My Anne and I celebrate 40 years together tomorrow! I know that most in today’s disposable society can’t comprehend how anyone could stay together for more than a few years. The celebs seem to last only months in their relationships. What is happening that has changed the concept of commitment and being willing to sacrifice a portion of your selfishness so another can ultimately experience a better life and you can learn more about the essence of true friendship?
I know that one of the key ingredients in making a relationship work is a willingness to listen and communicate. It isn’t necessarily always easy to choose to engage someone when you aren’t in the greatest of moods. It takes real effort to grow together and not apart! The real difficulty is that there isn’t anything really sexy about laying aside your wants in order to get to know another person and appreciate their passion and interests in life. It is so easy to allow my desires to cloud my relationship that I end up growing away from my partner. It’s not that it is evil to have different interests or desires but you have to work at growing together instead of growing apart.
My Anne is a chaplain at a local hospital and is always shocked when she hears about someone working on their third or fourth marriage. The individual is usually blown away when Anne shares that she has been happily married for more than 40 years. The question usually comes up as to what is it that you do that keeps you together when it seems like everything is always pulling us apart? The answer isn’t mind-boggling but rather basic – we choose each day to love the other person regardless of what happens. It’s not that the outcome of circumstances don’t matter but your perspective is focused more on caring about your partner and getting to know them better and seeing each day as an adventure and gift!
I admit that it isn’t easy to take an interest in something that is outside your personal pursuits. Yet, as we bend and flex on both ends I believe you learn to appreciate another person’s interests and passions that influences you to become a better person that does care about the little things that makes life ROCK! The sad reality is that too often we are totally selfish about things that don’t matter which means we never get to the bigger things in life because we have destroyed a relationship over something that we won’t remember in a week.
It does take patience and effort on your part to better understand what is actually taking place. My struggle is that I want my way and that at times we hit heads and must make a decision based upon sound judgment and not selfish whims. I must also admit that I don’t know everything and need help at times seeing the bigger picture in life or discovering what is right in front of my face! I love to be with my Anne because she is someone that is always ALIVE and willing to take risks to see God work in her and through her!
Yes, I’m so grateful to God for allowing our paths to cross that June at a Bible Camp in the Santa Cruz Mountains. Little did I understand that this missionary teen in the hand sewn dress would captivate my attention to the extent that in a few months I would drive to San Diego and attempt to persuade her to marry me at a very young age. Yes, I was the longhaired Jesus Freak that did get her attention and as some would say the rest is history!