Monday, October 27, 2008

35 Years and Counting

Today Sharon and I have been married 35 years. It has been an interesting and eventful trip to get here. But it has been worth it and we are expecting many more years and adventures. I feel like the opening line of Dickens' "Tale of Two Cities": "It was the best of times, it was the worst of times."

We have moved 12 times to and from 5 cities. This last move has been the longest at over 20 years in the same house. We have had some lean times and some good times. We have survived good jobs and bad jobs, finding them and losing them. We have had good bosses and learned from them and we have had some bad bosses and learned more from them. We have survived raising children and are now enjoying the fruits of our labors: grandchildren. We have each survived some serious health issues that could have and should have shorted our time together. We have lost each other in some emotional/marital problems and found each other again only to realize that there is nothing that we can not work though because we really do love each other and that all these trials really do make us stronger and draw us closer.

Once we were invited to a young marrieds workshop at church. I had no idea why. We had been married almost 10 years at the time. I think it was because we had 2 small children at the time and the organizers thought we were relatively new at the game. The class we attended was on surviving life's ups and downs. The facilitator gave some statistics on what causes divorces and per cent ages of failures with each. Things like a new job with either and increase or decrease in pay 30%, with moves to a new town/city 40%. Loss of a child 25%, with the loss of first child almost 40%, and the subsequent loss a second child the chances rose to over 50%. He said all these are cumulative. After the presentation of the rest of his lecture he turned the time over to discussion. Several of the group asked questions and made comments. After a while I looked at Sharon and put up my hand. I asked hypothetically what the odds of surviving the following scenario was: "A young couple married while attending post secondary schooling, taking a good job in the schools town, about a year later moving to a small faring town for a better job, losing that job because of an economic down turn, moving to get another job and finding out they were expecting just after the move, being transferred to another city with the company, losing the position because the business was sold and also losing the child shortly after he was born to a mysterious illness almost at the same time, finding another good job in his field, losing a second child due to miscarriage at the start of third trimester, having their first child, expecting their second and moving to another city for another position with another company just before the second child is born and losing this job with in a year because of the economy. All this happens in the first 10 years of marriage." The facilitator looked shocked and asked if I was joking stating that this couple if still together would be lucky to survive another night together. Sharon and I started to laugh and asked if he knew a good divorce lawyer. He asked why and I said that is a brief outline of our life since we got married. He was amazed and asked how we survived and obviously thrived. We looked at each other and said "Our faith in each other and in God." He said that is and was the best foundation a couple could have and was where he was headed and thanked us for finishing his lecture.

I think that he was looking only at the negatives. I do not see many in our life together. Most of the "hardships" we have been through have be for the better. Very little if any have been for the worse. They have taught us to value each other even more and to cherish each other. They have taught us valuable lessons in humility and charity. They have given us an entirely different out look on life, a view of things around us and their real importance or should I say what is important. It is not a view that we have often found in others. We enjoy each day as it comes and try to live it together at its fullest. Doing the things we enjoy whether they are mutually shared or by ourselves and respecting the other's choices.

Enough of the mush. Lets just leave it at 35 happy years and counting.

Until next time.