If you’ve ever planned a wedding, you know how much work it can be. We’re not even in the thick of it yet and while I think we have a good handle on our November wedding (so far), we have no idea what to expect. We hear the stories about challenges and missteps we shouldn’t take. Regardless of the advice, I’m sure everyone makes their own path. In the end, a wedding usually ends up better than anticipated.

But what about marriage itself? We all know THAT can be a slippery slope – especially if you marry the wrong person.┬áBut even if it’s the right person there’s no doubt a lot of work, patience, support, commitment and compromise go into making a marriage thrive.

My parents arrived from Minnesota last weekend to hang out and talk all things wedding, life, getting older and hunting and fishing (Minnesota, remember!?). Oh, and they packed a bag full something any couple getting married desperately needs…advice.

They packed very well. My parents Greg and Mary celebrated their 45th wedding anniversary on Saturday.

mary-greg-benson

Mary and Greg Benson celebrating 45 years of marriage.

Full disclosure, I forgot. After being awarded “The Worst Son Ever” award, Tara and I clanged wine glasses with them throughout the day. We enjoyed stories of their ‘glamourous’ honeymoon spent in a car en route to Chicago. Or the day of their wedding when my Mom remembers looking over at my Dad while they kneeled at the alter. He was tanned to oblivion thanks to his long days working construction. Thanks to a humid, Minnesota July, he’d been dripping his way to a small lake on the alter. We’ll never know if it was truly the heat, or the stress of saying ‘I do’.

But what we’ve learned from our parents (Tara’s parents Cindy and John will be celebrating 35 years in October) doesn’t come in the shape of words, phrases or verbal tongue-lashings. We get the best advice from watching. It’s funny that when you get older you start to realize things that never made sense before. Oh, THAT’S why he just got up and took the garbage out without arguing, or THAAT’s why she didn’t interject when he said he was planning another fishing trip. Compromise is a powerful thing. It’s one of many things we’ve picked up along the way while watching our parents.

cindy-john-manis

Cindy and John Manis have been married 34 years.

My brother Mike reminded me that I’ll be in my 80s when I celebrate my 45th wedding anniversary. Thanks, Bro. When I’m celebrating, you’ll be 90 and telling me to change your diaper.

Regardless, give your parents a hug – whether they’re together or not. Tell them you love them. They may not always say it or show it, but they want the best for their kids.

Before writing this, I pulled a few grays out of my head and set them on the table to show off to Tara. Gross? Kinda. But it’s proof there’s no stopping time.

Thanks to our wonderful parents for teaching us and guiding the way. We love them more with each day.

And to make up for forgetting your 45th, we’ll throw a ragin’ party for your 50th!