Recently, my (Mary’s) parents celebrated fifty years of marriage which was awesome but when all five of my mom’s siblings celebrated fifty years, I just had to share. Two of these families, Roger & Norma Wolf and Butch & Susan Young, live here in the Basin and are readers of our newsletter. I’d like to say “avid” readers, but I think my parents slack sometimes. :-) Anyway, with Valentine’s Day approaching, I am sharing the following article that the Tri-City Herald published. Enjoy and be encouraged to keep your marriage a priority.
When Elwin “Butch” Young first laid eyes on Susan Wolf more than half a century ago, he knew. She was the one for him — the “perfect young lady for life,” he said. And since then, “I haven’t changed my mind,” Butch said.
He and Susan, who live outside Pasco, celebrated their golden anniversary a few years back. It’s a milestone not that many couples reach — in 2009, it was just 6 percent, according to a report from the U.S. Census Bureau.But in the Youngs’ world, it’s not all that unusual. As of this year, all four of Susan’s siblings also have been married to their spouses for at least five decades.
The couples recently gathered at the Wolf family homestead in Quinter, Kansas for a reunion weekend to celebrate the golden quintet. Asked if it was a fun time, Butch said that “wouldn’t be the right word”. Instead, he said it was “a blessing”. “Family is a blessing to us,” he said.
The Wolf siblings and their spouses belong to the Old German Baptist faith, a religious denomination with similarities to the Mennonite and Amish traditions. Butch said that faith is the “secret” to the family’s long marriages. “It was something we didn’t make happen, but it happened because we conformed our lives to the Biblical teaching,” he said of the five couples all reaching their golden anniversaries. “That’s the cornerstone of the whole thing.”
Susan is the youngest of the five Wolf children. She and Butch have been married 53 years, placing them in the middle of the pack in terms of length of marriage.
The most recently wed are Susan’s brother Roger and his wife, Norma, who also live near Pasco. They’re at an even 50 years. Susan’s brother William and his wife, Erma Jean, live in Kansas and have been married 55 years. So have Susan’s sister Rachel Brovont and her husband, Millard. They live in Indiana. The longest-married of the bunch are Susan’s sister Ruth Benedict and her husband, Lee, also of Indiana. They’ve been married 56 years.
Butch, who’ll turn 80 in the spring, also has long marriages on his side of the family. His parents were wed 57 years. His three siblings all have passed, but they also were “married for life,” he said.
Butch and Susan met in Kansas and eventually moved west. Butch farmed in Franklin County and is a pastor in the church’s local congregation, which has about 160 people. He and Susan have five children — all are married and live close by — plus 15 grandchildren and six great-grandchildren. Their daughter Mary Bauman said they’ve “been a Godly example to us” and shown “how a marriage is about serving one another, and putting other people’s needs above your own”. Her parents “encourage us,” she said. She and her husband, Sid, are relative newlyweds in this family — just 22 years.
Butch said he and his wife and the other four golden couples aren’t ones to seek attention. But they like the idea of their long marriages inspiring others. “Maybe it will help somebody struggling with their marriage to realize it can work and it can work wonderfully,” Butch said. “If the article can do that, that would be my prayer. It would be the prayer of the family.”
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