Feature image is of one of our early attempts to replicate our wedding cake. It was a much scaled down version.
Somewhat the worse for wear, but we have made it. We have experienced, often enjoyed, sometimes survived (barely), and definitely been blessed by, fifty years of covenant marriage. Our covenant was with each other and with God. God’s part was, and still is, HUGE.
Back in 1973 we had no idea how different we were, in temperament, in interests, in long term goals, in relationship language. We were in college where our similarities were highlighted. We liked music, we actually went running together, we took time for dating, we had few responsibilities except to do well in school. We each had spent time in higher education – Dennis already had his PhD in Physics, I was part way through nursing school. At this point we both were aware that we were looking for a marriage partner. We were realizing that our growing relationships with God were making it hard to find people we were comfortable with. I have always thought that was the reason God brought us together. That desire to share a serious faith in God was at the top of the priority list. In that, we were well matched.
So, for each of us, God helped the finding, the deciding, and the living it out. These years have shown us how we differ, for sure. I have often wondered why God thought we could make it, but he knew things we didn’t and was willing to help us, change us and grow us.
The man God chose for me is a very unusual and interesting person. Because of who he has been I have never worried about infidelity, being impoverished, never been threatened by addictions (unless you count addiction to work), never dealt with meanness or deliberate selfishness. During tough times I knew that we were both counting on God to teach us and help us through. God was always pointing out options, and none of them were ever divorce. I am so grateful.
Today I am not sure this husband of mine knows it is our anniversary, our 50th. He is severely disabled and at home with me, in hospice care. How hard this must be for him, and yet he is uncomplaining. He still exhibits his love for God, for music, even for me. He doesn’t remember much about where he is or what has happened to him, but he remembers who to call out for when he’s confused. I remind him he can still talk to God even when that’s all he can do. I tell him that we are not in China (and have never been), that we are in Wisconsin, that our condo is a safe, pleasant place, that the living room is now his bedroom because his hospital bed doesn’t fit anywhere else. He says okay and for a while he is fine with all that. He says that if I will turn off the tv and the lights he will go to sleep, and puckers up for a kiss.
A couple months ago I told him he had to stick around until January 14th, so as not to cheat me out of saying I had been married 50 years. I was uncertain he would make it. This morning we have spent precious minutes going over that day 50 years ago. He remembers the snow falling and who was his best man. Today his memory is clear, maybe better than mine. Funny how that works. Happy anniversary husband. Happy anniversary to us. We made it.
Just realized I went through this whole post without mentioning the word “love”. How crazy is that? Love you husband.
11 thoughts on “We Made It”
Happy 50th Anniversary, Shirley & Dennis! I loved seeing all the photos, and I especially liked your wedding pose. The message of this post is deeply touching to me. I think your words bring out so well what true love is (even though you didn’t use the word love much!), reflecting the heart of God in action. You two keep on providing a good example for us young(er) ones to safely follow. Thank you!
Happy 50th Anniversary! That is truly a blessing and not a milestone that many make it to! Bless you today and always.
Thank you for the kind words and blessing.
I loved your 50th Anniversary post … and your darling wedding picture!
Congratulations and happy anniversary!
Ron & I have 2 years to go until our 50th.
It seems a bit unreal, doesn’t it? This passage of time.
Congratulations on 50 years of marriage. I am sorry your husband is in hospice care though. XO
Compassion appreciated. Thanks.
Shirley and Dennis! A huge congratulations to you both! You have lived what marriage is all about — promising to love the other through all the challenges of life! God brought you together and has kept you together! I so remember when you two were dating and you were working in the Home Ec. Dept in Big Sandy. It was obvious you had something special together — and now, 50 years later you still have that “something special!” I’m sorry for your current suffering but I rejoice with you in celebrating your milestone today! Becky
Thank you, Becky! I have such good memories of the time with you in Home Ec…
Happy 50th Anniversary to you both – congratulations! ❤
Thank you Ruth!