For Better Or Worse

Wedding anniversary announcements have been coming into the newspaper office at a steady pace in recent weeks. Some announcements are mailed or emailed. But many more are delivered to the newsroom because, as some older-weds will tell us, “we don’t do email on a computer.” It’s a generational thing.

I can spot a potentional 50-year or more couple a mile away. Sometimes both husband and wife will come into the office to deliver their anniversary information to be posted in the Sunday News-Register. They are usually smiling like teenagers in love. The man still holds the door for his wife. Sometimes they are holding hands.

Often they will bring us “now” and “then” photographs. The “then” photo shows them on their wedding day and the “now” picture is a more recent photo, usually taken at a grandchild’s wedding or other special occasion. The photos will run side-by-side in the newspaper.

Some will refer to their pictures as “before” and “after” photos. I’m not sure what that means, maybe “before” the wedding night and “after” three children and the mortgage is paid off?

The wedding day photos of 45 or 50 years ago and beyond often hint to what was happening in our country at the time. The oldest pictures will sometimes have the husband dressed in a formal military outfit while the wife is in a suit complete with a matching hat. World wars did not make for long-term engagements or fancy, pre-planned weddings.

Couples married in the 1950s post-world war era, returned to the tuxedo-clad men and women in formal white wedding gowns. The 1960s and ’70s were a mishmash of formal gowns to mini-skirted brides and husbands in nehru collared shirts and love beads. The trends come and go as the years pass and history and fashion tend to repeat themselves.

In some instances, a husband will be tasked with delivering the anniversary announcement with explicit instructions from his wife. Since my desk is closest to the newsroom door, I am usually the first point of contact for visitors. A recent visitor, a man in his 90s, was bringing in such an announcement.

I offered him a chair. I’m not sure exactly how many years he and his wife have been together, but it was decades. While seated, he talked about his wedding day as if it were yestersday. He spoke lovingly of his wife, now too frail to journey with him to the newsroom. It was heart-warming.

At a time when 50 percent of marriages end in divorce, it is refreshing to see and hear from these remarkable couples who have made it work. They have endured times of war, economic depression, joy and loss. They didn’t start out with with air-conditioned homes, microwave ovens and four-car garages. Their marriages were built on the love that was stronger than man-made temptations or the need for anything more than one another.

Heather Ziegler can be reached via email at


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