This first day of the next 50 years together was so much easier for Janet and me than the day after we got married 50 years ago this past August 24th. Back then we were caught up in the excitement of being newlyweds and were still basking in the glow of the wedding and wonderful reception. Yes, we grew up together, but with our wedding, something had changed. It was a deeper commitment than we had when we were just going out together.
Suddenly, there was more to think about – our decisions impacted each other and both of us had to take that into consideration. I’m sure that Janet would have loved to have gone on a honeymoon right away, but I had finals to study for that were scheduled to start two days after our wedding ceremony. The trip to California would have to wait a week… both of us understood that. And so our marriage began.
Throughout the early years, I have to admit that there was some pushing and pulling on both of our parts to establish things that were important to us as individuals. I liked to entertain others – Janet was more of a stay at home person.
Then, when we were married nine years, it became necessary for me to find another line of work away from the family business. We ended up moving to the north suburban town of Carmel, Indiana. We didn’t have any friends, family or others who we could rely on for help with our three young kids – for all practical purposes we were alone.
We also built a business that proved far more difficult than we had imagined. But it worked and in 1988, we were on the cover of Inc. magazine as one of the 500 privately held fastest growing companies in the country. We have also made the list two additional times throughout the years. Everything was new to us.
As I reflect on those years, they are not unlike the journey a new believer takes after having accepted Christ as Lord and Savior. Initially, we get exposed to Jesus, well, at least most of us, and get excited at the prospect of a relationship with Him. Then, when we finally commit, we get even more excited and want to experience everything immediately – instant gratification.
But that’s when trouble usually sets in. That’s because the initial novelty of our relationship starts to wear off. The tough job of actually learning about the Bible and starting to practice what we profess to believe is the next step. While this can be beneficial it takes time, just like learning about your spouse and all the idiosyncrasies of your new relationship as a married couple.
Eventually, you settle into a groove – both as a believer and as a married person. Expectations are vocalized and we find ways to achieve our successes in ways that are sustainable while also deepening our relationship with one another.
Finally, we hit our stride and settle into a rhythm of growth and deepening relationships. That works in our marriages as well as our relationship with God. There is something comforting about opening the Bible and re-reading a familiar passage. Or coming home after a long tough day and finding comfort within the walls of our own place.
Some folks view the predictability of a well worn relationship as something negative but Janet and I have always loved and depended on the commitment and dedication we have to one another. So when we crossed the threshold of 50 years of marriage last week, I couldn’t help but think about the next 50 years and how different our first day of this next chapter was compared to the first time around.
We are committed to continue to grow – step by step and day by day. That means with each other as well as in our relationship with God. It’s comfortable and we know where the lanes are. It’s also more certain as we have been through the stages before and we know what to expect. There is a deep, mutual respect for each other that has grown for half a century, and then some.
Our verse for tonight comes from the Psalms. The psalmist offers a tender passage that we would be well served to heed. He tell us, in Psalm 143:8: Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love, for I have put my trust in you. Show me the way I should go, for to you I entrust my life.” In our case, both Janet have placed our trust in God and in each other.
My encouragement this evening is that there is a grand plan that requires trust and commitment in each of our lives – we were not created to be alone, but rather, to share ourselves with others. My prayer is that we may all experience longstanding relationships that have enriched our lives – both with God and with a significant other who shares the deepest secrets of our life together. Have a great day in the Lord, grace and peace…