SLICE OF LIFE: Renewing four decades of love

2013-07-14T00:00:00Z 2013-07-31T15:11:07Z SLICE OF LIFE: Renewing four decades of loveVanessa Renderman, (219) 933-3244

My parents stood before the altar last Saturday, he in a gray suit, and she in an ankle-length pink dress and a cane to lean on.

They first exchanged vows 40 years ago, when he wore a gray tux and she wore a white gown.

This vow renewal--done in the middle of 4:30 p.m. Mass at St. Mary Catholic Church in Griffith--had less fanfare. But, the meaning was still there.

It meant that almost four decades (the actual anniversary is in November) had passed, and they were still willing to stick it out for however many years are ahead of them.

My Aunt Barb joked, "We were taking bets last night on whether she'd say 'Yes' this time." 

There's some truth to that. 

I sometimes get annoyed when movies end in a wedding, like a "happily ever after" is implied.

Because after the honeymoon and the lovey dovey period, you come to the realization that you are--for lack of a better word--stuck with that person forever.

That's not necessarily a bad thing. It can be a powerful force.

There's always someone to depend on, someone to be strong when the other one has a moment of weakness.

But, it's not all sunshine and rainbows. Sometimes you get flat-out irritated by the other person.

That's part of marriage.

They don't show you in the movies that, after the wedding, the couple argues because the woman wants to paint a wall yellow and, instead of offering an opinion, the man says, "I don't care."

Or instead of putting the dirty plate in the dishwasher, the spouse puts it in the sink, which is less than a foot away from the dishwasher.

Thankfully, I didn't have to rely on movies to know the truth about marriage. I witnessed my parents' relationship.

Growing up, I saw the power in having a teammate and life mate. And, I saw the sacrifice and compromise it takes to make things work out.

After my parents renewed their vows, we had a party down the street, with almost 100 family and friends joining us to celebrate my parents' four decades of marriage.

In the middle of the dance floor, I stopped to take it all in. 

People from age 2 to 95 were laughing and singing, catching up, sharing memories and celebrating.

"This is what it's all about," I thought.

All because two people fell in love.

Vanessa Renderman writes for The Times and can be reached at

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