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September 13, 2009

What they’ve learned after 50 years married

Cardinal George celebrated this year’s anniversary Mass on Aug. 30 at St. John Brebeuf Parish, Niles, and presided as couples from around the Archdiocese of Chicago renewed their wedding vows.

In advance of the annual Golden Wedding Anniversary Mass, the archdiocese’s Family Ministries Office surveys couples celebrating 50 years of marriage about how they have been able to stay together for so long. They publish the responses in the booklet “True Soul Mates,” which is available for $10 at or by calling (312) 534- 8351. The following are some of the survey responses full of advice for married couples.

What were some of the difficulties of marriage for you?

“I married a man who was extremely organized. I sometimes flew by the seat of my pants. I had to learn how to slow down and organize my life. Having our eight children made me realize that organization was a lifesaver. Joe learned to relax more.”

— Maggie Glimco

“Normal challenges of raising five children, the youngest identical twin girls, already having children ages 10, 9 and 3 years old. Ed was in a serious auto accident in 1975 when he was 40 years old and the twins were 5. He was hospitalized for two months and recuperation was one and a half years. But overall we were blessed.”

— Betty Flick

“Really, we didn’t have any difficulties, and Carlos, when I ask him, will answer the same. Only, he was in prison because of Castro, but we managed very well during this sad time in our loves. Difficult to be in exile and start our lives over in the United States. But aside from this we didn’t have any difficulties in marriage at all.”

—Fina Rodriguez

How did you solve problems?

“Need to take time to listen even when arguing. Quiet time helps. Try real hard to compromise, even when it seems wrong. Seek help from others. Realize you’re not alone.”

— Jerry Bruss

“Mainly by talking. For many years we worked together. During that time I was the boss at work and Peg was the boss at home.”

— Ronald McGovern

“Some arguments, some prayers and finally common sense. We also respected each other’s opinions.”

— Patricia Harker

What is the best part of being married?

“The little things: holding hands in church and in the show, cuddling at night, cooking together and just having someone in your corner when you are down.”

— Carol Konieczny

“Sharing the ups and the downs. Nurturing the children we have and the grandchildren we like to spoil. We laughed a lot and cried some and did a lot of things together. I think the best is growing old together and looking back and saying, ‘Thank you, God, for seeing us through each year.’”

— Fleurette Kalka

How has faith helped your marriage?

“I can say our faith has been our mainstay for 50 years. Where would we have been without it? We worship together daily and like to go to many religious shrines and services. I can’t imagine a life without faith in God being number one.”

— Mary Lou Kavanaugh

“My faith reminds me that God created a perfect world, that man has caused imperfections that exist. With this belief, I know I can change to become a better life partner.”

— Edward Wieczorek

“My faith has helped me handle and not question with anger those times that were not pleasant to have in life.”

— Joseph Kirasich

What advice would you give couples getting married?

“Remember your commitment and vows. Marriage is about two people starting a wonderful life together. Make it a life of loving, understanding, caring and sharing. A daily kiss and hug is always a great start! The more you’ve been through together, the more problems you’ve solved, the closer you become.”

— Barbara Humenik

“Always be kind and considerate to each other. Go to church together as a family. Don’t take your partner for granted. Do things together, after children arrive, like have a date night.”

— Elaine Mayer

“Try not to ‘possess’ your spouse. Give him or her some freedom to be themselves. Do not say everything. Often you are glad you did not, later on. But communicate the important things, like love.”

— Corry Stoelinga