Lessons learned from parents’ 50th anniversary

Farm Forum

My mom and dad recently celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary. It was a momentous occasion, indeed, but one that wasn’t the easiest to plan.

We really wanted to celebrate in a big way, but Dad’s recent health struggles made for an interesting time in planning. So we decided to go with a homegrown, simple party that was thrown together pretty-much last minute. And it was absolutely perfect.

As if being married wasn’t tough enough, in the last few years, they’ve both beat cancer, they’ve had to deal with losing a parent, adjust to changes in our family and work through all those other issues that come flying at you as you grow older.

Yet, through it all, they remain as steady as ever. Are there rough spots? Most definitely. Yet the fact is that through it all, quitting has never been an option.

And on a Saturday evening in rural North Dakota, we celebrated a milestone that only very few ever see. It’s amazing how quickly an evening with friends and family can fly by … filled with laughter and memories galore.

So what have I learned from their milestone? Here’s a few things that I thought I should jot down:

Being married isn’t always about being head over heels in love or planning every evening to be romantic. It’s about loving each other, come what may, and finding the romance in each situation. Sometimes a relationship is about trying hobbies that the other person enjoys, even if you’re pretty sure you may not like it. You never know, until you try. And even then, you can always pretend to like it. Going fishing alone doesn’t mean you don’t like the other person. Sometimes leaving the house is the best gift you can give! You don’t have to agree on everything to make it 50 years. You just have to agree on making it. Life isn’t always fun and games, roses and romance, but life is about enjoying the time that you have and making every memory count. Being married isn’t just standing up for your spouse when you know they’re right, it’s also standing by them, even when you know they’re wrong. True love is having an argument, even while hunting or fishing, and everyone making it home unscathed.

As much as I joke around, I know that my parents are lucky to have each other, just as lucky as we are to have them. Fifty years. It’s not just love and romance that gets you that far. It’s a lot of hard work and perseverance as well.

Thank you, Mom and Dad, for the lessons we have learned and the example that you have given us. And although I know that chances are another 50 years of being together on this earth is not in the cards, I know that the lessons you have taught will live well beyond that. And that is what counts the most.

Val Wagner loves raising her four boys on the farm in Dickey County, along with her husband, Mark. Catch her blog, Wag’n Tales, at, or follow one of their cows on Twitter at Cows_Life. Contact her at