We’re approaching our 40th wedding anniversary next month
It’s so hard to wrap my head around…
40 years! More years together than apart. Life in all it’s joys and woes lived under the same roof with one person. Children born, raised and launched. Pets, furniture, houses, apartments, cars, cities and states navigated over the years with all the imagined upheavals attached.
It’s been a ride!
In November of 1981, Ronald Regan was president. The interest rate on a home loan was in the double digits. Minimum wage was less than $5.00 an hour and a new 2 bedroom apartment in Beaverton OR rented for $500 a month.
Ahhh the 80’s
My marital dreams were formed through patriarchal church culture, Christian romance novels, Disney fairy tales, romantic television, and Bride magazines. My mom was a stay at home wife and her most frequent marital advice to me was,
“Cinda, it’s just as easy to love a rich man as it is to love a poor one”
So with all of that input in my back pocket I launched myself into marriage with a fellow sinner and dreamed of the future.
Imagine my surprise when life didn’t go as anticipated!
It took God’s grace and his kindness to grow me into a fully functioning helpmeet. I’m relieved to say that I am not the person I was when I married Bruce 40 years ago. And I’m rejoicing that God is never done with me. He still has more for me to grow in, learn from and change into.
Transforming us into the image of his son is tough work
We come with a sin nature that insists on its own way, even going so far as to present it’s own way as God’s way at times.
“Me, my and mine” are often the mantras that I hear from married women when they are dissatisfied with their spouses. I get it. I lived it. I own that tee shirt. And it’s a tough thing to overcome, especially when it’s reinforced daily in the air we breathe. The secular world has become afflicted with the notion of ‘self-love’ to the extent that people will even damage their children’s lives in order to satisfy it.
The lessons I’ve learned are so opposite of self-love. They required laying all my dreams and expectations of marriage on the shelf, and allowing Jesus to show me what it means to really help and love my husband. And through that process I’ve received a more realistic and fulfilling life.
Of course, this works both ways! Bruce is a far kinder soul than I so he made it look easier, but I know that I wasn’t everything he dreamed I’d be. Beginning on our honeymoon when I didn’t want to sleep in his arms all night, (I’m really not touchy feely and he is). Continuing when he headed to the Circle K the day after, to pick up cold medicine, aspirin and Pepto-Bismal because I was ill.
The cashier complimented his new wedding band as he laid his purchases on the counter…
Bruce: “Thanks, I was married yesterday”
Cashier as he rings up his items: “Good luck”
One of the most fun parts of a long haul marriage are the stories you collect. You never tire of telling them to new people either! It helps if you have some colorful characters in your family tree – we have an abundance of them.
My current battle is trusting God with our health. After heart surgery and depression I’m on a tear to make us healthier. My sin nature is such a bother! It loves all the things that aren’t healthy, and dislikes the ones that are, i.e…veggies. It’s an hourly battle. And the enemy of my soul keeps inserting scenarios into my imagination that make me feel resigned to loosing my future. It doesn’t help that my body hurts and won’t do what I need it to do!
(Insert comment on aging, cuz I’m not gonna)
We bumped into a couple at a Panera once, who’d been married 70 years. We sat next to each other while having lunch and as we chatted they talked about making it last that long. The husband was 97 and his wife was 93. He said that every morning they get up and look at the calendar to see which medical appointment they have that day. Dr? PT? Tests? His wife was shushing him, and chuckling about it. But this thought came to mind,
They still had each other to go to their appointments with
I know that culture loves to say, “Life is short, grab all you can while you can”. But I gotta tell you, I disagree. Life is looonnng….and we can make it longer by not doing the work it takes to make our marriages everything God wants them to be.
And what is that you ask?
He wants them to be a picture of his love for mankind who he created in his image for his pleasure. A love that is constant, sacrificial, kind, merciful, grace filled, promise keeping, faithful, compassionate, slow to anger, keeping short accounts. Marriage is a shadow picture to a dying world of how God feels about those who commit to him and even those who don’t.
If Bruce and I are married for 70 years (God willing), we will be 92 and 95. People are living longer all the time because of modern medicine so it’s not entirely unthinkable that we’ll get there.
And who better to make it there with, than my very best friend, lover and keeper of my heart
That’s my definition of a Long Hauler