Today, Rhonda and I celebrate twenty-five years of married life. We have no grand plans for the day, but we are hoping to have a quiet dinner together. We feel gratitude in many ways to have reached this milestone. I think we’ve had a good marriage and it has brought both of us a lot of happiness. As I was reflecting on our life together so far, I thought about why we have been able to make our marriage a good one. Here are a few of my thoughts:
We had good role models. We were fortunate to have good examples while we were growing up. Our parents – both sets now married for 53 years – showed their commitment and love day in and day out. They weren’t perfect people, but they modeled kindness, persistence, Christian love and patience in their relationship with each other. Rhonda and I learned early on that marriage is for life and you work out your problems together.
We had good teaching. The environment in which we were raised taught us to value marriage and family. Our local churches believed that marriage was an institution founded by God. While not everyone will marry, those who do marry enter into a sacred bond. God needs to be at the center of a marriage relationship. Our perspective on marriage was shaped by biblical values and didn’t view marriage as a consumer product or simple economic transaction. In addition, we had good marriage counselling prior to the wedding that helped us prepare for life together.
We took our vows seriously. When the minister asked Rhonda to repeat, “I promise to be a good wife”, she said, “I promise to be a GREAT wife!” She meant it and she has kept that promise. (By the way, I only promised to be a good husband.) We understood that the marriage commitment would have to go beyond our feelings. At times, we have needed to remind ourselves of that. Every couple has their unique challenges, and we understood that just because we had some rough days, that wasn’t reason enough to quit.
We really love each other. You learn a lot about Christian discipleship through marriage and becoming a parent. You learn self-sacrifice – what it means to put someone else first. You can’t do that if you don’t really love them. We are still in the important middle of our marriage years. We are raising teenagers and launching young adults. Taking time for each other can be challenging. We still like a quiet evening at home, a walk along the river, a weekend away or just a coffee together. At the end of the day, there is no one I want to be with more than Rhonda.
As we celebrate 25 years, we know that we have been richly blessed. Who would have thought that we’d have 4 children and live in 3 different countries? It’s been a journey that we have done together – and for that, we are grateful. We’re looking forward to another 25!