Last Saturday afternoon, I walked down an aisle at St. Ambrose Cathedral looking for a couple married a long time. Bishop Pates was about to celebrate a Mass honoring couples who were celebrating milestone anniversaries and I wanted to hear from some couples about how they made their marriages work.
In the second row, I found Sadie and Gerald Meineke, of St. Boniface Parish in Waukee. They sat quietly, holding hands as the piano played softly just prior to Mass. The couple celebrated their 65th wedding anniversary on July 9.
How did they make their marriage work for 65 years?
Sadie, 85, smiled and said, "Love, love, love." Then she added, "Forgive, forgive, forgive."
She was thrilled that the bishop made time to recognize long-time marriages. "That's the nucleus of the family," she said.
I asked Gerald, 89, how he knew that Sadie was "the one."
"She was the best," he smiled. "She's a true partner. She has been, is and will always be!"
With five children born within eight years and farm work to do, the Meinekes had their hands full as they raised their family. Yet, they made time to talk to each other, did farm work side by side and stuck together, said their daughter, Mary. She said her parents' marriage works because they love each other, are of service to each other and, "They put God at the center."
She said: "I never thought it would be anything less than forever."