Notes from a Long-term Marriage

“If I get married,” Audrey Hepburn once said, “I want to be very married.”

Who would have thought?

Who would have thought?

Funny. As of this day, I’ve been very married for 38 years. 38 years. I have to sit and look at that for a minute.

Okay. Here are a few things I have learned about marriage so far:

  • The idea of finding one person in all of the billions on earth to live with in reasonable contentment for the rest of your life is – what? –  irrational? Impossibly hopeful?  Or, as writer Elizabeth Gilbert describes it, a “divine accident”? It is, of course, all of those things. That’s the mystery and the miracle.
  • Marrying a person from another culture means you get to do a lot of cool traveling over the years. It also means seeing family far less than you’d like for your kids sake. It’s a tradeoff – one of many in this particular human construct.
  • We bring a lot of baggage into marriage. We may not know how to fight fair. A cleanie won’t be inclined to give up the struggle with a messie. We spend too much or are too tightfisted. In the secret pockets of that baggage we have pouting and immaturity and self-centeredness. Then we discover that marriage is a lifelong unpacking experience.
  • We may think that love is the coin of the realm in marriage. In my opinion, it’s probably the oxygen. Kindness is the currency of the relationship. Two people who practice kindness toward each other are building up a mutual bank account of lifelong pleasure.
  • Children are a wonder. Tiny little people, utterly dependent, landing in our married life with all their noise and paraphernalia. There they are, beautiful and expensive. And the kind of human beings they become depends to a shocking degree on you. You. That knowledge keeps us prayerful. And humble. I confess I still look at our three children and think: “Where did these fantastically wonderful adults come from?”
  • The best marriage advice we can give our children is the marriage we live in front of them.
  • Grandchildren are the grand payoff for having kids.
  • Marriage is the comforting presence of another human being with whom we forge, carve, hammer out a life. Broken places? Yes. Stress fractures? Sure. But the structure is sturdy. It shelters the two of us and the family flowering under its roof.

So, happy 38th to my wonderful Sam. Truth is, the success of our life together is due largely to you and the loving leadership you have provided me and our children. I love being very married to you.

 

 

 

 

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3 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by DEBBIE B. on July 15, 2013 at 7:34 am

    WHERE HAVE ALL THE YEARS GONE DEB? DENNIS AND I WILL CELEBRATE 42 YEARS THIS YEAR. BEV AND BOB ARE CELEBRATING 50 YEARS ON THE 19TH AND MOM AND DAD CELEBRATED THEIR 68TH IN JUNE (BY THE WAY, THEY HAVE BEEN HERE IN TN. FOR TWO MONTHS). DOESN’T SEEM POSSIBLE DOES IT? I CERTAINLY DON’T FEEL OLD ENOUGH TO BE MARRIED THAT LONG.

    Reply

  2. Wow! What a blessing! Happy Anniversary to you and Sam. You are a wonderful example and inspiration for all of us married couples. Wishing you many more happy, healthy and memorable years 🙂

    Reply

  3. Posted by Jennifer Tomasik on July 18, 2013 at 6:50 pm

    Thank you for your notes. They are weighty! Many blessings to you on your anniversary 🙂

    Reply

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