In a couple of days, the calendar page will turn over a new leaf and it will be October.
Autumn will be firmly ensconced as the current season and I will celebrate my favorite time of year.
But there’s yet another reason to celebrate the upcoming month. In a few days, Papa and I will mark the occasion and look back over 40 years (!) together as a married couple.
I wrote the following blog post six years ago and decided to post it again with a few changes and updates.
Take a walk with me.
Forty years ago, a young man, so nervous buckets of perspiration dripped off him, grasped the hand of a young woman, equally just as anxious because her stomach was doing somersaults, and the two of them took a walk down a church aisle.
Thus began their journey into married life, a commitment they made to one another that day four decades ago. They’ve chosen to honor and stay faithful to that commitment through the years past and for the years to come.
Their journey together hasn’t been smooth sailing. They’ve encountered hills to climb, valleys to stumble through, rivers to cross, even chasms to bridge. Life is never perfect and that certainly includes married life.
Those two commenced a life with white lace and promises and then ventured west into the sunset to live happily ever after. They made their way alone without family nearby. Then a few years later, they faced an overwhelming challenge of being apart for an entire year while the young man served his country in a foreign land during which time their first child was born.
Their trek together has taken them to different areas of the country with twists and turns here and there. Along the way, they’ve made adjustments, had their fair share of quarrels and disagreements, experienced disappointments, uncertainty, and even fear together.
But their love for one another endured on the journey producing great joy and building up of faith in the God they serve.
“More marriages might survive if the partners realized that sometimes the better comes after the worse.” ~ Doug Larson
They’ve been blessed with three amazing children and continue to cherish the privilege of being parents. They’ve watched those three grow, mature and, in the blink of an eye, become adults. And then from a different perspective, they watched their children, in adult bodies with mature minds and spirits, find mates of their own.
This man and his wife found themselves amazed and a little dumbfounded that they arrived at this season in life so soon. They watched with heartache as their own parents grew elderly, succumbed to illnesses and aging, and passed from this life.
And now, with a tinge of bittersweet, they realize they have become the older generation. However, there is still much love and joy to anticipate as their family has expanded to include two beautiful grandchildren.
The joy after all is in the journey. And so they clasp hands once more, grateful for 40 years past and hopeful for more to come.
That couple is my husband, one who stands by my side and yet always has my back; picks me up when I’m down; takes care of me in sickness and in health; and loves me no matter what, and me, who tries to do the same for him.
We are not extraordinary people, but when I tell younger folks we’re celebrating 40 years of marriage, they seem startled and even shocked that a couple could stay together so long.
And that’s what saddens me. In this throw-away society we’ve become, marriages are tossed aside like last week’s dried up hamburger and stale fries.
Commitment and vows are forgotten because (pick one): I no longer love you; you’re not the right person for me; you’re not really my soul mate after all; I’ve found someone better than you; you don’t make me happy; I’m tired of taking care of you; marriage isn’t what I expected; you make me angry; you disappoint me; and on and on. And much of the time, it’s all about a person’s selfishness and self-centeredness.
It seems to me that fewer people are willing and have the desire to work at making a long-lasting marriage anymore. And believe me, work it is. Nothing worth having is easy to attain. It takes dedication, hard work, forgiveness, and selflessness.
We know. Papa and I have been working at it for 40 years.
And God willing, we will continue the journey for many years to come.
“In every marriage more than a week old, there are grounds for divorce. The trick is to find, and continue to find, grounds for marriage.” ~ Robert Anderson