Karyn Stevens and Dennis Morelli got married in Las Vegas on September 1, 1962. There are no photos to commemorate that day; they didn’t have the money. In fact, Karyn says they were so poor they couldn’t even afford a handful of rice. (And since they had no family or friends in attendance, there was no one to toss rice at them anyhow.)
For the past 50 years they have raised a family, built careers – Karyn as a middle school teacher, Dennis as a salesman and as a contractor – overcome challenges and experienced many joys, retired, traveled the world, made many memories and developed life-long friendships.
On September 1, 2012, Karyn and Dennis celebrated their Golden Wedding Anniversary at Cameron Park Country Club, with nearly 90 family members and dear friends in attendance.
Unlike their quiet wedding in 1962, this was a grand celebration. There was dinner and wine, cake and flowers, toasts and well-wishes.
Family came from as far away as Washington State, Carson City, Nevada, and Southern California.
High school friends, golf and traveling buddies, coworkers and dear neighbors were also there to celebrate love and longevity!
Because quite a few of Karyn and Dennis’ friends have also been married for many years, I asked a few couples to share their “secrets.”
Here’s what they had to say …
Myrna and Jack
Their friends, Myrna and Jack, have been married for 38 years. Myrna told me that patience, trust and commitment are all important. She and Jack were each raised by parents who believed that you “don’t give up” in marriage, and they follow their parents’ example. (She also said that traveling separately is sometimes a good idea!)
Pam and Pete
Pam and Pete will celebrate 30 years in mid-September. They are “really good friends, and love to do things together.” And they also value having “separate time;” it keeps their marriage dynamic.
Ed and Sandy
Ed and Sandy have a “milestone anniversary” coming up. Here’s what Ed had to say:
“Sandy and I will have been married for 25 years on October 11th. Doesn’t seem possible that 25 years can go by so quickly. We’ve done a lot of crying over the years, especially the last few with the progression of the MS. But we’ve also done a lot of laughing. I think that laughter has been an important part of our relationship. I’ve always tried to make Sandy laugh as much as possible. Thank God she thinks I’m actually funny!
“Another important part of our relationship is respect for each other. We both consider each others feelings first and go from there. Loyalty to each other has helped us stay together when the times got tough. I’ve always said Sandy is my bulldog. She is fiercely loyal and supportive. God help anyone who might do me wrong! Knowing that she always has my back has been immeasurably reassuring whenever I’ve had some professional as well as personal difficult times and events.
“It took me a little while to realize that if Sandy is happy, I’m happy. Once I had that figured out, it’s been a piece of cake.”
Excellent advice, Ed!
Marlow and Deanna
Marlow and Deanna have been married since July of 1990. When I asked Marlow to share some of their secrets, his first comment was “I believe you have to have God in the center of your marriage.” He went on to say that regular church attendance, reading the Bible and praying together are essential elements in their marriage.
As a CPA, Marlow also shared some financial insight: Live below your means, keep open communications about finances, and set short- and long-term financial goals (and review them together at least annually).
And I love his last piece of advice: “Men are like microwaves and women are like crock pots. My suggestion to the men is to add ingredients to your recipe throughout the day.”
Mike and Colleen
Dennis’s sister and brother-in-law, Colleen and Mike, have been married for 46 years. Colleen says that it’s important to be friends, enjoy each other, and have a sense of humor. She says they make it a point to overlook the “little things” and keep the big picture in mind. They also strive to stay interesting and keep growing as individuals.
(Colleen had more to say, but the music started and Mike came to claim her for a dance!)
John and Mary Ann
John and Mary Ann will celebrate 53 years of marriage in December. They married young — in their early 20’s – and knew they were making a lifelong commitment; “failure was never an option.” They understood the importance of their marriage vows, and promised before God that they would keep them. They said their shared faith has been a cornerstone of their marriage, along with having a sense of humor. And, as John said, “She’s a good cook!”
Karyn and Dennis Also Had Some Advice
And from the guests of honor:
Karyn said “Don’t have any sharp, blunt objects within reach! And have children who are more mature than you, and they will raise you right!”
Dennis said that early in their marriage they agreed that he would make all the “big” decisions, and she would make all the small ones. (“And so far, nothing big has come up!”)
Other secrets include travel (“and sometimes take your spouse”) and (obviously) have a sense of humor!
Dennis then got serious for a moment, saying that Karyn is his inspiration and his companion, even when he’s hard to live with. (Awwww!)
Lie, Steal, Cheat and Drink
Dennis concluded by sharing this piece of advice: Lie, Steal, Cheat and Drink.
- Lie to help a friend;
- Steal someone’s heart;
- Cheat death for as long as you can; and
- Drink with family and friends.
Congratulations, Dennis and Karyn! Thanks for being an inspiration, and may you celebrate many more years together!