“Her husband is respected at the city gate, where he takes his seat among the elders of the land….Her children arise and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her.”  Proverbs 31: 23, 28

It’s not everyday that a person celebrates a 50th wedding anniversary. And it’s certainly not everyday that one celebrates a 60th wedding anniversary. Believe it or not, both sets of parents–Mom and Dad  Helyer and Mom and Dad Brummeler–will celebrate these milestone events.  On March 26th, Brad’s parents celebrated 60 years of marriage. In June, the entire family will gather to honor them. On April 10th, my parents celebrated 50 years of marriage. A week ago I flew to Indiana and joined my brother and other extended family to honor my parents at a special dinner.

After the dinner, my brother and I shared some comments to honor our parents. It seems fitting to share my comments since celebrating a half century of marriage isn’t an everyday occurrence.

“I am happy to share some thoughts to honor you,  Mom and Dad. However, I will admit that I typed “50th wedding anniversary toasts and blessings in my Google Search Engine” hoping for a bit of inspiration.  All sorts of statistics about marriage and cute turns of phrases popped up, but none of them quite seemed to fit the two of you.

The more I thought about both of you, several defining characteristics emerged that I think describes and honors your marriage.

Faithfulness:  Mom and Dad you have been faithful to each other all of these years–a gift to each other and a gift to Nate and me. I don’t ever recall feeling worried or afraid as a child or teenager about whether or not the two of you would make it. This says something because, believe me, I worried about plenty as a child!

Your faithfulness to each other has also been a model and an encouragement  to your friends, your colleagues, and to the communities you have belonged to over the years.

A sense of humor: Mom and Dad, your ability to laugh at yourselves, at each other, and with others has been a hallmark of your marriage. I’m sure there have been times when you wanted to cry or to yell, but laughter saved the day. I have seen your sense of humor smooth difficult situations on several occasions. For instance, the time you drove six hours out of the way because you were following the GPS instead of consulting a map! Your ability to laugh at yourselves and your mistakes is something we can all take to heart.

Your commitment to Christ: Perhaps this is the greatest gift you have given to Nate and me. What a privilege to have two parents committed to a life of faith. What an example of real, genuine faith that has experienced joys and trials, but has remained strong over the years. What a blessing to see firsthand how your faith impacts all areas of your life.

Tonight, Mom and Dad, we raise our glasses to toast the two of you  and to say, “Thanks be to God for 50 years of marriage!  May there be many more.”  L’Chaim!

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