As I mentioned a few weeks ago, Pete and I celebrated our anniversary last month. (Well, technically, we haven’t celebrated yet—he was out of town at the time, and now I’m somewhat incapacitated with an injured back. But we will be celebrating soon. I’m sure we will.)
In addition to the typical romantic dinner out, etc., we have a number of more unusual traditions that we enjoy when our anniversary comes around each year. We had a long distance relationship for our first year dating. This was before such conveniences as email, cell phones with free roaming, and the discovery of electricity. So we wrote letters and put them in envelopes and actually mailed them to one another. We still have those letters, and they’re fun to read and reminisce about how clueless we were back in the day.
Our 35th anniversary is in three days, on July 14. In those 35 years we’ve had long stretches where life seemed to just flow along—work, family time, kids, church—and other times when it felt as if we were wading through muck. But even when life is at its hardest, I love being married to Pete. If I had the choice all over again, I would marry him in a heartbeat. However, there are a few things I wish I had known before I said “I do.”
Lest you think I had some sort of unpleasant surprise once Pete and I moved in together, let me assure you that’s not the case. Oh, he has a few bad habits. He leaves sock lint on the carpet and apple cores in the car. He spends too much time helping other people, and not enough time spoiling me. And he puts ketchup on my homemade macaroni and cheese. But all in all, Pete is one terrific guy, and I’m blessed to have him.
The ugly things I learned as a newlywed weren’t about Pete at all. There were about me. You see, I’m not perfect. Continue reading
[Much appreciation to John Cowart over at Rabid Fun for the inspiration for this post.]
There has been a lot of talk about marriage lately. Most of the discussion (or shouting) has been directed to the possibility of gays getting married to someone of the same sex. I don’t hear nearly as much about the Biblical precedent for polygamy. Yet, it’s all over scripture.
I know that Genesis 2 talks about one man and one woman. Adam and Eve. But as quickly as Genesis 4, we’re reading about multiple wives: “Lamech married two women, one named Adah and the other Zillah.” No commentary. No judgment. It’s simply stated as fact.
Can you describe God’s perfect plan for marriage—or any relationship, for that matter? What is really important?
A quick Google search for “marriage compatibility quiz” turned up over a half-million hits. Many of the quizzes were quite silly, such as the “Love Calculator” that promises to predict how well your relationship will work based on your birth dates.
While I firmly believe that making decisions based on astrology is sinful (see my post on this topic), I don’t believe God has a problem with our poking a bit of fun, so I entered our birthdays and clicked the button. The results? Pete and I are “93% compatible.” (After 32 years of marriage, I could have guessed that.)
I love road trips, especially trips with no set schedule. There’s something about sitting in a car for mile after mile, watching the countryside slowly change from the ponderosas and short-grass prairies of home to Somewhere Else. I’m also a huge sucker for those brown signs erected by the Department of the Interior. Do the elk/bison/pronghorn know this is a “wildlife viewing area”? (I always turn off the road and go look, just in case.)
There’s nothing like a road trip for carving out time to connect with someone. It’s getting harder and harder to be out of touch, but in the middle of nowhere, there are no interruptions. Get far enough from civilization, and even the cell phones don’t work. This makes me very happy (unless the car breaks down, gets stuck in the mud, or runs out of gas).
Last week I asked for your opinions about engagements and betrothals. Is an engagement necessary? What does the Bible have to say on this topic? What benefits do we get from spending some time promised but not married? How long should the wait be, and why?
Several people commented that being engaged gives people time to seriously work through issues they had avoided until then. I agree—and thought of a few more things. Here is what I came up with on this subject.
It helps to realize that for the most part, God is silent on how long this waiting period needs to be. The Bible describes cultural norms that called for a period of time between a betrothal and actually living together. While Paul (who strongly urged believers to stay single for the sake of the Gospel) told the Corinthians that it’s better to marry than to burn with passion (1 Cor. 7:9), there are no instructions on the proper length of engagements (a modern construct) or betrothals.
So what are we to do? In our culture, most people are engaged for some period of time between making a decision to wed and actually making life-long vows. There are definite benefits we gain during this time.
Thursday is September 30, which just happens to be Pete’s and my “engage-a-versary.” Yup, thirty-two years ago this week, my husband and I got engaged. It didn’t quite go like in the movies. In fact, we more or less got engaged that day by accident.
Mind you, we were already planning to get married. We’d been talking about it since spring. Pete had even formally proposed that summer—in a field of wildflowers on the slopes of Washington’s Mt. Rainier. We had then asked my best friend if she’d be my maid of honor, as she was moving out of state and I wanted to talk to her in person. But the engagement wasn’t official, and we hadn’t talked to anyone else.
Wanting to honor his parents, Pete called to ask them for their advice—what sorts of things should we be considering in making this very important decision? He particularly wanted to give his dad a chance to express his opinion. His dad was noted for having strong opinions when his offspring were considering marriage.
A friend sent me a link to this article: “When Waiting is the Hardest Part of Waiting.”
Blogger Melanie (aka “Big Mama”) writes about coping with being single when you would much rather be married. She has done so with eloquence, humor, and great wisdom. I wish I had read this when I was waiting for my husband to come into my life. And now, even after thirty years of wedded bliss, it’s a great reminder that happiness and self-worth do not depend on one’s marital status. Read this and be encouraged.
Are you in love? In a serious relationship? Considering marriage? Dreams of white dresses and romantic honeymoons are plenty distracting. But don’t let your hormones run your life. It pays to work through some hard issues before making any permanent decisions.
I strongly recommend premarital counseling. It has been proven to increase both your marital happiness and the strength of your commitment to one another. But in addition to meeting with a pastor or taking a class at church, try investing some time working things through on your own.
Plenty of books, workbooks, and articles are available to give you a reality check on your connubial dreams. John Piper has written an outstanding list of questions to consider. I was so impressed, I had to post a link to it.
Working through this list will give you plenty to talk about and consider. Even after thirty years of wedded bliss (well, mostly), Pete and I still discuss many of these issues. Pick one or two and make an evening out of it. Sure beats watching reruns on the talking box.
“Journal of Family Psychology
Today is Pete’s and my wedding anniversary. We’re been married thirty years. That’s a long time—more than half our lives. Since we’re achieved such a milestone, we’re taking it upon ourselves to climb on the soap box and bestow some words of wisdom upon you all.