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Friday, March 15, 2013

What I Know About Marriage


I’ve been married a l-o-o-o-n-g time.  I’ve been married my entire life minus 18 years.

I look back on who I was when David and I got married, and sometimes I laugh out loud remembering the things I thought  and what I said.  I must have been a royal pain in the keester.  I’m surprised anyone from that era will even speak to me today.

Fortunately, I’ve changed quite a bit.  It’s hard to relate Carol at 18 to Carol at 61.  I’m all grown up now; past growing up, really.  I’m entering the elderly department.  New expectations.

The new expectations are from others.  I know I look my age, so there’s no doubt of the phase of life I’m in.  I’m recovering from knee replacement, so I know that I look kinda pathetic taking one stair at a time and being very careful about it. 

One of my biggest fears is falling.  Carol at 18 or even Carol at 55 didn’t have that fear.  It goes with the elderly department, which, in my mind, is always accessed by elevator.

You don’t realize how long hallways can be and how daunting stairs appear until you somehow can’t manage to traverse them.

Growing old means lots of changes.  I wonder how many couples stay together because it’s just not worth the trouble of parting?  I always told David that if we ever got a divorce, he was getting the kids!  We joke that that was the only thing keeping us together, and now we’re staying because of the cats.

When I was 18 and David was 20, we repeated the marriage vows with no comprehension whatsoever of what they meant or how we were going to live them out.

When we reached our 25th anniversary, we renewed our vows, this time knowing what they meant.

Or at least I thought so.

Seven years ago, my world collapsed.  David was diagnosed with severe congestive heart failure, with the real possibility that his heart would suddenly stop.  He was a workaholic who had retired the year before so he could run a business of lawn care, stump grinding, odd jobs, part-time at a hardware store.  He loved it, being his own boss, doing what he enjoyed. 

But on that day in February 2006, his world collapsed, too.  He had no idea that he had heart problems.  He is blessed in that he has few symptoms.  On paper, he was a wreck, but in person, he looked fine.

So now we find ourselves living with this illness and around this illness and through this illness.  It defines us in many ways.  We have to work around it a lot.  Our dreams have changed and will continue to change as we face each crisis as it comes.

If we renewed our vows now after 42 years of marriage, would I know what they meant?  Would I realize what I was getting myself into?  Would I even bother to voice them if I thought I wasn’t going to follow through and do them?

My answer:  I would know better what they meant, but I wouldn’t believe that I knew them completely.  I was full of pride early on because I thought I was in control.  Even at the 25-year mark, I thought I could manipulate any situation to fit our needs.

That’s almost laugh-out-loud funny.  What a fool I was!  Pride goeth before a fall, and I learned that the hard way.

David and I have stayed together all these years because we love and respect each other, and we have fought hard at times to keep our marriage afloat.  People can’t go through these life altering events without being changed. 

That’s what the vows possess.  Even as we change, it’s their power that stays with us.  God uses that power to sustain us, “us” meaning both, not one at a time, but us together.

So be it for a l-o-o-o-n-g time…
 

12 comments:

  1. At the wedding, we all gloss over the "sickness" part, and the "worse" part, never realizing what's before us. The vows also state- "unto death do we part", not "until death of my feelings...(insert convenient phrase here)".

    Marriage will test every fiber of your being. Being committed (in a good way) is how God intended.

    I've had a bad marriage(without God)and I've had a good marriage(with God). Good is better!

    Thank you for your testimony Carol! And hug that lucky husband of yours! He has a great wife!-cyn-

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    1. I like what you said about "until death of my feelings" because I think it is so true. I know that every marriage can't be saved, but I believe more of them could be with some work from both parties. I also like the "He has a great wife" :) Thanks, Cyn!

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  2. Beautiful Carol - I love your honesty and sincerity. Thank you for your service - Maggie Davis -

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    1. Thank you. I appreciate your encouragement.

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  3. Loved the blog. It is all so true! We have had abundant blessings in our walk with the Lord and in our walk with our husbands. I remember your wedding day so well. You were a beautiful bride. So glad we have remained friends through out the decades...!!! Can you believe it?!

    Mary

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    1. It is really hard to believe since we haven't even lived in the same cities all these years. It's also hard to believe that you are still speaking to me since Eddie (bless his heart) spent SO much time working on my computer. Now, that's Southern hospitality!

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  4. This is the most beautiful piece you have written and should be a "must read" for every young couple. . . of course they would probably not get it. Beautiful, friend!

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    1. Thanks so much, Miriam. You are always such an encouraging friend...

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  5. I can relate to that in so many ways too. Mark and I have lived our marriage without putting God first and that almost destroyed our marriage. As soon as we looked up from the bottom and took God's hand for him to lead us, our marriage has been SO much healthier and I know we are both easier to live with than in the past! esp me! lol Living in a Godly marriage and having that mutual respect and love that ONLY comes from Him is truly amazing!

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  6. Thanks, Steph. You always were my favorite daughter-in-law!

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  7. Oh, Carol, your story sounds just like mine! We had no idea what we were doing at 18 and 19 years old, and to this day, I'm surprised we survived!

    The older I get, the more I appreciate Who God is and the man He gave me. We are both so blessed, aren't we?

    Praying for you right now, sweet friend.

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  8. Blessed is right! So glad you stopped by...

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