Saturday, Janet and I celebrate another milestone – 46 years of marriage. We are closing in the magic “50” but we aren’t quite there yet. God willing, we will get there in several years… and then keep going for many, many more. For me, it’s difficult to even remember what it was like before we were married. I love being married to Janet.
Sure, we have had our ups and downs and there have been years that have been more rewarding than others. We have watched our children, and our grandchildren, grow and have seen great results in our company as well. It’s been, all in all, a very good life for both of us. While we have never lost ourselves, we are much stronger together. What strikes us both is the fact that we think so much alike. We like the same houses to live in, the same programs to watch, the same events to attend – and that is only the tip of the iceberg. We love to vacation at the same places and we choose to spend as much together as we can. In all honesty, we do differ in several areas – she tends to be more compassionate and I tend to be the problem solver.
I know that probably sounds a little sappy to many of you. After all, the country is full of couples who take separate vacations, run with their own circles of friends and even share living expenses by dividing up the responsibilities of the household along financial lines. Janet and I have never done that. All the money goes in one pot and I don’t think we have ever had a discussion about who is going to pay for what. That’s just not how we roll. I guess we are really old school.
Around our place, Janet tends to focus on the inside of our home and I am responsible for making sure the outside is taken care of. We make joint decisions on decorating, furniture purchases and are in complete alignment politically as well in our theology and belief in God. Each of us would trust the other with any decision that would have to be made and we consult each other out of respect – not necessity. We desire to include each another and share as many experiences as we can – in addition to the time that we spend together.
We hope that we have been a great example for our children in the way that we live our lives. We also hope that others will see our commitment to one another and to our belief in a strong family unit. Certainly, we have made mistakes throughout the years. That goes with the territory. While we try to become more Christlike as we age, perfection is reserved for some time in the future when we are no longer limited by our earthly lives.
We were married on a Friday evening at 7:00 p.m. on August 24, 1973. I remember it like it was yesterday. We were married in the sanctuary of Trinity United Methodist Church, the church that we both grew up in – and also the church that my parents were married in years before. But as I recall that evening, I could never have predicted the journey that we have taken together. I really don’t think that either of us was prepared for the intense joys and deep sorrows that we have experienced.
We have had the joy of having and raising three children and, now, four grandsons. We have also suffered the terrible grief associated with the loss of both sets of our parents and grandparents. We have walked alongside family members with physical issues and we have both suffered health scares and medical emergencies that remind us of the fact that we are getting older and these things happen. We realize that we are not indestructible but we are doing everything we can to make sure that we pay attention to our health, to exercise and to do everything we can to make sure that we keep celebrating anniversaries together.
We have persevered and are having a great time! And it’s not over – not by a long shot. We are eager to see what the next season of our marriage holds as I move toward retirement and we dream about the future. One of our foundational beliefs is that we have always subscribed to the biblical mandate that we are to become “one flesh.” In fact, that is our verse for this evening. Moses tells us, in Genesis 2:24, “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh.”
My encouragement tonight is that God created the institution of marriage and believed that we are strongest when we are married to one another. My prayer is that couples who have been together for decades of their lives will continue to be a beacon of hope for those younger couples who may be struggling with the institution of marriage. After all, the commitment we made is meant to be for life and we all know that this is a very high standard for people to attain. Happy Anniversary, Janet – I love you and would do it all over again in a heartbeat! Thanks to all of you who have been a blessing and an encouragement to us throughout the years. Have a great day in the Lord, grace and peace!