

    Austin, thanks for this wonderful tribute. Much appreciated. It has indeed been 51 years of mostly bliss.
    I have another tip for successful marriage: instead of the usual silver or TupperWare wedding gifts, I propose a set of His and Her CORKS! LOL


  3. Dick Snyder says:



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