30 Years of Us

CHRISTM

 

This weekend we will celebrate 30 years of marriage.

30 years makes us sound really old, but we sure don’t feel old.

30 years is quite an accomplishment in this day and age of disposable everything.

30 years of marriage has been the single greatest accomplishment of my life.

And a 30-year long thriving marriage kind of gives you a platform to share with others how it’s done, in ways similar to how freely the elderly can offer up sage advice to anyone willing to listen. So I’m going to do just that ~ share with my readers some of my tips to a lasting marriage.

R-E-S-P-E-C-T

Aretha Franklin had it going on when she broke out with her hit song. Because a man’s #1 need is for respect. Whether we know it or not, we as wives hold an incredible amount of power to either build our husbands up, or tear them down. Early on, I chose to build him up. It’s what was modeled to me in my home, and it’s what I knew to be right from teaching I’d received, but I found it more difficult to do than I thought it would be. Once I figured the reason for my difficulty, I made the decision to be intentional about treating him with respect. When we first got married, Mike was #50 for the Chicago Bears, well on his way to Hall of Fame status and receiving accolades and praise at every turn. Except when he got home. I figured the fact that the media hung on his every word, his teammates respected his leadership, and his family worshipped and adored him, then I needed to be the one to keep him grounded. I was wrong. The value of the media, his teammates and his family’s opinions didn’t come close to the importance of my words and actions. Making that adjustment in our early years deepened our relationship immensely.

To The Core

Whether we received marital advice from older couples we knew and respected, or written on strips of paper and placed in a decorated basket at my bridal shower, one theme was universal: we will face problems. As many times as I heard it, though, I still didn’t really believe it. Like many naive brides, I figured our love was stronger than just about anybody else’s, therefore we probably wouldn’t have the trouble that most everyone else seemed to be having. So, about 20 minutes into the honeymoon I realized everyone may have been right. Our cultural differences, our family of origin dynamics, the kids we would soon have, and the fact that we were two uniquely different human beings was the breeding ground for all kinds of issues. But what single-handedly sustained us through it all was that our core values were the same. Both of us decided to be rooted and grounded in our faith in God and desired to live in a way that brought honor to Him. With that, we were able to weather each and every storm ~ and there have been some near hurricanes in 30 years ~ like champions who emerged better and stronger for having gone through them.

Self Talk

‘They’ say that opposites attract (have we figured out who ‘they’ are yet??) And that describes our relationship, too. When we first got married, he was the confidence to my insecurity; he was loud and expressive while I was more quiet and more introverted; he wouldn’t take no for an answer and I figured the answer was no before I even asked the question. But one of our greatest differences was our thought processes. His thoughts looked like a bowl of spaghetti: fragmented, twisting, winding and difficult to find the end. My thoughts were much more linear and logic-based. His had far more emotion and passion. I always tried to appreciate his creativity and all that he brought to every discussion; I couldn’t always follow it, but I certainly tried. And because he was so engrossed in football nine months of the year, I only had about three months to work at understanding him. But instead of trying to understand him, I threw everything in a ‘he drives me crazy’ basket. I said that about everything we didn’t see eye-to-eye on which, over time, began to add up. Several years into his retirement from playing football, I recognized the need to stop saying that. Stop saying ‘he drives me crazy.’ Just stop it. And I made the decision to appreciate his thought process; afterall, half our kids were just like him! Once I actively appreciated him, my capacity for patience and understanding grew for the kids, too.

Now that we have the internet, Facebook, Pinterest and a plethera of other resources for quippy motivational sayings, we run the risk of cheapening the depth of their meaning. I wish I could convey the importance of the highlighted words in this post. For love is a decision. It’s far more than a feeling, in fact sometimes there’s no feeling at all until you make a decision. It isn’t self-seeking, but true love returns more than you could possibly give. Love is the greatest force in the universe, and it’s a privilege to reap the harvest of what we’ve sown into each other for so long. Love is precious, but it’s value can be so easily overlooked, even thrown away before discovering it.

So, happy anniversary to us! My greatest desire is for more people to unlock the treasure of loving and being loved. First and foremost by God Himself. But then to have God give you the gift of someone to cherish and who cherishes you in return is just a little slice of heaven on earth.

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Comments

  1. Grady Singletary Portis says:

    Congratulations 30 years

  2. Paul Braoudakis says:

    Kim, this was an amazing post. Thanks so much for your words — they’re dead on! You guys are a great example to us all. God has done — and continues to do — an amazing work in your lives and in your marriage. Congratulations on 30 great years. Here’s to 30 more (at least)!!

  3. Amy Matheny says:

    Happy Anniversary! Wishing you 30 more…

  4. Tammie Marshall says:

    Cheers and Happy Anniversary!!! Here’s to 30 more years. Thanks for your message and more importantly your life size example of a working good marriage.

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