Too often, 50-year wedding anniversaries go uncelebrated, and maybe even unheralded, but what a blessing it is when families throw unforgettable celebrations such as the one recently given for Gene and Martha Koury.

Too often, 50-year wedding anniversaries go uncelebrated, and maybe even unheralded, but what a blessing it is when families throw unforgettable celebrations such as the one recently given for Gene and Martha Koury.  What a milestone for family and friends to enjoy, especially this day and time.
I talked with Martha Koury and asked her the secret to 50 years of marriage. She answered, “You have to first become friends and then you must like each other."
I asked Mrs. Koury what their plans were for the rest of their lives together. She said she didn’t know if they would do anything different — maybe travel, but inside the United States.
She said she and Gene met in May, 1965 in Pine Bluff, Ark., where she lived and he was working at Pine Bluff Arsenal in the Biological Safety Division. He had sat out in the secretary pool where her cousin, Mattie, worked. It did not take long before Mattie was successful in playing matchmaker.
Mattie planned a fish fry at her house and invited Gene and Martha.  That evening was their first date. In March of the following year, they became Mr. and Mrs. Koury.
Like every married couple, they have had their share of ups and downs. They raised two boys, Mark and Matt, and have four grandchildren. They have owned and operated Koury Auto Sales and Koury Financial Services.
Their granddaughter, Reagan, shared this tribute to them in a recent Facebook post: “MaMaw and PaPaw, you have set the bar very high when it comes to showing all of us what true love looks like. I hope one day I will be lucky enough to reach this milestone.”
My mother-in-love and father-in-love, the Lee’s, recently celebrated their 50th anniversary. Bobby and I wanted to celebrate big, but we were given strict orders not to even think about planning a “to-doo”. Just a simple small family dinner would be nice!  I opted to heed Mrs. Betty’s sincere request.
My parents, Larry and Doris Werner, will celebrate their 50th anniversary in January. I asked Mother the same question that I asked Mrs. Koury, knowing my momma tends to add humor to seemingly more serious questions these days.
She said “Patience, Honey, and lots of it!” I am sure my sweet momma, being the loving, patient, kind woman she is, has contributed very much to the outcome of their happiness; however, Daddy has always been a hard-working, good provider, husband and father who lead us to church every time the doors opened. I cannot remember a day growing up that Larry Werner failed to hug my sister, my mother and I and tell us he loved us. He still does so every chance he gets.
Some recipes are sweeter than others, but from a chef’s standpoint it could be said that the secret ingredients are what make the dish. Regardless what it takes to be successful in marriage now a days, if 50 years is reached, it is indeed a milestone.

Debbie Lee can be reached at dlee@leesvilledailyleader.com