Birthdays and anniversaries are times for rejoicing in our family, but also times for reflection. How have we or I changed in the year that is past? What am I doing better? What am I doing less? How have the years behind me given me wisdom for the year ahead?
As I reflect on being married for 48 years, I can’t help but be a bit surprised that we’re at this point in our marriage. I can recall dreading reaching the forties in age, never even thinking ahead enough to know I’d be married for 48 years. Yes, as a math teacher, I see that it rounds to 50. What? 50 is that close?
No. People who have been married this long are little blue-haired ladies and bald men using canes for support as they walk. Steve still walks three miles most days and works out at the YMCA. I walk or go to Curves for exercise. We hike with our children and grandchildren. We go on mission trips to unknown places. Surely I’ve miscalculated. I must be 48 myself—not married that long.
Okay—so I’m running it in the ground. But after I casually put our picture on Facebook, people’s comments surprised me. Us? Models of marriage? Not really. Maybe we’re just good at keeping to ourselves the challenges we’ve faced to get us here. I think my favorite comment was from Debbie Dobkins: “You look like two puzzle pieces that fit together perfectly.”
I think she was commenting on the way we were standing, but that also works to describe a good marriage. We’re not the same—not the same ideas, or feelings, or actions, many times—but we fit together, each having a role that works with the role of the other. Whether we’re driving each other crazy or loving each other passionately, we never doubt that we fit together and always will.
And we can never go wrong by connecting with God’s Word: The man said, “This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called ‘woman,’ for she was taken out of man.” That is why a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife, and they become one flesh (Genesis 2:23-24.)