Half a Century

Time passes so quickly. It hardly feels like it, but then again, what is it supposed to feel like to have been married to the same person for fifty years?

A lot depends upon who that person is, and a lot depends upon you. As Brenda and I mark our fiftieth wedding anniversary today, I’d like to make some observations about that.

I’ll spare you the rosy Hallmark rhetoric, and descriptions of marital bliss that are hard to read and impossible to believe. Marriage, like any relationship between two people in a fallen world, consists of two sinners, both of whom have egos, preferences, quirks, and flaws.

That means there are quite literally hundreds of opportunities for conflict each day. Anyone who thinks about it even for a second knows that must be true, and married people have experienced it.

I say “opportunities” for conflict because the conflicts are not inevitable. They are the product of choices, circumstances, and the influence of other people, and most garden variety differences can be settled amicably by any two people who choose to settle them.

This is where love comes in, and I don’t mean the romantic kind. I mean the tough minded, clear headed, Jesus kind of love, which purposefully lays down its life for another.

When our two sons began dating, I took them aside for some quiet, father/son talks, and gave them this advice: Only consider a woman who already knows and loves God, and has healthy, loving relationships with her parents, siblings, and friends. Become one of those friends, and then (and only then) begin thinking about her as your future wife.

The rest will follow, as God has designed men and women with the capacity for romance, which blooms and prospers within the safety of intimacy. But all will be hollow without the foundation of real love, the love of commitment and sacrifice.

My words rang true for them because I had taken my own advice years before. I am happy to say that I’m married to such a person, who has loved me unconditionally, even when it must have been difficult to do so. More importantly, she has loved and lived for God.

Perhaps the best tribute I can give to the gift that has been our marriage is that I’d do it all again. She says she would, too.

“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.”
1 Corinthians 13:4, 5.

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