O Lord, so thankful for a fabulous time in Indiana’s Brown County State Park with the entire Phillips clan. But OMG, if we grow any more, the next time, we might break the bridge!
O Lord, You know that when this first pic was taken, I thought people who were 47 years old were ancient. Antediluvian, actually. OMG, how could I have known how rich 47 years of married love — built on Your love — could be?
It was the best of times. Set in the worst of times.
Amid COVID restrictions, how could we celebrate 46 years of wedded stress — er, bliss?
Normally, I offer suggestions way beyond our first anniversary, when Hubby’s parents paid for dinner at the Wagon Wheel Restaurant. Now, we pay for our own celebratory meals, sometimes in restaurants with daunting silverware and equally daunting prices. We no longer limit trips to exotic locales like Wabash, Indiana. Once, we even splurged on Hawaii.
But now, what to do?
Hubby enthused, “Let’s take a hike.”
But we hike so much, Hubby’s Fitbit thingy is exhausted.
“It’s cold,” I whined. Snuggling and drinking hot chocolate sounded saner.
“But I want to play in the snow.”
Snow? Okay! I donned cold-weather gear.
In a nearby forest, verdant pines and leafless oaks looked equally elegant. Outlined in white, scraggly weeds and thorny bushes proclaimed their Creator’s redemption. Though seemingly dormant, the forest teemed with animal tracks — with life.
Our decades together rested on us, light and joyous as snow.
It was the best of times.
Temperatures rose the next day, when we hiked at a nearly deserted park. Trees, having lost magical white clothing, shivered. We plowed through dark, sticky mud, attractive only when I imagined we were adventuring through brownie batter.
Soon, we navigated puddles, then streams flowing across trails. Images of Israelites crossing the Red Sea flooded my brain. Biblical thoughts, at least — more biblical than some eddying in my mind.
At a bison pen, big, shaggy animals barely blinked at our presence.
Bored bison are so romantic. Especially their smell.
Water inspires swoon-moon-June feelings, even in January. But the gray, half-frozen lake resembled an old black-and-white TV screen.
Skinny-dipping? For polar bears only.
Hubby asked, “Want to kayak?”
“Not enough ice and water for you on this trail?” I queried.
Fortunately, he was only half-serious. But he related how he and fellow Boy Scouts, during their winter paddle, chewed gum to mend their busted canoe.
“We had fun,” he insisted.
Despite challenges, we’d enjoyed our second hike, too. Together.
On January 4, 1975, I wouldn’t have anticipated fun on a mud hike. Then, we were all about storybook moments, white and sparkly like my wedding gown.
We still relive those moments, as on that incredible, snowy hike.
Still, mud-hike marriage moments happen, even in Hawaii. On a tropical trail, Hubby extracted me from sucky mud that stained us orange.
Thank God, we haven’t told each other to take a hike. Instead, we’ve taken a lifelong hike together, including the best of times and the worst of times.
We wouldn’t have it any other way.
Your Extraordinary Ordinary: What are magical and mud-hike moments in your marriage?
O Lord, You recall that 46 years ago today, a freshman medical student and his unemployed bride promised You they would love each other for life. The odds of keeping those vows appeared even skinnier than they were. But, OMG, thank You for helping us do the impossible!
OMG, thank You for a 45th wedding anniversary celebration Hubby and I will never forget: blue ocean, swaying palms, and a kayak trip in which we made the acquaintance of a (fortunately) sleepy alligator.
O Lord, Thank You that Saturday, Hubby and I celebrated 45 years of wedded stress — er, bliss. You must have smothered a thousand laughs — and rolled Your eyes — as You’ve watched our attempts at adulting. But OMG, thank You for holding us together! We’re glad You continue to give us lessons in love.
Oh my God, thank You for 44 years of marriage! — though wasn’t it only yesterday when I thought 40 was old? Still, it’s nice to know that while Hubby got excited about standing next to an Indiana U. basketball star, OMG, he still likes standing next to me.
“Will you take a picture?” I asked the young hotel clerk. “We’re celebrating our 42nd anniversary.”
Summoning a be-nice-to-the-old-people smile, he took one shot before escaping.
My husband is photogenic, but saying “cheese” automatically signals my eyes to close and my teeth to grin like a horse’s.
Had this clerk captured a decent image?
Well, put up a plaque! My eyes were open. Natural smiles lit our faces. The lobby’s glowing fireplace behind us exuded a lovely halo effect.
My middle looked as if I’d swallowed the pool’s life preserver. “I must have put on a little weight this Christmas.”
My husband glanced at the photo and said …
This was the mark of a long-married man. A husband who answered, “Well, 30 dozen Christmas cookies will do it to ya,” would have died young.
From the beginning, Steve has proved exceptionally wise. As a newlywed, only once did he say, “Where’s the five dollars we had yesterday?”, “My mother doesn’t do it that way,” and “You know I don’t like my underwear dyed pink, right?”
However, I deserve credit, too. When he wanted his brown and black socks placed in separate drawers, toes pointing the same direction, I considered dyeing them all pink. Color problem solved, and they would match the underwear.
But I didn’t.
When he tap-tap-tappity-tapped research papers all night on his manual typewriter in our one-room apartment, I didn’t sign him up for a semester overseas. Or on Mars.
Instead, we learned together.
We discovered that no couple with a six-inch difference in leg length should ever, ever attempt couples’ jogging. That if one partner is lugging groceries to a third-story apartment, the other shouldn’t drop onto a sofa for a nap. That peanut butter and love sandwiches taste really good.
We learned that people could stay married.
Even if one partner orders healthy fish at a restaurant, and the other craves fried chicken.
Even if spouses share identical body temperatures only when one wears a space suit.
Even if one scrapes every ice crystal from the car (including tires), while the other thinks driving an igloo is fun.
People can stay married.
Even if their children take after the other’s side of the family … and produce flocks of grandchildren who do likewise.
Complications? Sure, but dozens of peanut butter and love sandwiches, eaten together, taste better than ever. And steak with candlelight, just he and me, isn’t bad, either.
Steve and I should have shared a few seasoned insights with that young clerk. Because he may someday learn—the oh-so-hard way—that his wife prefers her photos taken from the neck up.
What helpful, hard-earned hint can you share that helped you stay married?