48 years: It Gets Better

When I was a teenager who knew everything, adults who seemed ancient to me at age 55 or 60 kept talking about how tough marriage was. When I knew everything, I wondered why these people stayed married then. After all – if it’s so hard, just make it easy and don’t stay married. Go get a life that’s easy. That’s what I thought when I knew everything. After 48 years of marriage, and now well over the age of 60 myself, I still don’t know everything. But there are a few things I know for sure.

Marriage is hard work. It’s the hardest relationship you will ever have and it’s also the most valuable and most rewarding. I can tell you after 48 years there were many exit ramps that looked pretty enticing. From a distance, all lit up they looked lot more like fun than the ordinary highway I was on with Tim Anderson – the stable, sensible, solid adult.

I can’t prove it, but on Tim’s route, he probably saw some amazing exit ramps himself that would have taken him in the opposite direction from me – the one who could never make up her mind, had a new job for every season, and was always, and I do mean always late. “But I use all my minutes,” I complained. “So much time is wasted when getting any place early.”

Every year Tim gets me a flower for every year we’ve been married. This year that is 4 roses and 44 carnations. [for the math challenged, that’s 48] But this year he had a plaque made for me with an engraved brass heart attached above his own words.

If you are married or thinking of getting married, expect hard work. Expect more compromise than you ever imagined. Expect to be more flexible than the most agile gymnast – and expect to use that agility with deep breathing – often. Expect to disagree and expect that sometimes your disagreements will break the sound barrier. Stay – stay the course – because it’s worth it. It gets better. So much better.

I’d like to say it’s been a picnic in the park, and I guess it has been if you count the charcoal that won’t start, the fire ants, hornets, and thunderstorms. There were times just like that, but then there has been a profusion of times when the sun was out, the water calm, and the fun plentiful, seasons so vibrant nothing could contain the joy of being in this relationship together.

When we meet people socially and the conversation turns to the familiar: What do you do? Where do you live? How long have you been married? Silence! Then “Whoa!” they say. “That’s a long time.” Yes, yes it is. It’s a long time. They ask if there is a secret? Does commitment count? Does hard work qualify? There is no sabbatical from relationship building.

So, after 48 years are, we like two peas in a pod? Uh, not even close! A bean pod and a pea pod, maybe. But we are content pods. More and more often, one of us brings up a thought that just moments before the other had in their mind. How does that happen?

There is nothing better now than spending an absolutely boring night at home or spending time with friends we’ve shared for a lifetime. Sometimes the best, more comforting answer to “What do we have to do today” is “Nothing.”

We share the same faith and love the same God. We have a well-loved family of nine (children and grandchildren) and it is the best feeling in the word to be together. When our family comes to visit, we get to enjoy time together as one collective family. We wanted this for our family from the moment we said, I do. I know this luxury is one that many of my friends don’t have. I don’t take that for granted – ever.

Life is never perfect. We have been through deep sadness, near death illnesses, and financial hardship. We got through them, not because of who we are, but because God planted love in our hearts and we worked hard, still work hard, to cultivate forgiveness, acceptance, empathy, and understanding. The joy outweighs everything else and it’s cumulative.

Do you remember the poem you memorized in elementary school? Good, better, best. Never let it rest, until your good is better and your better becomes best. The longer Tim and I are together the good becomes better and the better keeps becoming best.

6 thoughts on “48 years: It Gets Better”

  1. What great role models you and Tim must be! I thought I was an oddity with 32 years in so far. It isn’t always easy or fun, but it is always an adventure! Thanks so much for sharing your story! I sure hope someday I can say 48. When going around the room we often ask, “How long have you been married?” I usually try to wait until the others have all chimed in and quite often I can say, “I win!” I mean it too! Mine guy isn’t always easy to live with but he’s a keeper! FMF #72

    Reply
    • Thank you for your beautiful comment, Karen. You are for sure a winner at 32 years and counting. I’m wondering if you every feel like me and spontaneously feel thankful for being married as long as we have been, even though there have been mountains, valleys, and class 9 rivers to ride. Someone smarter than me said it isn’t easy, but it’s worth it. Yesterday I was listening to a sermon on Ecclesiastes. He said “Alone I am string. Together we are rope.” That’s a long term marriage.

      Reply
  2. Write (LOL) with ya, sister! Forty-three years together, and celebrated our 40th anniversary with 40 adventures. No cruises. No Europe. No 5-star Hotels. Well, maybe an RV resort could be. Just traveling the roads around us, but with a different agenda. To prove the simplest way is and can be a good way, if not the best way. Like you, we have had to get over some steep mountains. Got stuck in a few valleys. One thing that set us apart was finding the joy around us, even in the sorrow. Gods fingerprints are all over our years together. Thanks for sharing. I believe 2019 is going to an extraordinary, joyful year!

    Reply
    • Elizabeth, thank you for your kind words. For sure God had imprinted our lives with his spirit of protection and joy. Many rough roads including near death illnesses, but clearly there was more for us to do. God has given us a good life – all without cruises, Europe, and 5-star hotels. Like you we appreciate what we have – and after being there for 6 of my friends who have lost their husbands to death in the past three years I don’t need any of that luxury stuff. There is no value there. Congratulations on your 40+ years together. God bless you abundantly with many, many more.

      Reply
  3. What a beautiful post! My husband and I have gone through our fair share of hardship, still weathering a few storms. There were times I didn’t know we’d make it. But here we are, 30 years later, and still committed to making it work. Love your blog!

    Reply
    • Barbie, thank you for responding to my story. You know for the first 22 years our marriage hung by a thread. Sometimes it was a thread as fine as a spider web. But through determination and a lot of acceptance, forgiveness and maturity, we are twice as many years past that never forget to be thankful.

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