If you’re wondering the secret to a happy and long marriage, Peggy Rowe has the answer.
But, beware, it’s not a short one, she warns.
Mike Rowe reposted his mother’s words on his Facebook Page with this opener: “Mom will be 85 in January. Dad will be 90 on Monday. Today, they’ve been married 62 years. They’ve learned some things over the years…”
The rest of the post is Peggy’s words about her life with Mike’s dad, John. She begins at the beginning: “John was 28, just out of the Army, and taking advantage of the GI Bill when we met. I was 22 and busy living a privileged life.”
Peggy’s mom was doubtful the marriage would work out, describing John as a “joyless soul from a dysfunctional home” whose only interest was history. Peggy loved horses but the two had no common interests and her mom felt John was destined to break Peggy’s heart.
Despite the odds and naysayers, however, Peggy writes, “In no time, our lives were intwined. Both teachers, we formed mutual friendships, joined a church, and figured it out together.”
They had three sons in five years. The boys became the focus of their family and Peggy stayed home to care for them.
“Like other couples, we’ve navigated our marriage raft through some white waters—emerging with scrapes and bruises but wiser for the experience. We’ve disagreed and fought and said hateful things we meant in the moment and apologized for later. We’ve said, ‘I love you’ more times than I’ve lowered the toilet seat—and meant it each and every time.”
Peggy is the author of About Your Father and Other Celebrities I Have Known: Ruminations and Revelations from a Desperate Mother to Her Dirty Son,” referring, of course, to Mike Rowe’s popular show, Dirty Jobs.
No doubt, Peggy’s wry sense of humor has helped the couple weather storms, burying both sets of parents and five of John’s siblings. They’ve also had their own medical skirmishes with heart problems, bladder cancer, and breast cancer.
Peggy admits she and John aren’t outwardly romantic, although they do hold hands when they’re out walking.
So, what is the secret to a long and happy marriage?
Apparently, it’s love.
“Lately, it’s more a matter of support. I can’t think of another human being with whom l would rather share my thoughts, my mealtime, my writing, and my bed. I can’t imagine how any couple can navigate the sometimes rocky terrain of marriage without a whole lot of love.”