By the time you read this, my husband Charles and I will have celebrated our 30th wedding anniversary.
I’ve been married to my husband longer than I had either of my parents. In fact, since we married young, I guess you could say we raised each other (though I’m still working on him).
Seriously, my parents were married only 27 years when my daddy died. That used to seem like such a long time to me. Strange how aging changes your perspective about things.
Friends of ours, Bartow and Hilda Henry, just celebrated their 70th anniversary. That truly is an incredible feat. It is stunning to think that when we married, this couple had already spent 40 years together. They are a precious pair – devoted to each other, to their family, and to their community.
Marriage is certainly a journey, filled with hills and valleys, joys and sorrows. I think back over the things we’ve been through together – the deaths of family members, the births of our two children and all that raising those children has brought to us, changing homes, health problems, financial woes, aging and the normal disagreements (sometimes fights) that any couple will go through.
Yes, certainly a mixture of good and bad. But through it all there is this thread of stability – of structure and faithfulness and partnership, and something else, the definition of which eludes me – that has kept us together. I’m sure any long married couple would say something similar. Sometimes you may not feel the love (or even the like), and the thread may pull taut, but it does not break. For some, like us, I would call the thread God. He has certainly been there for us through it all. I thank Him for the joys, and even for the tribulations, that have ultimately strengthened the bonds of marriage, family, life and love.
I sat recently with Lance and Lillian Thomason in their Hull home. Mr. Thomason had been chosen as Hull’s grand marshal for the town’s spring festival and I was there to interview him.
As often happens, I got so much more than “a story for the paper” – I gained insight into what makes a good marriage.
The love these two had for each other as I sat with them was palpable. Gentle people, married 67 years this month, life has dealt them that potent mixture of joy and sorrow – but the thread of their love and affection for each other remains strong. He told me how it was love at first sight, literally, when he met the young Lillian in a five and dime store. And she told me, looking at him affectionately, “He’s a really good person, I’m not just saying that because he’s mine. He is just a really good person.”
In other words, it’s isn’t just love, but mutual respect and genuine friendship that bind a couple together.
Much has been made of romance, the thrill and excitement of new love – but at the end of the day (and at the end of life) it’s who is holding your hand, and your heart, that matters.
Charles, here’s to the hope of our next 30 years holding each other’s hand.
And you still hold my heart.
Margie Richards is a reporter and office manager for The Madison County Journal.
Margie writes such wonderful pieces. You can feel what she writes and it is just as wonderful. Just wanted to say thanks for taking the time to focus on the good and the right. Those of us who come behind you in relationships, whatever kind they are, can learn much if we choose. I so appreciate the wisdom of those ahead of me, as you do. People are different, times are different, but there are things we can decide in our hearts will remain the same, that is our morals. Your parents did a good job, that's for sure. And thanks for being genuine. When I get to one of those days where you just wonder how I'm going to go on, I'll remember this article and pull up the boot straps, suck in my gut and move forward. Thanks again. We enjoy your work.