Five Ways To 50!

Elizabeth Sinclair  Welcome Elizabeth Sinclair, who brings us a true picture of happily ever after

This month something happened to my husband and me that I had never given much thought to ever taking place…we celebrated our 50th wedding anniversary. Actually, it came upon me quite unexpectedly. I knew our anniversary date was approaching, June 10th, but when I’d reached the age of 39 I’d stopped keeping track of anything in years. So I had to do some mental math. Not one of my stronger points. When 1962 subtracted from 2012 gave me 50 as an answer, I had to break out the calculator to verify it.

Let me make it very clear that 50 came as a shock not because we had a terrible marriage, but (and this is going to sound sappy even though it’s true) because we had a really good marriage. You know that old adage about time goes by fast when you’re having fun? Well, that was true of us.

Now, unless you get the idea that all was rainbows and sunshine, I can tell you that we had some really rough spots over those 50 years. However, unlike a lot of modern day couples, instead of throwing in the towel and heading for the nearest divorce lawyer, we stuck it out, worked on the problems and emerged stronger and happier for our efforts. We learned that, like anything in life, you have to work at it. Happiness doesn’t come as a guaranteed given with the marriage license.

How many people can say they don’t recall the last time they argued with their mate? I can truthfully tell you that I do not remember when our last argument happened. And trust me, for a marriage that started out even in the courtship stage with numerous arguments, that’s going some.


So, what’s the formula for attaining the 50 year mark? In short, there isn’t one. I don’t claim to be a marriage counselor, but I do know what I’ve learned over the last 50 years of living through a marriage littered with rocky roads and smooth sailing. Each marriage is different because each person is different and the circumstances surrounding each marriage are different. But I also know that there are some very basic ingredients that can be added to the mix to help ensure a marriage’s happiness and longevity.

1- LOVE – Love is the foundation that everything else is built on. Without it, the chances of a marriage surviving are very slim. A love that’s strong and sure can weather many ups and downs and come out healthy and happy.

2- RESPECT – This is one ingredient that permeates all areas of a marriage – respect for opinions, likes, dislikes, privacy, needs and the list goes on. Yes, you may not agree with your mate’s choices, but you must learn to respect their right to make those choices and find a way to live with them. But this works both ways. Your choices cannot be ones that strain your marriage.

3- COMMUNICATION – Learn to talk to each other. Holding things in can only make them fester and become a problem far beyond what they started out to be. Talk them out. The “silent treatment” solves nothing, nor does it alleviate the problem. Your mate can’t change what they don’t know about.

4- THE ABILITY TO HEAR – Along with communication comes the need to hear, not just listen, but to actually hear when your mate is saying “I’m unhappy because. . .” This sometimes requires a bit of reading between the lines.

5- LAUGHTER – It’s so true that laughter is the best medicine. But it’s also true that it’s one of best ways to keep your marriage fresh and alive. If you can laugh and love together, chances are that one day you’ll look up and realize you’ve been married for half a century just like we did.

Do you have any tips for a long, happy marriage? Share them here, and your name will be entered in a drawing for autographed copies of the first two books in my Hawks Mountain series, HAWKS MOUNTAIN and SUMMER ROSE. Both books, e-format and print, are available at and and in large print from Thorndike at

Summer Rose Hawk's Mountain

About Kathleen Eagle

Kathleen Eagle is the award-winning, New York Times best-selling author of over forty novels.
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19 Responses to Five Ways To 50!

  1. donna harris says:

    I don’t know why I’m commenting because my marriage didn’t make it. After 19 years we called it quits. I’m not going to go into details why besides I caught him cheating. Like what Elizabeth Sinclair said you have to have Love, Respect, Communication, The Ability to Hear, and Laughter, I didn’t have that in my marriage. I did a first when we got married and then the kids came, I thought nothing would ever go wrong with us. Then after the years gone by it just started to go down hill.
    Well now I can say I have all of the above. I’ve been with this man 8 years as of July 22nd. We were only together for 6 months when I got real ill and almost died. He was there throught the tough times by my side. Over the years we have had our share of tough times, getting me better. He took care of me when I was bedridden for 2 years. Then all the therapy to get me to learn how to walk all over again, and a lot of doctors appointments. Let me tell you we’ve had so many good times laughing, crying, talking, laughing and the respect we have for each other. Here I am today thinking boy we have the perfect live. I don’t think I could add to Elizabeth’s advice. Just communicate and love each other, live each day for today. Donna

  2. I don’t think I could add anything to what you’ve said, Elizabeth. Between #1 Love and #5 Laughter, you’ve covered it well. In our 58 years of marriage, hubby and I have had our share of ups and downs, health scares and sorrows, but good times have always outnumbered the bad. When we shared the baptism of our great-grandson on Sunday and realized our family filled nearly two church pews, we knew “We done good!”
    Congratulations on your 50th with the love of your life. May the years ahead bring you much love, laughter and sunshine.

  3. pearl says:

    Congratulations and best wishes. Your list is lovely and perfect. We have been married for 42 years and have had many rough times. right now I am battling Breast cancer which was unexpected. having a husband who steadfast, loyal and strong and a good listener helps.

    • We’ll celebrate 42 years of marriage in OctoberI Better and worse are both sure things. On your wedding day, you can’t imagine either, can you? How can it get any better? Worse? What’s that? Live, love and learn.
      Iwill keep you in my prayers, Pearl. My sister is a breast cancer survivor.

    • You’ll be in my prayers, Pearl. I lost my best friend to breast cancer 16 years ago and still miss her terribly. It sounds as if you’ve got a strong support system in your husband. God bless you both.

  4. Good morning, Elizabeth. Ah, Elizabeth. My daughter is Elizabeth. My grandmother’s middle name. Also my cousin’s. As you celebrate your union, you celebrate the union of two families and the promise for the future for both families. I’ve always said that no matter how the bride’s and groom’s parents feel about their darling child’s choice of partner, love soon makes sense of it all. And that first grandchild? Here’s the future. Now we’re good.

    • Thanks for letting me share our big day with your readers, Kathleen. There’s nothing better than sharing your life with a good man who loves you no matter what and whom you can love equally in return.

  5. Laney4 says:

    Loved your beautiful list. After 31 years of marriage, I have another to add.
    Too often, people think of us (only) as “mom” for our kids’ formative years. Once the kids grow up, some of us rediscover how to become “me” (which I am doing right now), but perhaps “the secret” is to remember there is also an “us”. I am very proud to say that our marriage has never been better, steamier, or hotter (including the hot flashes, LOL).

  6. Congratulations, Elizabeth! Wishing you another 50 more. Well, why not? 😍

  7. Amy Stokes says:

    Congratulations Marge. Roy and I just celebrated our 31st wedding anniversary last week. I don’t know too much more I can add to your list because your right on the button with them. The only other thing is to quote a cartoon I read not long ago….. Someone asked an old couple how they stayed happily married for many many years and the response was…… We came from a generation where if something was broken you fixed it, not like today’s way of thinking that if something is broken you just get rid of it and start over.

  8. Trish Jensen says:

    Wrong person to ask, here! My solution would be, get a dog. Good men, besides my father and brother, haven’t managed to fall at my feet. 🙂 But I truly admire couples who’ve been together as long as so many of you have. I’ve seen it in my parents (I THINK they just celebrated their 66th or something). Never quite worked that well for me.
    But I do much admire and celebrate with all of you happy couples. I’m pretty sure there are laws against marrying your animals, so we just happily live together. 🙂

  9. Tracie says:

    Congratulations on an incredible milestone! I don’t have any advice other than to do what works for you.
    Wishing you many more!

  10. bn100 says:

    Happy anniversary! I think those are good tips.

  11. What wonderful suggestions for a happy marriage. Congratulations!!!!!

  12. I enjoyed your post so much, Elizabeth, and teared up as I read your 5 ingredients for happiness. It’s taken me more than one try, but this time I think I’ve got it right. One day at a time! Congratulations to you and your love on 50 years – and congrats to Kathleen & Clyde on 42!

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