My parents, at the beginning of their marriage in 1947 on the left and their 41st Anniversary in 1988 on the right. (The other couple in the left photo is Dad's brother and his wife.)
[UPDATED PICTURE INFO:My eldest sister informed me recently the anniversary photo was on their 41st in 1988. My digital photo info did not have this noted, but she has the original with the date stamp. My apologies for my error. I noted the changes above.]
Their's was a contentious, unloving marriage for almost 20 years, but they eventually found common ground and became quite friendly and affectionate with each other. Did they ever love each other? Oh, sure...I have 3 older siblings and I'm here, along with my younger sister. So yeah... they loved each other. But in between? It wasn't easy for a young teen to see his parents act so, though I don't really remember what I thought back then. It probably was upsetting, to say the least...
Fast forward to Mom's later stages of her illness around mid- 1995, Dad's patient in-home care of his invalid wife and to part of a letter I wrote for my children a couple years ago:
"It was there - in this setting - that the final years of life played out for the old woman, amid the patient care of her husband. It was there that the years of a tense marriage, the years of bickering and of arguing, the years of missed moments of I Love You and I’m Sorry, came to their Truest Meaning. It was there that the patient acceptance of the Cross of their Marriage - and their response to the Graces the Sacrament contained - came to be their greatest comfort. It was there - I believe - that Our Lord smiled down lovingly upon them both and their 49 years of Marriage. And it was there that they taught their children the greatest lesson of all - the indissoluble bond between a husband and wife…"