I told a group of college students the other day that in March my wife and I would be celebrating our 25th wedding anniversary.
They looked back at me with faces painted with awe and disbelief. Some of their faces said, “Wow! He is REALLY old!” Other faces seemed to wonder how a relationship could actually last that long. There certainly aren’t many examples.
My heart grinned as I gazed on their looks. It was the same look I had on my face when I was a college student and someone said they had been married 50 years. Back then, people did not often live long enough for a marriage to celebrate 50 years. Today, most marriages do not last long enough to reach 50. That is how things have changed in our lifetimes; yesterday’s 50 is today’s 25.
We all know the divorce statistics. Most marriages simply do not endure.
This marriage that has lasted 25 years is the second marriage for both of us. We are painfully aware that love does not always endure. Sometimes death snatches a spouse away leaving behind unfulfilled dreams, the mortgage for a house and two hungry mouths to feed. It leaves with questions of why, of empty hearts and arms and of a hauntingly hollow existence.
Sometimes sin lures a spouse away. Bad choices make for bad paths; closed eyes inevitably become closed hearts. The fierce flames of divorce ravage the house of love leaving scattered debris and scarred hearts. Amidst the charred frames and damaged rubble are left shreds of insecurity, questions of adequacy, fears to ever want to build again.
Twenty-five years ago I was blessed to find an enduring love that is tender. It can be seen as she looks in the beaming eyes of her grandchild. It is evident when she stoops to look eyeball to eyeball with her first grade students. It is on display when she still grimaces at my humor, grins at our dreams, smiles at the lives of her children, laughs at the good times that have been shared.