For richer, for poorer ...

3 October 2010
It was our wedding anniversary last week. Thirty one years of life committed to one person. We created two new lives, invested our futures in each other, and day by day, built 31years together, or 34 years if you count the years we've been together ... so far. It's been tough at times. Like most married couples, we argued about silly things that seemed important and we grew apart at times, but there was always respect and trust.

And that is the glue.

When I was younger I didn't think there was much to marriage. I saw it as a way of keeping the population ticking over while people were boxed into convenient couple packages. Then I met someone I wanted to marry and although I'd had the thought that "it's only a piece of paper", when I married, I soon realised that wasn't true. I have found that the act of marriage actually increases the devotion and the bond and when the hard times happened and I wanted to walk away, the commitment, the actual marriage itself, made me stay and work things out. I have no doubt Hanno had similar crises and probably stayed for similar reasons. And when I said: "for better or for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish; from this day forward until death do us part." I really meant it. It wasn't just part of the wedding ceremony that would soon be forgotten.

We had a very simple wedding in Germany. We had a party afterward at our apartment and invited family and friends. There were few gifts, no special outfit and no engagement ring. We didn't see the need to spend a lot and we needed the money for other things, like living. But the promises we made to each on that day were heart-felt and sincere and have kept us together all this time.

Over the years we've grown to be like each other. When we met, I was unconventional and impractical, always with an opinion and full of mad ideas. Hanno was a strong and steady hard worker who seriously took on the responsibilities of the family and guided us all towards a secure future. Now he's more radical and open and I'm more family-oriented and settled. We taught each other the traits we needed to have, and the kids taught us to be good parents.

Now I'm 62, Hanno turned 70 two weeks ago and it seems like we've come the full circle. We started off without children and here we are again, just the two of us, making a life together, and supporting each other through thick and thin. Someone asked me a couple of days ago if I knew the secret to a good marriage. I said that Hanno and I want each other to be happy, and there must be trust. Trust, it's the one thing a marriage thrives on, without it, all is lost.

So in this time of reflection, I want to pass on some encouragement and support to all of you younger than us and who might be wondering about the future of your own union. While there are some marriages that should never have happened in the first place, all marriages go through bad times and if you have the strength to ride it out, each time you do that, you'll make your marriage stronger. You have to factor in human frailty and remember that everyone has moments of weakness. As long as the trust remains, the rest of it will come back, given time and good fortune.

When you get that time with your one person, and look back at life from this end, the view is wonderful and enriching. Sure there were hiccups and strife, but there were also many good times, lots of laughs, love, affection and the satisfaction of working towards common goals. We two together have built a life like no other. We've become the people we should be because of our commitment to each other. A long marriage is one of the many things that money can't buy and if you're in one, you'll know it's the finest of prizes.


  1. As much as all your great tutorial have helped so many achieve something more, this my dear is the best post I have ever read here. These are, the words to live.

  2. Hi Rhonda
    I have been married for 22 years next January and I can truthfully say I am happier now and my husband, I think, is lot nicer than all those years ago! I agree, stick with it!!

  3. When I married Manley, I told him I was only marrying him for today. And I would put my heart into it. It's amazing how many todays we have strung together.

    I hope the young ones will take to heart your wisdom about the hard times. Unless there are extenuating circumstances that warrant leaving a marriage, it's very helpful to know that no matter where you go, there will be struggles sometimes. But if the love is deep, it will endure.


  4. Wonderful, heartfelt post. Congrats on your anniversary. A milestone indeed. I've been away from the blogging word most of the summer, catching up. Love your blog. My husband and I celebrated 25 years this year. Been dating for 31. Not always easy but a blessing for sure.

  5. Congratulations! May you enjoy many more wonderful years together!

  6. Hi Rhonda, thanks for your words of wisdom which have come at a lovely time as my husband and I have recently celebrated our first wedding anniversary. We didn't do anything flash, just a lovely meal and got each other very small gifts made of paper, to be traditional :) Although my husband is worried that if we stay on the traditional gifts route when we get to 60 years and we're celebrating our Diamond wedding anniversary . . . . . . . ;0)

  7. Beautiful! This is why I love your blog!!

  8. Great time to read this post, we have had some hard times, especially the last year but as we struggle though together occassionaly we get a glimpse of that stronger bond that ties us together, that keeps getting stronger. WE are not married, nor do we have plans to so I dont necessarily agree with needing the 'marriage' to forge strong relationships but I love your post nonetheless. BIg congratulations to you both for getting through the hard times and appreciating each other.

  9. Wow! It's true then, you and Hanno are virtually the same person:)

    Happy Daze!


  10. Happy Anniversary to you both. Hubby and I have been married 18 years. We work together in running our electrical business - he's the "boss" and I'm the "apprentice" and work at home raising our three children and making our home comfortable. People comment to us that it's so good we "get on well together". Sorry - I thought that was what marriage was all about - "getting on" with your partner regardless of what was happening and supporting each other in everything we do.

  11. Good morning gorgeous Rhonda. Whilst I love all of your posts, this particular post is in my opinion your best ever! Your words sing true to my heart and bought a tear to my eye.

    Hugs n luv


  12. Congratulations!! I am usually a lurker on you fantastic blog, but just wanted to tell you that your words strike such a chord. We've been married 20 years this year (25 years of being together) and we are still enjoying each other's company every day. That amazes even me at times... :-) Silke

  13. How lovely.

    Blessings Gail

  14. Congratulations on your anniversary Rhonda. You are right when you say that trust and the desire for the other persons happiness are so important to marriage. It is also important to have respect. I know many people who are married and speak so rudely to one another. They put each other down in front of others about everything, including their 'bad parenting' skills. It is so sad, not to mention uncomfortable. I'm 30 years old, and hubby and I have been married for 8 1/2 years. I'm always grateful for our strong relationship. We certainly joke around, but we value one anothers feelings. I always think it's great that we always have things to talk about. We're forever trying to converse while the kids try to get a word in. It's nice to have things in common and things to say to each other!!
    Thanks as always Rhonda for your words of wisdom.

  15. Couldn't agree more.

    Compostman and I have been together for (thinks) 27 years and married for more than 25 of them....

    and whilst yes sometimes I have questioned and wondered about our being together...I would not swap him for anyone else and I know he is " the one" for me.

  16. I AM in one of those marriages -- "the finest of prizes". Like yours...tough at times, but well worth the struggles.

    Words such as yours here need to be spoken AND modeled for those who are just starting out or DREAMING of starting out. You've done it honestly and well here.

  17. Congratulations! Isn't it wonderful to be able to look back over the years and know that despite the ups and downs, if you stick with it, love just keeps growing! What a blessing to have a best friend always there to talk to. We've been married 16 years now, and wouldn't give it up for anything :) Thanks for the lovely post.
    Jo :)

  18. Happy Anniversary Rhonda and Hanno!
    Beautiful and inspiring post Rhonda.


  19. congratulations!

  20. I haven't been married as long as you, but my husband is still my best friend! Congratulations on your anniversary and may there be many more.

  21. Congratulations!! And thanks for the lovely post! We will celebrate 35 years in February.....where did the time go????

  22. Congratulations! I'm getting married this Friday so this post was just what i needed! I'm looking forward to putting into practice all i have learnt from your blog, you really have changed my outlook on life, thank you!

  23. Today marks five years since my partner and I met. I had no idea when I woke that morning that by evening my life would have changed forever.

    We both had children, he was widowed with two boys at home and I had been a sole parent to my daughter for 11 years. We have been fortunate in that merging our two little families has been an easy transition.

    It is trust and respect that keeps people together, the foundation for everything else in life. We have learned a great deal from each other and will continue to do so. We hope to spend many more years together...30+ would be amazing.

    A very timely post indeed.

  24. Congrats Rhonda and Hanno. We hit #34 this year -- I was a child bride probably about three or four. ;-) I think this end of it is a lot better than the early years, but it does take work.

  25. Congratulations Rhonda and Hanno.

    What a beautiful love filled post. A blessing and inspiration for all.

    DH and I celebrated our 41st last month. Love is a blending of two people, growing through good and bad times. Living and learning with love, laughter, encouragement and forgiveness through each and every day we are blessed with.

    Love and hugs to you both,


  26. Congratulations on your anniversary.
    I've been married for not even one month now (but have been together more than eight years) and am always happy to hear advice from those who have lasted the distance.

  27. thank you so much Rhonda, this has been a beautiful post. We get married on new years eve, after being together for 13 years and having two children and it still means something to us both. To say it's simple is an understatement - it's just going to be us, the children, and our best friends. A total of 7, with one of them cooking our evening meal that night. It's more than a piece of paper, and it's more than a potential mountain of debt to get married so we decided to unite as we are - casual, happily, and simply. No big wedding can replace or understate our bond and we are starting from a place that matters, which is those words from our heart.

  28. Happy Anniversary, Rhonda and Hanno. A lovely post, Rhonda.

  29. Congratulations to you both.♡♡
    Your life together shows that the vows you spoke are more than mere words. What a blessing you are!

    I know for us, after just celebrating 35 years in August, taking care of each other *is* the loving thing.

    from one of my favourite poets~

    "Grow old along with me! The best is yet to be, the last of life, for which the first was made."
    ~Robert Browning

  30. Hi Rhonda,

    This is a timely post as I proposed to my partner of 7 years this morning. He said yes, then said he wanted to ask me 'properly' (he is conventional and I am not) so we will get to ask eachother in the end. I loved it and our daughter is very happy there will be a "edding" (as she calls it). We have also been through some achingly tough times and whilst I never forget these, I aim to move forward so we can be a happy family who can ride out the bumps together. I am a very happy lady, and he is a very happy man.

    All the best,


  31. Happy anniversary to you & Hanno! And many, many more. We will be celebrating our 26th on Oct. 6th...isn't it funny how it can seem like forever AND just yesterday all at the same time?

    Blessings from Ohio/USA...Kim<><

  32. Lovely words; happy anniversary and congratulations!

  33. Rhonda,
    This is an absolutely beautiful post. I love how you point out that things have not always been perfect. I think that's important. I have been married to my husband for 7 years and we are raising a young family. Its always a comfort to know that I can trust him fully and rely on him when things get rough.
    I love reading your blog and I try to do so everyday. I've slowly been working my way through the archives. You've really inspired me to change the way I view things and to live a more aware life. Thank you so much for making this blog!

  34. That is for sure Rhonda. Happy Anniversary you two.
    It will be 30 years for us next spring. A common foundation is a wonderful thing.

  35. Congrations on your anniversary, many there be many more happy years. This post is full of wisdom :)

  36. Congratulation! 30++ years is amazing!
    I have been reading your blog for quiet sometimes! Your blog really inspire me in to simple living, cooking,gardening and today about family & marriage!

  37. Beautiful post! Congratulations on the 31 years!

  38. Congratulations Rhonda and Hanno!

    My husband and I celebrate our 30th in a couple of weeks time. We, too, have been through the ups and down of married life, but I feel that if one is really committed to the promise that one has made, then there is no "easy out".

    Our children have said that we are one of only two couples that they know who are still married to their original partners. Such a sad observation, I think.

    Our modern, throw-away society seems to have infiltrated more than what we consume.

    But, that is one of the reasons why we have purchased, and are in the process of building (in more ways than one), the next chapter in our lives - namely to live in a more eco-friendly way, closer to each other and to illustrate to our children that life needn't be filled with all the mod cons in order to enjoy it - that in fact exactly the opposite is true.

    Simpler = happier.

    Yes, some of the "thin" times were difficult, but no one promised that our partnership would be easy. I believe that sticking together through the "thin" times have made me, personally, a better person - more rounded, more understanding and more equipped to face the next phase of our lives.

    My husband and I "know" each other more fully now than when we met, but if there is a basis for married life, then surely it is THAT journey that is the exciting one.

    To share a hearty laugh, to be hugged by a grandchild, to smile in a mutual appreciation of something - those things make my day.

    All other difficult times - well, they're just that - difficult times which make one appreciate the good times even more.

    Life is good :-)

  39. To find that one person who you'd want to spend the rest of your life with, is the awesomest thing in the world. I have found that person and am working on achieving a long and happy marriage such as yours. Congratulations to you both!

  40. Congratulations on your anniversary! May there be many, many more!

    I'm in a young marriage (4 years), and I have found my time with Ian gets better and better and better. :-)

    Congratulations again!

    AM of the bread

  41. You give such sound advice and as a happily married woman of 49 with four children and one still at home he is an autistic young man who spends most of his time in his own little world I agree with every thing you say trust is a big part of marriage and love and laughter which in our house there is plenty I would recommend to every one with cold feet about getting married take the leap of faith and through thick and thin love and cherish every moment spent together as life rushes so quicky past. Love your blog and your wisdom of life take care
    Nicole (UK)

  42. Congratulations on your anniversary. We've been married 20 yrs and are looking forward to alot more. Next year, we'll go through the nesting stage as both children will be away at college. It will take some time to get over having then both gone, but I'm sure we will survive!

  43. Rhonda, wonderful post. My hubby and I will have been married 32 yrs this november. We were at a company dinner last week and the lady sitting across from us ask how long we had been married, so I told her. She got a funny look on her face and said we acted like newly weds, being so attentive to each other. That was the highest compliment we could have received! We have been through the highs and lows, but deeply love and respect one another.

  44. Thank you Rhonda for a wonderful, inspiring post and happy anniversary to you and Hanno.

  45. Couldn't agree more Rhonda.
    There are some marriages that will never be a success and to draw a line under them and walk away is the most sensible option. But there must be many marriages that have failed, where if the folk involved had been prepared to grit their teeth and hang in there, they would now be reaping the rewards and enjoying a much richer marriage than they could imagine.
    So all you young things out there, I say keep laughing with each other, keep respecting each other and keep growing together into the people you were born to be, and the rewards are priceless.
    PS: We celebrate our 36th anniversary on 12th October.

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  47. Lovely post! Happy Anniversary!

  48. what a wonderful this world full of divorce its so nice to hear a happy ending. My husband and i will be together 30 years this spring..27 married We moved in together right after highschool and are still together..over these past 30 years we have been rich...we have been poor, we are now inbetween, with two boys in college..i cant ever imagine my life without him..he is my best friend. love your blog!

  49. Bravo!! Such an excellent posting!!!!

  50. wow! i totally needed to read that at the moment. We've been married for 10 years and things are pretty rough at the moment and I think its because we have no family nearby (in the same country!) and three young children. My parents have been married 41 years and I have watched all the struggles they have been through and at the end of the day they are so close and loving. Good on you for celebrating marriage and what it stands for.

  51. We've been married for almost 38 years, and during many difficult times, I wondered if it was worth the effort. My grandchildren see us as "salt and pepper". As children of divorce, that our union is stable and secure is of paramount importance to them. I remember my own father (a child abandoned by his own father) told me that when he learned as a teenager that his grandmother had been married before and even had a child before she met his grandfather, he felt almost betrayed. Never mind that his grandmother was a widow having lost her husband and 4 month old daughter to a flu epidemic before she ever met his grandfather! In his mind he could not imagine his grandmother with another man.
    My sister just called to say her husband's 91 yr. old grandfather died last night. He and his wife had been married almost 71 years! That's hard to imagine these days!

  52. Congratulations on your anniversary! Great post as always.

    Blessings from the middle of the U.S.

  53. Beautifully said.
    I always enjoy reading your blog, and coming up to 25 years of marriage, I can identify with a lot of what you said in this post. Thank you.
    May you have many, many more years ahead together.
    ~ Dawn.

  54. Thank you Rhonda. We also have (had) hard times to overcome, but we are still together. Even though the two of us sometimes wanted to step out of our marriage, God kept us together. Thank Him for that!
    Even in our seven years of marriage, we sometimes look back and we can see the things that happend in the past. we both know we grew a lot in these years and that there are many years and struggles to come.
    Thanks for this open story, we can read the love and honnesty is it. We still love your stories with our heart. Thank you very much.
    Love from Holland.



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