In football, when you reach the 50 yard line you are halfway to the goal. In marriage, when you reach the 50-year mark, it means much more than that.
This month, John and I are celebrating our 50th year of marriage. Often someone will say, “I wish I had a marriage like yours. You guys have so much fun together.” My most common response is, “If you want a marriage like ours, you have to fight to get there!”
Believe me, John and I have had lots of fights along the way. Some of them lasted for weeks and were far from fun, but that is not really what I mean when I say that you have to fight to get there. The kind of fighting I am talking about is the kind that I Corinthians 13 talks about. It is the kind that perseveres when the going gets tough – because it definitely will.
It is the kind of love that is not easily angered and keeps no record of wrongs. Now there’s a big one! I am convinced that some of our fights lasted for weeks because we kept a large laundry list and when something happened, the entire list was brought out and brought up! Oh, that was SO not good…
Then, of course, there is the verse that says love always protects, always trusts, always hopes. Now there is a big order for you. I am afraid John often needed “protection” FROM me. “Trust” was often challenged and “hope” was frequently just a pipe dream.
So, if things in our marriage were that far from perfect – how did we ever make it to “50”? We fought for the marriage to survive. We decided early in our marriage that divorce was not an option… but murder was a possibility.
Unfortunately, murder carried with it terrible consequences – much worse than trying to work things out. Thus, we would fight through our anger, disappointments, disagreements, and tears – determined to work things out. Our favorite phrases were (and still are), “Lord, help me see _____ through your eyes” and “Lord, we don’t know how to handle this but you do. Change our hearts of stone to hearts of flesh and your will be done.” BIG HELP!!!
Please understand, there are some marriages where reconciliation is just not possible – or perhaps not wise. Please don’t feel any condemnation here. God’s mercies are new every morning for every one of us. This is simply my story.
So when you look at John and me – rejoice with us – but don’t envy us. I read somewhere, “If the grass looks greener on the other side, you can bet the water bill is higher.”
When our kids and grandkids heard that we were going to check Branson off our bucket list in celebration of our 50th, they all decided to come along. I guess it was definitely worth fighting for! And… we also realize that the 50 Yard Line is where a new game starts!