Today, my sweet grandparents celebrate 70 YEARS of marriage. Seventy years! Not just the marriage part, but the longevity is pretty spectacular. I wanted to conduct a little interview with them to share their wisdom. They turned 92 this year, and having lost their older daughter, my mom, last November, it’s even more incredible to see them thriving and continuing to live well. Though I’m sure that time forgets challenges, and mostly positivity exists in their memories, I tried to dig a little. If you want to see more of this photo shoot I took of them last year, go to My 90 year old grandparents.
As we chatted over the phone, it was mostly my grandma talking, she’s got a memory like a steal trap, and they both have great recollections, but grandpa has a hearing aid that makes it tricky to hear over the phone. He chimed in from time to time, but really, HE is the biggest storyteller.
What’s the best marriage advice you have for newly weds?
Grams: Never go to sleep angry with each other. Sit down and talk it out.
Gramps: Remember that everyone is an individual, different than you, we all have different opinions. You have to be open to sitting and talking and reach a compromise. How important is this difference?
Gramps: We were told we might not have children. Grandma had real serious female troubles. After a procedure, the doctor told us that he thought medically he should have removed her uterus, but he felt they needed to have a baby. Grandma had her appendix burst when she was 17, she was so sick, and the scar tissue and cysts from the ovaries prevented the ability.
Grams: We both wanted a family, came from big families, and early marriage, and right after we got married, I had painful periods, bleeding for 15-20 days, so I felt weak. Grandpa wouldn’t ever got out with friends, because he wanted to stay home and take care of her. She eventually had a procedure that the doctor said to hurry and try to get pregnant now, and she had 2 miracle babies. Then the horrible bleeding came back and the doctor warned not to get pregnant again.
How has the world changed since you were younger?
Grams: When we grew up, we shared a phone line with 5 or 6 families in town. The phone would ring, and it would have a different ring for each family, ours was one long ring and two short rings. We’d answer, but any of the families could always pick up and listen in. We did not have electricity in my home when I moved away from home in 1942 (she lived in small town Woodruff, Utah).
What do you disagree most about?
Grams: We’ve never fought about money or anything like that. I may want to do something different in the house, decorating or when it comes to being clean and orderly. Everything has to be washed down like the table and cabinet. There are things that aren’t as important to him like they are to me. I rinse the milk jug out before I put it in the garbage can, and he thinks it’s silly. I don’t like things to smell in the garbage can. He’ll just throw it away.
Gramps: “What’s inside of that garbage can is for mother nature.”
What would you say is the strongest aspect of your marriage?
Grams: We support each other and respect each others position. Roll with the punches. Don’t grumble about things they do. I said to my grandma…”Really, you didn’t grumble?” and she laughed a little and said, “Well, maybe on the inside…”
Gramps: She is selfless. When my mom got a stroke, my sister suggested everyone take a turn to stay with her, but your grandma (her daughter in law) said, “Neal, put her in the car, she’s coming home with us.” She lived with us, and your grandma took care of her for the next 6 months until she passed away.
How has your communication evolved over time?
We did a bit of learning. We didn’t start having a family for a while. We went to movies and ball games, we just had fun and did things together. Your grandma was so pretty, when we went to the baseball games (season passes), there was a guy that would always follow us around, and sit behind us wherever we sat. She was so gorgeous, he wanted to sit by her and watch her cheer them on. We got all of the ball players autographs.
(They kinda veered off of the communication questions!)
What is something you’ve recently learned/discovered about your spouse?
Grandma: Every once in a while, he will say something that has happened in his childhood that he hadn’t ever told me before. Just the other day, he mentioned a childhood friends dad who ran the movie theater in town. He and his friend would go in and clean the theater after the movie was over, they were paid in TWO FREE TICKETS. All through high school, he saw every show that came out, and because that he really loves watching movies.
How do you feel blessed from 70 years of marriage?
We have been very fortunate to have had as good of health as we have had (good enough). Both of us are cancer survivors, and in our early marriage that surgery, two beautiful daughters, we’ve both had physical problems, but we’ve had great doctors. We came from the generation that you have a family doctor.
What are your worries?
We really worry about getting sick, and not being able to take care of ourselves or each other. But we have been fortunate…we’ve seen so many friends lose their health and they’ve ended up in a nursing home, but we feel really fortunate that we’ve made it this far with as few problems as we have. At present time, we don’t have a terminal illness or serious sickness, but we don’t know where it will be down the line. Will we have a stroke? Can’t plan ahead. We take it one day at a time and grateful for each day that we feel good. We are miracles, with all of our grandchildren and great grandchildren, making great choices and being faithful to our Savior and Heavenly Father.
I just love these grandparents of mine, they inspire me with their love and respect for each other. Thanks for reading along, hope something inspires you, too!
If you’d like to see more picture of my grandparents couple shoot, and to read about their love story, click on the image below!
To read another post I wrote about their lives growing up (some details overlap) see You’re My Butter Half by clicking on the image below
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