“’Til death do us part ”

The bathroom door was open and I was looking in the mirror adjusting my tie, I had cut myself shaving and had a wad of toilet paper stuck to the cut making sure no blood got onto my starched collared white shirt. Mom stood in the doorway and said it was still not too late to change my mind, I had a long life ahead of me and marriage was a lifetime commitment. 

I was nineteen years old; this was my wedding day March 27, 1954. It wasn’t that Mom didn’t like the girl I was marrying; in fact, Mom loved and treated Kay like one of her daughters, she just felt we were too young to get married, her common-sense argument was simply if we truly loved one another waiting would not harm our relationship. I was real close to Mom and Dad as were all of us seven kids, always heeding their advice, but although the tinge of doubt had been planted, I never changed my mind.

I recall pacing back and forth in the back of the church, I could hear organ music and the din of voices from the large gathering chatting before the ceremony. My brother Len was with me, he was best man, married, a really great wife and three marvellous children, a happy man in a happy marriage. His words were consoling but not convincing. 

It seemed like hours when we were finally summoned to the church altar, my legs were stiff as if my knees had locked in place and refused to bend. Reverend Watt smiled; I am sure he saw many young guys like me stand before him looking like a deer in headlights. At first, I didn’t even hear the wedding march playing but my senses slowly came back to normal and I turned and saw Catherine Marie Beveridge coming down the aisle. Her arm was locked in her father’s arm, she wore the long-trained white wedding gown her grandfather had purchased for her, she looked like a model on a run-way. I had never seen anything so beautiful in my entire life. By the time we heard the words “I now pronounce you man and wife” I knew I had made the right decision, I knew I could never love anyone like I loved Mrs. Catherine Marie Sanders.

Yes, that was sixty-seven years ago – and society as a whole thinks that, because we are now old, we have all the answers to a perfect marriage. Well, we don’t. Have we had our disagreements and arguments? Of course we have, we are only human. Have we witnessed richer or poorer, sickness and health? Oh yes, many times over. Have we endured lean, tough times? Certainly, isn’t that what life is all about? 

Today marriages fall apart so easily, not enough money, the romance has died, the stress was too much, I guess we have heard all the reasons but I prefer to look at the marriages that have survived. The common keys are communication, sharing in all things including family and, as in our own marriage, the most important ingredient – we still love each other today as much as we did sixty-seven years ago.    

Russ Sanders