Saturday, August 10, 2013

Happy 35th anniversary, my love

For the past three and a half years, our married sons and their wives have been filling the quivers. Ari born on New Years Day, 2010. Ashlyn in 2011, Lily in 2012, and now two baby boys: Noah was born in May and Mark and Jill's son due in just a few weeks. We're crazy blessed and thankful!
Last November in Virginia ... this photo already outdated!

On the other end of life, our two surviving parents are declining significantly. They occupy a good part of our thoughts and attention. We definitely feel that sandwich generation label.

There's really no secret to staying married this long. God should come first. He thought up marriage and has the corner on it. Then my husband, children and self. I also think a healthy dose of common sense got us this far. I often wonder why somewhere around 50% of American marriages go off track.

No relationship, no marriage will ever be perfect because no person is perfect. I know I do things that bug Bill. And he can push my buttons. The culture says "my happiness first," telling us to please ourselves above all else. Problem is, won't there be faults with the next spouse, too? At those times when my husband was driving me bonkers, I kept in mind that I will never find the perfect husband so I may as well stick with the first one who is pretty great. Not saying subsequent marriages can't work, but it seems so many people believe the grass will be better in another pasture so off they trot. If our pasture was parched, I guess I just waited until the next hour, or day, or season when a fresh rain fell and the grass grew tasty again.

I think marriage is a lot like a relationship with God. Satisfaction isn't *poof* guaranteed after the wedding. That is when the work begins. It was when I began to learn that to make this work, I'd have to die to self a whole lot. I'd have to listen even if I knew I was right. (ha!) I'd have to consider the preferences of my husband, and apologize when I wronged him. I'd have to let little stuff go and realize that most things are little in the big picture. I mention God because it's a perfect parallel. As in marriage, my walk with God has taken work, too. When I work at learning who God is and how to please him, our relationship intensifies and is sweeter.

I don't mean to get all analytical with marriage and dampen the celebration of this anniversary. But younger people do ask, "what's your secret?" I just want to say there's no secret, no magic formula. We live in a microwave society, but a lasting marriage takes time, thoughtfulness, commitment to the one you love, hard work and at times incredible patience.

When I first married, my father gave me one piece of advice. "Making marriage work isn't 50/50 effort. Sometimes it's 60/40 or 100/0. Try to give more than your share. Don't try to keep it even because it won't be." I think Dad gave excellent advice.                   

I'm not always a selfless giver. But I love you, Bill, and am overwhelmed by the blessings of these 35 years. Here's to many more!

Due to distance and the kids' jobs, we all get to gather about once a year.
November 2012

1 comment:

Bonnie Hudson said...

Well, said, Barb. Again, happy anniversary and blessings to you both. Bonnie & Bob