Today is my parent’s 59th Wedding Anniversary.

That’s fifty…nine…years.

Nearly 60.

They are now barely in their 80s. Were married in 1950…and nobody knows better than they do that marriage is not always about happiness.

Marriage is about commitment. I think that’s something that many people don’t always realize, especially those of you who are not married. Indeed marriage is about commitment. Happiness only comes as a consequence of that commitment, for there will be days in a marriage that are not happy. You are going to get grumpy and tired and angry. You will face tragedies and disagreements and sorrow. You will get mad at one another more often than you care to remember.

Loving one another in marriage faces all of that and yet you love each other anyway.

There’s the old expression “I love you, warts and all” and there’s a truism to this that people who are married truly understand. Married people see one another when they are not at their best. They know not only what is great about one another but also what the other’s weak parts are as well. My own wife for instance knows that I am not particularly easy to get along with in those early morning hours. We both greet the day with the same three words…She says “Good Morning, God!” and I say…

“Good God! … Morning!”

But yet, Marion my wife is patient with my moods and I’ve become a better listener for her. When times get rough I’m sure there are places that we both think about running away to rather than face what the other needs from their partner.

But we don’t. We learned very early on that for marriage to work it needs to be about commitment. No matter what happens. So when my mom got sick during that honeymoon phase of our marriage we had to bond closer to support not only each other but my family—not an easy thing for a new wife. When Marion’s father, grandmother, and uncle died we dealt with a lot of heartache…but we did so together. Through job losses, disagreements and the fact that we can’t make a baby…we have somehow stayed committed to our marriage.

I know I wouldn’t have been able to be half the husband that I am if not for my mom and dad, who have known a similar kind of life….59 years worth of knowing each other’s joys and sorrows. My mother’s lived the last 35 years or so of their marriage with a lot of sickness and a lot of pain. I’m sure there were days that my dad didn’t find marriage to be a barrel of laughs–but I also know that his commitment to my mom is still rock solid and that he never swayed in his love and commitment to her.

This is the kind of outpouring of love that God has for us all. That love outpoured on my parents by God has turned into a love that they’ve been able to offer each other through everything that life has thrown their way.

So today, we celebrate the marriage of Michael Hayes Sr and a young woman originally named Evelyn King, who has been his Mrs. Hayes for 59 long and committed years. You have been a blessing to each other, to your children, your extended family and friends. May your life continue to bless one another in marriage and may the sacrament that is your life continue to bring us to see Christ’s love in you.