Monday, July 02, 2007
30 Years and Counting
In 1977 Jimmy Carter became President of the United States, Elvis Presley was found dead in his bathroom at Graceland and Three’s A Company debuted on television.
And this blogger got married for the first time. And the only time. In fact exactly 30 years ago today (July 3) Kathy Underwood became Kathy Goddard. We had no idea what we were getting into but three grown boys, two daughters in law and a 5 month old grandbaby later, it has been quite a journey.
How does one survive 30 years of marriage?
I think at least part of the answer to that question lies in the person you choose to marry. I quickly found that I could not argue when the person with whom I was trying to argue would not argue. I could not fight when the person I was trying to fight refused to fight. By the way that principle is straight out of the Good Book. “A gentle answer turns back wrath but a harsh word stirs up anger” (Prov 15:1 NIV). The person I married has always had an incredible way of delivering a gentle answer. And I just don’t remember many harsh words coming out of her mouth in the last 30 years.
I also learned that there has to be more than a little grace extended along the way. If my wife had expectations of having a perfect husband she quickly realized I did not come close to living up to those expectations. But she extended grace (unmerited favor) in spite of my shortcomings. She set me free to be the imperfect person I was and in giving that freedom I think she got a much better husband.
But I think the greatest secret we have learned in surviving 30 years of marriage is in the area of forgiveness. We have a hard fast rule at our house. If we have a disagreement today we NEVER EVER bring up a shortcoming of the past. That is absolutely below the belt and we just don’t do it.
Years ago I saw a movie called Indecent Proposal. There was a quote in that movie that I never forgot that was something like this: “If two people love each other they do things to each other. And if they stay together it is not because they forget but it is because they forgive.”
Extending grace and forgiveness is not just a spiritual concept but it is simply a choice we make. And if we understand the grace and forgiveness that has been extended to us from above, it is only natural that we extend the same to grace to people in our lives. Especially to the people we have chosen to spend our entire lives with.
For the past 30 years I have been the recipient of an incredible amount of grace. Not only from the God of our universe but also from my wife.
And I think that is why we are now at 30 years and counting.