Thursday, July 30, 2009


May 30, 2009 - Don & Arnette

12We don't yet see things clearly. We're squinting in a fog, peering through a mist. But it won't be long before the weather clears and the sun shines bright! We'll see it all then, see it all as clearly as God sees us, knowing him directly just as he knows us! 13But for right now, until that completeness, we have three things to do to lead us toward that consummation: Trust steadily in God, hope unswervingly, love extravagantly. And the best of the three is love. I Corinthians 13:12-13

We celebrated the occasion – oh my, did we ever – in grand manner. First came our total surprise party which “the kids” had been planning since December along with dear friends. It was awesome, classy, filled with fun, food and people we love. We both cried and laughed and enjoyed a wonderful day. The second celebration which we knew about because we planned it was a weekend at the Grand Californian Hotel at Disneyland with ALL the big “kids” and grandkids. It turned out to be one of the most special family times ever, but I’ve written about that someplace else.

More than a few people have asked “What is it like to be married 50 years?”, and I had no immediate answer except to just shake my head, make a joke or pontificate which turned out sounding rather canned and preachy. Sadly, there are less and less marriages surviving, so it is a unique accomplishment to have reached the milestone of being wed to one person for so many years. After giving this matter considerable thought, here’s my version of what it feels like to be married 50 years to the same person. Yes, it was wonderful, yes it was not wonderful, it was boring, it was exciting, yes it was limiting, yes it was stretching, it was (and is) sweet to wake up beside each other to begin a new day. At times it seemed impossible to last another day --- but, “with God, all things are possible.” We made God a part of our marriage – I do believe it is the key to survivability in any relationship. For us it was a total gift of grace to each of us from Him.

Long ago we pledged our love to one another and promised to cling to one another “for better for worse, for richer for poorer, in sickness or in health, until death do we part” never even having an inkling of what would lie ahead for our marriage relationship. Except for the death part, we have experienced all that we promised – and we have clung to one another through it all.

During the 50 years, there is not much we were spared: health, severe illness, surgeries, mortgages, tears, laughter, struggles, economic setbacks, building a house, leaving that house to move across the country to a new and difficult situation, injustice, accidents etc. One does not live 70+ years and not have experienced a variety of life’s challenges. Two necessary ingredients in facing the difficulties were a sense of humor and an optimistic point of view.

Nothing matched the joy of the birth of each of our three children except perhaps to see the next generation in our beloved grandchildren. The pride we have felt with each of them and their spouses has been indescribable. Family is such an vital part of life—it is part of God’s design to give us happiness, completeness and purpose while teaching us how very much He loves and cares for us. Part of the maturing process has been clinging to one another through the joy and difficulties of family life while praying to make sense of the experiences, sometimes in the fullness of trust, sometimes in the agony of despair. Knowing God made the difference.

Our brothers and sisters in Christ were our best friends through the years as we laughed, cried, supported and loved one another. Life would be empty without these dear people who share a mutual goal of fulfilling His purpose. With them we looked for wisdom and guidance from God in each aspect of our lives; with them we experienced and shared the pain and discouragement along with the happiness and joy life dispensed. We are truly blessed to be a part of the family of God.

When I think about the 50 years of marriage, my heart is so full I can barely comprehend God’s goodness to us. As we have aged (not thinking it would ever happen), our relationship has become richer, more comfortable, more honest, more forgiving of one another’s short-comings – still far from perfect as we so naively envisioned. “Grow old along with me, the best is yet to be.” It is only after a multitude of years that we can in truth acknowledge the comfort and sweetness and yes, even the bitterness of having lived together and loved one another for 50 years. Tomorrow is uncertain as it always has been, but there is peace in knowing that He who has guided and sustained us will continue to be there for us. The King James version of I Corinthians 13 was read at our wedding and reread it at our 50th celebration from The Message paraphrase. It is God’s simple but profound take on how to love. The last verse is our prayer for us.

Trust steadily in God,hope unswervingly,
love extravagantly.
And the best of the three is love