You know, I sometimes find it hard to believe I’m over thirty years old… but it’s harder for me to fathom thirty years of marriage. And, in many ways, it feels like we’re just beginning. So… now we’ve sure been reminiscing. Thirty years… February 4, 1978.
I think over then next few days I’ll write a little bit about marriage and what thirty years has taught me. I’ve loved being married. I’ve loved being married to the man I’m married to. You know, lately I’ve been thinking of so many things… I smile as I think that in many ways, he’s not the same man I married. The man I married was not my lifelong companion, my fully and completely trusted friend, my safe harbour in the storms of life. The man I married was not the father of eleven children… he hadn’t been proven, tested, strengthened, beaten down, bold to start over again and again. The man I married was invincible and I’m sure I thought he’d never get old, never get sick, never get tired and never fail. The man I married was adventuresome and he was charming, delightful and thought I was everything.
At the time, I was far from thirty. I was, by any standard, a very inexperienced and often foolish girl. I didn’t know… well, let’s just say that, looking back now, I didn’t know much about anything.
True story: one day, shortly after we were married, I went shopping and bought groceries. Lots of groceries. I recall that I spent $176. Yep, lots of groceries. There were just the t-w-o of us in our one bedroom-upstairs apartment. I have no idea now how I could’ve purchased all those groceries for t-w-o people. But I did. I was from a very small family – just three of us, by the way, and I, myself, was very small and didn’t eat much. So, the groceries…
Well, I got them all put away and it must have been just a short time later that I proceeded to make the dinner. I call it ‘the dinner’ bcz I fixed fried chicken, mashed potatoes and gravy, peas and carrots, salad, rolls and a blueberry pie. That’s what was in the picture in my cookbook. I loved my kitchen and my new cookbooks — my new world. Wes hardly said a word all through dinner… just kept smiling and eating. He’d look around the table at all the place settings I had set out (because I thought the dishes looked so pretty) and he’d smile at me and keep on eating. At the end of the meal, still holding my hand, he said that was the best meal he’d ever eaten. (btw – I *never* make that meal anymore)
Well, anyway, another day, in the early months, I decided to bake an apple pie. Hmmmm. Pare and core. Hmmmm. What does that mean? So, I called my husband at work (I know, I cannot believe it either) to ask him what does it mean to pare and core the apples? Is that peeling them and cutting them up? Yes, he says, I think that’s it! So, I asked him, then why didn’t they just write: Peel and core? O, I see… the paring is the peeling and slicing process. Okay.
I’m sure it’s the best pie I ever made – truly. That’s what he told me. And I still believe him. 🙂
The man I married didn’t have a whole lot of worries, concerns or responsibilities – O, I think they were there, but there were really few things that ever concerned him. I’d never seen him weep. I’d never seen him disappointed. I’d never seen him sad or weary. Thirty years has some sorrows. Thirty years has some disappointments. Thirty years has a bunch of memories – so many, many memories. Thirty years is to me now a very, very long journey with lots of hills and valleys, beautiful sunrises, full moons and leaves falling. Thirty years sees lots of blooms, hopes and dreams and lots of stormy days, but enough sunny days to warm the heart and the skin on your shoulders. Sunny days, soft breezes…thirty years sees lots of answers to prayer, lots of ways the LORD went before and provided and guided the path. Thirty years… watching children grow and go; kneeling beside our bed in prayer, walking the floor with fussy babies, standing beside cribs to just watch. Thirty years of watching and waiting, praying and hoping. Thirty years around the table… at bedsides, and fevers, soft baths and fluffy towels, streams in the deserts, steep hills and rocks on the path… soft rain on roses.
On the night we were married, I recall him looking into my eyes and I thought at that moment I could never love him more. But I also know now, that I didn’t really know what love — true love — was. I had not yet really seen the Hand of the LORD, I had not understood the provision of God – and didn’t know what it was to have a marriage as a picture of Christ and the church. I now know that I didn’t have any idea the blessing in store in the gift of my husband. I had not yet seen him tenderly caring for my every need, immersed in the moment, looking into my eyes, helping me through contraction after contraction, baby after baby… each time overwhelmed with love and gratitude looking into the face of each newborn baby and then over at me. He wept over those babies… and sometimes still does, even though they’re far from those days now.
I didn’t know the man I married would still be saying to me nearly every single morning, in answer to: how’d you sleep? Fine, I got to sleep next to you, didn’t I? And you know… after he had a heart attack and was still in the hospital and I slept in our bed alone, when I awoke, it wasn’t that I felt it was so hard to sleep alone, but it was hard to wake up alone. My heart is tender for those who are waking up alone today. The bittersweets of life.
I never thought we’d be thirty… but I sure am glad… and I wouldn’t trade a single day away for anything, anyone, anywhere in the world.