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Ode To My Wife of 53 Years
"Grow old along with me! The best is yet to be..."
“Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.” Ephesians 4:2 NIV
53 years is a lot of years! This scripture verse reminded me of our marriage. I won’t overly romanticize our relationship just because it has lasted this long. I know that neither of us have been COMPLETELY humble, gentle or patient 100% of the time. We are a fully human, fallible couple. But as great as you are, Sheila (and that is pretty GREAT!), it has taken a lot of “bearing with one another in love” to make it to our 53th wedding anniversary. The key to a long marriage, as I’m often asked, is taking that commandment seriously. I mean that sincerely!
Until I sat down to write this post, I hadn’t fully grasped the generational example of long marriages we are privileged to have. Not one divorce in either of our parents, grandparents, or great grandparents. How rare and wonderful! Each year that passes the more I realize the blessing of being raised in a home by parents who loved God, each other and us.
I still can’t believe how God has blessed our life together. We grew up together and have been friends since we were teenagers. That shared heritage makes the joining of our two lives together as one that much sweeter. And what a gift that life together continues to be!
Sheila, your single-minded devotion to faith and family taught our daughters what it meant to be Christian wives and mothers. I have no illusions about what it is like being married to me. I am not an easy person to live with. For one thing I process information internally for a long time and then blurt out some life-changing decision I’ve come to. So you can be forgiven for losing your cool with me occasionally. Of course I never lose my cool with you (married readers will recognize this as selective amnesia but for my unmarried readers let me state for the record that I am the record holder in our marriage for the spouse most likely to lose their cool). At any rate we seldom stay angry for more than a few minutes. Ok, we occasionally stay angry for a few hours but almost never more than a day or two
Up until bad health and pandemic prevented it we continued to go on dates. Although that is difficult these days we find other ways to show our affection for one another and I still prefer your company to any others. Your love for me and our family makes it easy for me to continue to “rejoice in the wife of your youth.”(5:18). I made a lot of mistakes during the two years we broke up after high school, and I could easily have ended up in the wrong marriage, but my parent’s prayers were answered, I came to my senses and realized you, indeed, are the love of my life. I am blessed to share life with one who truly loves me, even when it is not easy or convenient . Your unconditional love makes it easy for me to love you unconditionally. Thank you, Sheila!
You are not only a great wife and mother but you are blessed with a servant’s heart. Those who get to know you invariable consider your friendship a blessing. You sacrificially served our children faithfully and now you pray for them and our grandsons fervently. I have been the beneficiary of your servant’s heart more than anyone. For 53 years you have cooked my meals, mended my clothes and been my nurse when I’m sick.
We work well together, too. We have planted, worked and harvested gardens together. We have ministered to others side by side. Even when not working together you have enabled me by believing in me and championing me even during the dark nights of the soul I have endured.
Your most enduring quality is that you are a woman of prayer. You faithfully pray for me, our children, our grandchildren and for so many others. I am not the prayer warrior you are, but you are the model I try to emulate – and my prayer life is better because of it.
We both strive to put God first, and each other second. And that, I believe, is why we are today celebrating the momentous milestone of our 53rd wedding anniversary.
I love you, Sheila! Happy Anniversary!
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