“Life is a journey, and love is what makes that journey worthwhile.” – Unknown

It’s not every day you get to wish a couple a happy 70th anniversary, but on October 22, we had the rare opportunity to do just that with two beloved members of our Galloway Ridge family, Marilyn and Leonard Ernst.

The happy couple met in rural Iowa the same year they married, in 1950. They are both from large families, and they began their married life living and working on the Ernst family farm. That is where they raised their family and made their living, until they retired in northwest Arkansas, their home for the next 20 years. Since that time, they relocated to Galloway Ridge to be closer to both of their daughters and their families, including grand and great-grandchildren. We love having them as part of our community and are honored to commemorate this momentous occasion with them, even amid a pandemic.

What other major events have they seen over the past 70 years together as husband and wife? They have seen 13 presidents serve in office. They have witnessed our country go to war over five times. They have viewed the Berlin Wall go up and come down. They have watched a man land on the moon and the expansion of space exploration. They have witnessed the birth of rock-and-roll music, computers, television, the interstate system, and so much more. Through it all, they have stood by each other’s sides. If that is not a lifetime achievement, we do not know what is!

If the Ernsts are the first couple you have known, met, or heard of that made it to their platinum anniversary, you would not be wrong in assuming that it is a rare accomplishment. In fact, the US Census Bureau does not maintain statistics on couples that go beyond an almost-equally impressive 50 years of marriage. For the record, only about six percent of couples make it to that golden anniversary milestone. Some researchers speculate that 70 years of marriage is only celebrated by less than one tenth of a percent of married couples, or approximately 80,000 couples in the US.

Some famous couples that have also celebrated their platinum anniversary include President George H.W. Bush and First Lady Barbara Bush in 2015, President Jimmy and First Lady Rosalynn Carter in 2016, and Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip in 2017. Interestingly enough, a Platinum Jubilee is when monarchs celebrate a 70-year reign, which is where this landmark anniversary gets its designation. It appears the Ernsts are in mighty good company.

Precious metals aside, Marilyn and Leonard have their own secret to wedded longevity, and they graciously shared it with us. The key to their happy marriage is patience and cooperation, two things we could all do well to remember, especially during this trying year and the ongoing Covid-19 health crisis.

The Galloway Ridge community, from staff and management to residents, congratulates the Ernsts, our platinum lovebirds, on the occasion of their 70th wedding anniversary. May you continue to inspire all of us to be more patient, to learn to cooperate, and to approach everything and everyone with love, kindness, and compassion.