I want to take advantage of this special day to introduce you to my hubby . . . Russell is patient and kind. He does not envy, he does not boast, he is not proud. He does not dishonor others, he is not self-seeking, he is not easily angered, he keeps no record of wrongs. He does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. He always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Russ never fails.
Okay, I admit it; I plagiarized. I kind of stole Paul’s definition of love from 1 Corinthians 13. Before you gag and say, “No man is all that,” you’re right. But Russell comes pretty darn close. Does he have faults? Sure, but I’ll save those for another day. If there’s one thing I’ve learned through 22 years of marriage, it’s that we have to concentrate on the positive and overlook the little flaws. The good Lord knows I have more than my share of those (flaws, of course).
So what’s the secret to being happily married for more than 20 years? I don't have a clue. And I’m sure Russell would say he doesn’t either. You see, not all those years were happy. Although we were both raised in Christian homes and married knowing we were in the center of God’s will, there have been times when I wanted to drive an ice pick clear through his skull. Thankfully, God provided the much needed self-control. (After all, my children really do need their father.) To be fair, I’m quite sure there have been hundreds of times when he wished he had a magic wand to change something about me that was bugging his eye balls out. (Notice his fantasies aren’t as violent as mine. I had an ice-pick while he had a wand).
Seriously, we had a string of years (not weeks or months, mind you) when I think we could have both checked out. But by the grace of God . . . And honestly, I think that’s what has kept us, God’s grace. The other things: patience, kindness, self-sacrifice, forgiving and forgetting.
Just a word of encouragement for those who are just embarking on the adventure of marriage, (I have to credit this to my sister-in-law, Kathy, who told me this way back in 1998), “If you give up too early, you won’t be able to reap the benefits and rewards of enduring through these trials.” She went on to say some other wise things about how maturing and getting our priorities straight often take years. That’s what the commitment of marriage is all about. So young married people, don’t check out too early. You’ll be sacrificing the golden years when you and your hubby finally get it right.
By the way, I’ve had the privilege of being with many couples as their marriage came to an end through no choice of their own. They stayed the course “until death do we part.” And I can tell you that none of them said, “We were blissfully happy all of our married years.” No, what I typically hear is “We’ve had our trials, up and downs, good years and bad years, but in the end, it was all worth it.”
So today, I say thank you to my soul-mate, I can’t remember the last time I saw an ice-pick and thought of you. (I think I’ll submit that to Hallmark for a card . . . so romantic.) Kathy was right, it was worth the tough years to make it to where we are. God has molded you into the true definition of love and I am truly blessed.
To all the readers in cyber-land, I hope your V-Day is filled with love, laughter and memories to last a lifetime.