So I have been asked to give a speech tomorrow at my parents’ golden anniversary party. Here’s a sneak peek at the speech I wrote, based on interviews I had with both of them a couple weeks ago.

A wise man once said to me that “there are many different stages to love”. With my parents celebrating the 50th anniversary of their wedding today, I wanted to take the time to extol to you what some of those stages are, and give you some insight into how my parents have tackled fifty years together.


I would say that one of the more popular stages is “Bliss”. Bliss is that whirlwind at the start of a relationship where one another can do no wrong. You see perfection in everything the other person is doing. I had asked my parents how they met and my mom’s version involved seeing my dad at a basement party her sister Jean was throwing. My dad had just gotten out of the army, and my mom asked her friends if Randy was seeing anyone. To me that is Bliss. The dating started soon thereafter, and even though the two were involved with other people at the time, I count myself lucky that they ended up together. Or else I wouldn’t even be here today to give this speech!


Another stage to love would be “Opportunity”. A couple in love will take any opportunity they can get to further their relationship. My parents found this stage when they decided that they should get married before my dad went to electronics school. This left just over a month to do everything. Get a place to marry, set up a reception, plan a honeymoon, everything. Fortunately my mother’s sister Jean and their mom called in every favor they could to see to it that the wedding went off without a hitch. A small problem occurred when the priest at my mother’s local church refused to perform the service, but a neighboring church had no such qualms. They couldn’t be married in the church proper, but in the chapel, since my dad was not catholic. For the chance to be married as quick as they did, it didn’t matter to them in the least.


Still another stage of love is “Unconditional”. This is the first point where a couple has to ask themselves “what have I gotten into?” when they look at their spouse. Fortunately for my parents, the issue that sparked this was relatively minor. My mom had forgotten her allergy medication on the honeymoon, and woke up the day after the wedding with one of the worst allergy attacks in her life. My dad was a trooper, and he convinced the local pharmacist to call and confirm my mom’s prescription so she could get the medication she needed. A lot of people might have taken that incident as an omen of worse things to come, but my parents just laughed it off as one of those things that happens to make your honeymoon even more memorable.


You’re probably thinking at this point that I am running out of stages, but I could go on and on. “Memories” is a stage, such as the most memorable delivery my parents had would have been my sister Peggy. From the fact that John Glenn had just orbited the Earth to the fact that the nurse technician scared the crap out of my mom by telling her he heard she was having twins. That was by far the most memorable of all the childbirths for both of them. “Parenting” is a very long stage, which I have the most experience with. The couple has to agree on how to discipline their kids together. Fortunately I was the little angel and never got into as much trouble as my older siblings, but the stories I have heard of the things they have done, and the punishments they received, are probably what scared me straight. I think at least one of my siblings is still grounded for life, if I’m not mistaken.


Finally I am going to talk about a stage that I probably shouldn’t: “Secrets”. Everyone has secrets, and in talking with my parents I could tell they still had secrets. This is probably a good thing, and I didn’t want to pry, but I did ask them both to share one secret with me: What is the secret to being married for fifty years?


My mother’s answer was “separate rooms”. You see, eventually, as the years go by, you tend to take different interests. By having their own rooms in the house, my parents consciously avoided situations where one or the other got on the other’s nerves. And the less you get on each other’s nerves, the happier a couple you will be. That is a good solution to get to 50 years.


My father’s answer was to find someone who shares the sanctity of marriage. I know that I myself did not enter into marriage lightly, and my sisters had definitely found their soul-mates when they settled down, so this is a lesson that my dad can rest assured that his children adhered to.


I just want to reiterate what I have been saying here today. A wise man once said to me “There are many different stages to love… and your mother and I have been through every one of them.”


Thanks Dad, for those words of inspiration.


So let’s all raise our drinks and give a toast, not only to my parents Randy and Marlene, but to Love and all the stages it comes in.

54 Responses to “My Parents’ 50th Wedding Anniversary”
  1. Awesome speech Matt. I hope one of my kids gets to give such a loving portrayal in about 31 more years.

  2. Wow. This is a very amazing speech. Your parents will be very proud of you.

  3. you know out of all the 50th anniversary toasts i have come across this one is by far the most touching and beautiful speech i have read. you must be one heck of a son.

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