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Photo by John Thurman

46 Summers and She’s Still With Me

Marriage is tough, but well worth the effort!

A few weeks ago, I was talking with a group of young married couples, and one of them asked how many Summers Angie and I had together when I told them 46 they smiled and said things like: “That’s cute!” “Awesome!” “I wish my parents had stuck it out, your kids and grandsons are really fortunate.”

This Monday, 20 Aug, 2018, we celebrate 46 years of being married.

I many ways it is a miracle that we have made it.

I remember on our 25th anniversary, I asked Angie what she wanted for our 25th. She said, and I quote, “Either a divorce or marriage counseling!”

You see, I had swallowed the lie that so many of us in ministry and in the people helping profession believe. We can spend so much time and energy helping others that we have nothing left for spouses, kids, and other close relationships.

FYI, over the next several years we have continued to do intermittent counseling to keep our fingers on the pulse of our relationship and to keep each of us in check. In addition, we continue to be life-long learners, reading, listening to podcast, and occasionally speaking to couples in marriage workshops.

Angie’s statement cut me to the quick. Within ten days we were in the middle of a two-day intensive with Dr. Bruce Walker who at that time had a practice in Texas, which focused on helping troubled couples. We are grateful for the time we had with this, as it was a huge game changer.

In all of these years, we have experienced all the seasons a couple can experience. There have been Summers of growth, abundance, joy, and love. There have been Winters of loneliness, doubt, withdrawal, pain, loss of family members, and detachment. There have been Springs of discovery, excitement, anticipations, and renewal. And there have been Falls when we have celebrated the Springs and Summers, gathered the fruit of those times and basked in the work that God continues to do in our lives.

Marriage is tough, but we have remained faithful to both the Lord, each other and the vows that we made.

You see, I have made two vows in my life, one to love, honor, and cherish my wife in sickness and in health, for richer, for poorer, and forsaking all others. I did this one in front of her, our families, and the Lord. (Vows that many couples only say, but based on the current divorce rates, don’t really believe.)

The second vow as when I raised my right hand in 1977 and made a vow to protect and defend the Constitution against all enemies both foreign and domestic, as an officer in the United States Army.

Two vows that I meant the day I took them, and as a young man in my 60’s I am thankful to the Lord that I made them.

A few years ago someone asked my wife, Angie, the secret of being married for such a long time. I loved her every day, straight-forward approach. “We never quit on the same day. John could quit on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays and I could quit Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays. Depending on which church we go to, Saturday or Sunday we tell Jesus how we messed it up this week and miraculously he forgives us and gives us the grace to make it another week.

In all seriousness, marriage is tough, but with a commitment to the Lord, keeping the vows you made and continue to be teachable, have connections with others, and have an open mind I promise you that you can have a long, rewarding relationship.

Angie and I love each other more today than ever! Is it always beautiful, romantic, and passionate? Because we are human, the answer is yes and no. Somedays it is, some days, it isn’t. Because that is life.

If your marriage isn’t where you think it should be, don’t blame your spouse, look in the mirror, read some books, listen to some helpful podcast, hey and maybe even find a good counselor.

Do what you can do to make your marriage last. If I can help, let me know.

Thank you for taking a moment to let me share my story.

Here are some marriage resources for you.

John Rampton’s article: 16 Signs You Married the Right Person. Check out #12

Bounce Back: The Secret to Building Resilience in Your Marriage

Check out my blog

Written by

Counselor, Disaster Mental Health Specialist, Speaker, Crisis Response Consultant, photographer, spouse and grandpa. Retired Army Chaplain

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