When you're a month shy of 21, the idea of being married for 25 years is almost inconceivable. Well, maybe not inconceivable . . . but it sounds like a long, long time. Like a lifetime. Because it is, when you're a month shy of 21.
Once you hit that 25-year mark, it doesn't seem like it should have ever felt so inconceivable. It even feels like something you can aim for one more time. But it still seems like a long, long time. It's kind of hard, some days, to remember what it was like to not be married; it's so much a part of who I am.
Hubby and I have done SO MUCH in the past twenty-five years, it seems. Since we said “I do”, we've completed three college degrees between us, lived in eight different cities (five different states), and between the two of us, worked full-time jobs for seven different employers (not even counting the short-term work we did here and there).We had two children who are now nearly raised – and we even started the parenting thing relatively late in our marriage. We've been members of five different churches and regular short-term attenders at more. Hubby has played on innumerable softball and basketball teams. I've performed in innumerable music and drama productions. We have friends all over the country.
Wow. It's been a rich life.
It's been a hard life sometimes. Marriage is not easy. There were ugly times -- a lot of them. “Love will keep us together” is a lie. Hard work and sacrifice and sometimes pure stubbornness – and above all, the grace of God – is what keeps us together, because love (at least love as you know it when you're a month shy of 21) comes and goes. You need to love someone before you marry them, but I think you have to be married for a while before you learn how to Love someone, with a capital L, the Love that matters.
And even then, there's no guarantee. Although I've known couples who loved intensely until the end, I've probably known more who have limped into their final years, hanging together just out of habit, or obligation, or convenience, or fear of the unknown.
Lord, save us from that fate. Please. Teach us how to Love . . . with Your Love . . . until the very end.
Happy anniversary, honey. Here's to Loving forever and Loving well . . . until the very end.