The Marriage Formula
As Denny and I celebrated forty-seven years of marriage last week, so many thoughts and stories were shared between us. We looked at our wedding album together and asked, “ Who is that slim and dark haired couple?”
Clarifying time with its mathematical progression has turned us into the elder Barons. Time is trickery. We thought when holding a sick, crying infant in the night, each hour was an eternity of agony. Waiting two and half years for John’s healing seemed like forever. We learned faith as God healed him. Staying seven months in bed to save Adam in the womb taught me God’s presence, and Denny to be a server, a caregiver , and accepted Christ as his Savior. Our marriage took on a new perspective as we tried to keep Jesus the center of our decisions and plans.
Our marriage has shaped us into different people yet retained our personality and passions that attracted us. God intended marriage to be the vessel to make us more like Him. We were the tools that refined each other. Sometimes a knife sharp comment would break communication for a couple of days. Other times seeing the other mate cry softened our heart for months. Our life began to take on a rhythm of trust and appreciation. However, this did not come without battles, tears, and a lot of making up.
Marriage is an endurance contest to reach a fulfilled goal. Every day is different and a new lesson in how to love and give grace. No wonder long marriages are becoming more rare. Perseverance is part of the formula. In 1967 no one discussed the laws and gambles of marriage. We just fell in love and thought we would be happy ever after with the honeymoon glow thrown in for life. Defining happy has taken many dictionaries through the years. One day we realized we couldn’t make the other person happy. That was their choice. Another year we learned that looking away when the other mate acted stupid and egotistical and looking back when they acted normal was a key to successful marriage. We understood early that parenting was a couple-thing, and we must always present a unified front to the boys. Experiencing teaching every day, rearing children, and attending all their activities was exhausting. Then added to that schedule was the care of our ailing parents, both of us holding second jobs several times in our marriage ,and volunteering in the Young Life ministry for twenty plus years. These activities changed our focus and created giving and compassionate spouses.
The boys have become men of integrity and hard workers. John and Christine are now making those “parental” decisions. We enjoy watching them parent, discipline, motivate, and love their girls. It seems they have learned in fifteen years what it has taken Denny and I over forty years to understand.
In retirement we have learned all those years of sacrifice and putting up with our mates's “druthers” has been worth it. We have learned to love better, be less concerned about a misplaced comment, and laugh at ourselves. We spend many days accusing “somebody” of not putting something back in its place, locking a door, or some other task like putting the wash in the dryer. The"somebody” makes us aware but not angry. No longer is it important to be right or do we feel wrong is threatening to our egos. Well, at least most of the time that is true. Time has knocked off most of our gnarly edges and our memories represent artful forgery. It is good to remember the best and filter out the discord.
These years together have refined us and polished our hearts and souls together. I am feeling very blessed that our marriage is like an old sweatshirt. We are comfortable even when we have wrinkles and sags. We earned them together, and I am grateful for the ups, downs, turn a rounds, hand holding, hugs, silly smug smiles, and hysterical laughter at our mishaps. These are privileged memories that walk us to the door of old age. I sure wish we knew these things forty-seven years ago because those early years would have been so much easier. However, I realize it is now we need smooth paths and understanding, so I guess the marriage formula does work as God designed.