Our 20th wedding anniversary is just around the corner and it has me in a reflective mood. It’s hard to believe it’s been that long.
On our wedding day (like every newlywed) we knew very little about marriage in the real world. We read a book or two before the wedding date and underwent a few premarital counseling sessions, but there’s nothing quite like experience.
So I’d like to offer a few posts along these lines. Let’s call it, 20 Lessons Learned After 20 Years of Marriage. These are straight from the heart, or better stated, straight from the heart of experience; and they’re in no particular order.
Oh, and don’t worry. I’m not going to try cover all 20 in one post. Let’s start with 3 and see how we’re doing.
1. Love always demands a sacrifice. One of our favorite movies is Good Will Hunting. If you’ve seen it, then you remember the scene where Sean (Robin Williams) tells Will (Matt Damon) the story of how he met his wife in a bar in Boston in 1975. But the catch was that Sean gave up his ticket to game 6 of the World Series to go see about a girl. Game 6 ended up being one of the most historic games of all time, but it didn’t matter to Sean because she was a stunner. The movie ends with Will doing the very same thing by driving to California to pursue his relationship with Skylar, and he leaves a note in Sean’s mailbox that read, “I gotta’ go see about a girl.”
That’s what it was like for me. In 1994 I was living in Pennsylvania and Debbie was living in Indiana. We were in our 5th year of a long-distance relationship when I finally cracked and said, I gotta’ go see about a girl. I proposed to her, quit my job, moved to Indiana, married her the following year, and the rest is history. It was bold, risky, and sacrificial; and I have never, ever, regretted it. The right person is worth every sacrifice.
A Scripture that comes to mind is Ephesians 5:25. “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her.”
2. Sweeter and sweeter love grows. That’s a line from a wonderful duet by the late Luther Vandross and Beyonce’ entitled, The Closer I Get to You (originally performed by Roberta Flack and Donny Hathaway in 1978). It’s a line that runs contrary to the popular belief that marriage is the eventual death of everything good in a relationship – romance, friendship, sex, love, passion, etc. But I’ve been pleasantly surprised at how all the naysayers are dead wrong. After 20 years of marriage, everything is better…and love does grow.
A Scripture that comes to mind is Philippians 1:9. “This is my prayer for you: that your love will grow more and more.”
3. Friendship is the greatest gift of all. I had no idea on August 5th, 1995 that God was giving me the best friend I would ever have. To be honest, I was really looking forward to the sex part of our marriage, and I expected IT to be the greatest gift of all; however, over the years I’ve learned that a good friend is hard to come by in this world, and a BEST friend is even harder.
Becoming intimate friends with Debbie is a huge bonus I just wasn’t expecting. Don’t get me wrong. I’m a fan of the sexual part of our relationship. A big fan. And I’ll talk about that in a later post in this series. My point here is that we had no idea that our friendship would be so foundational to our marriage.
A Scripture that comes to mind is Proverbs 17:17. “A friend loves at all times.”
So there’s the first three. Remember, these are not in order of importance. If I did it that way I would agonize over the order and never get it done!
What about you? What would you add to the list? Feel free to comment below.