Divorce rates in America have doubled in the last fifty years. That's according to the National Center for Health Statistics. But that doesn't mean it's impossible to maintain a long and happy marriage.
There have been a large number of announcements in East Texas papers this month alone about local couples celebrating their Golden Anniversary.
Ted and Johnnie Middlebrooks sat on the couch in their Smith County home on Wednesday. Johnnie reflected back to the time before they were husband and wife. "We became engaged when I was 16. Married a year later."
Fifty years after that, Ted and Johnnie are still together, but they're not quite the same. Ted jokes, "I got a lot older. A lot smarter, and then if you're married that long, you say yes 'Mam."
Not everything has been easy for the East Texas couple over the last half century. Like every marriage, Ted and Johnnie had their disagreements. Ted spent 20 years in the marines. When it came time to retire, he wanted to re-enlist. Johnnie wanted him to stay home. "I thought he had done his fair share. He had three purple hearts from Korea. He had already served one tour in Vietnam. I had two teenagers. They needed a father."
But like all of the others times of crisis in their marriage, they worked it out together through faith and humor. Ted says that humor remains today. "She's one that stops and she'll chew you out and smile, and you know you've been chewed."
The Middlebrooks have two children, five grand children, and seven great grand children. Johnnie's parents also made it to their golden anniversary. They were married for a total of 62 years.
A lot has changed since the Middlebrooks took their vows in the summer of 1952. But other things have remained the same. Back then, the top team in the NHL was the Detroit Red Wings. Today, Detroit again holds the Stanley Cup.
In '52, the Minnesota Lakers were NBA champs. This year, it's the LA Lakers. And five decades ago, Ted and Johnnie promised to love, honor, and cherish each other in good times and bad.