Sandpaper & Polish: Reflecting on a 46 year Marriage

Sandpaper & Polish: Reflecting on a 46 year Marriage

I wasn't going to even write an anniversary blog this year ... I'm tired, blank, with nothing new to say. I merely posted our picture on facebook, thanking God for the godly man He gave me, calling it an "anniversary." Then it came -- a realization as I was praying this morning, this day that commemorates that life-changing commitment 46 years ago. 

 

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From John: "Yep, the Best Yet, #44"

Dearest Jan, Today we have been having some fun listening to a song that you and everyone else at Kroger were humming this afternoon, The Longest Time by Billy Joel. Some of the words of that song speak to me about our relationship over the years.

Nov 27, 1971
Nov 27, 1971

If you said goodbye to me tonightThere would still be music left to writeWhat else could I doI'm so inspired by you

(That hasn't happened for the longest time) ... Yes, there were times when neither one of us was inspired by other, probably even the opposite in some instances. But I have learned so much from you about our relationship with Christ that I am inspired by you to search and experience more.

And the greatest miracle of allIs how I need youAnd how you needed me too

(That hasn't happened for the longest time) ... Yes, there were times when we were quite distant emotionally from each other. But over the years we have drawn strength and support from one another during the hard times and now we are reaping the benefit in working together rather than against each other.

Now I know the woman that you are

(That hasn't happened for the longest time) ... And probably never will, for what man can truly say he understands the depths of his bride. But I have lately come to truly appreciate who you are more than I could/should have in the years past.

In The Longest Time, there is some question as to the eventual outcome of the relationship. However, you and I have a favorite song that speaks to an enduring and endearing relationship, which I am looking forward to sharing with you in whatever years we have left. In fact, you may have blogged about this song on previous anniversaries, Holding Hands by Steve Green.

I think you ought to know thatI intend to hold you for the longest time, John

Through the 44 years...the best of all!

Through the years...ups & downs...round & rounds...coming close, then staying away...forgiving and being forgiven.  All of that and more...but now in our 44th year of marriage, an ok-ness, and acceptance, a mutual supportiveness once an elusive dream.Nov 27, 1971 So yes! the 44th has been the best of all!

Maybe Robert Browning's saying really is true,

Grow old along with me. The best is yet to be.

So this is for you, my darling husband, John Charles Loyd. Thank you for it all!

[youtuber youtube='http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9z1A1R8RQZs']

Our wedding get-away car...one of many VW's

wedding VW2wedding VWs cavalcade

Other anniversary posts:

43 Years with the same Man

Holding Hands for 40 Years

And how we almost didn't have these last few years together:

Love and Trouble and Joy...Life

 

 

 

43 YEARS with the Same Man {Reflections on an Enduring Marriage}*

wedding picture
wedding picture

"Forty years...to the same man?!"  So asked one of my ESL students, amazed! "How old ARE you?!" Retorted a GED student of mine, after learning of my 40 years of marriage.

Actually old enough to be married 43 years today!

Marriage for now 43 years hasn't always been easy to say the least.  (See another year's post for some specifics).  In fact, marriage is God's trick, according to one respected Christian author I follow.  If you achieve bliss, enjoy it because it will be fleeting.  Why?  Because marriage is less about making us happy and more about making us holy...and desperate for our Savior Jesus!

My husband John is a precious man.  I can hardly believe he has endured all these years with me, never wavering, always faithful and true, despite my "crustiness!"

In fact, in a recent conversation of ours, I likened myself to a character in the well-known short story, The Ransom of Red Chief.

The Ransom of Red Chief is a 1910 short story by O. Henry. It follows two men who kidnap and attempt to ransom a wealthy Alabaman's son; eventually, the men are driven to distraction by the boy and end up having to pay the boy's father to take him back.

At times I have been like that boy and have driven my poor husband to distraction.

But thankfully, John has kept me and I have kept him.  And we thank God for each other...despite, or maybe because of, our struggles.  Because as we have been saying in recent years,

Grow old along with me!
The best is yet to be,
the last of life, for which the first was made.
Our times are in his hand who saith,

'A whole I planned, youth shows but half;

Trust God: See all, nor be afraid!'

Robert Browning

So on this our 43rd anniversary, I thank God and you, dear John Loyd, for all these years...of occasional bliss, growing friendship, challenging companionship, increasing oneness, and enduring sacrificial love.

O magnify the LORD with me,And let us exalt His name together. Psalm 34:3 Our wedding verse November 27, 1971

HOLDING HANDS

One day, far away, you gently won my heart
And one night, by candlelight, we made a vow to never part
And then it seemed just like a dream
When wide eyed, side by side
We faced the future holding hands

Years fly, they hurry by, the simple times are gone
Bills due, a kid or two, a week can feel eight days long
By fading light, let's kiss goodnight
And then we trace God's daily grace
Thankful we're still holding hands

There's a hope that won't let go
There's a truth we know
God is holding us In His arms

Thoughts stray far away to all that lies ahead
In frail days when strength fades
Will we still mean all that we said?

Our love's secure, so rest assured
Come what may 'til that day

We'll walk forever holding hands
By God's grace 'til that day
We'll walk forever holding hands

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kdX15209s6A[/youtube]

See John's response

*Last year's anniversary post...with the numbers changed :) Thank you, Lord, for another year together...by Your grace!  Amen!

The Rest of the Story: John replies to "41 YEARS with the Same Man"

John on Thanksgiving at Beth's
John on Thanksgiving at Beth's

Jan recently wrote about our anniversary, referencing The Ransom of Red Chief,

a short story in which the kidnappers end up paying the father to take his Dennis the Menace son back.  The context of our discussion was her plans to go for a walk around our daughter’s neighborhood in California.  She said, “If you don’t hear from me after a while, come looking for me in case someone has kidnapped me."

I said, “Well, they wouldn’t realize the prize they have.”  Because she is a prize to me and has been a blessing, not only to me for forty-one years, but also to her children, grand children, brothers, sisters, mom, family, friends, acquaintances, students, and random one-time encounters.  Everyone is her friend, and she is always thinking of ways to help someone else.  In fact, the kidnappers would most likely become the target of her concerns.

Jan smiled, “Yeah, like the ransom of Red Chief, right?”

“That’s not what I meant,” I wisely replied.  But upon further reflection, her kind intentions might drive the kidnappers to distraction from their intended purpose and cause them to offer to pay me to take her back.  That’s just the kind of person she is.

Holding Hands...for 40 Years

Our Wedding Verse, November 27, 1971

O magnify the LORD with me, And let us exalt His name together. Psalm 34:3

How starry-eyed and "in love" we were 40 years ago as we chose for our wedding song..

We've Only Just Begun

We've only just begun to live
White lace and promises
A kiss for luck and we're on our way
(We've only begun)

Before the risin' sun, we fly
So many roads to choose
We'll start out walkin' and learn to run
And yes, we've just begun

Sharing horizons that are new to us
Watching the signs along the way
Talkin' it over, just the two of us
Workin' together day to day
Together Together

And when the evening comes, we smile
So much of life ahead
We'll find a place where there's room to grow
And yes, we've just begun

wedding picture03
wedding picture03

We did find a place where there was room to grow...in each other's arms and in the Arms of our Father God.

But we didn't realize how much "dying" it would take to grow...and to live as one, did we?

...unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit. John 12:24

We didn't count on the stresses of everyday life being so...REAL:

making a living
parenting
changes of vocation
job losses
miscarriage
my chronic mysterious health problems
serious health crises in both of our beloved children
aging of our mothers
deaths of our fathers
your heart attack...and the list goes on

We didn't realize how hard it would be to "coordinate" our very different personalities:

YOU:  introverted, quiet, analytical, observant, unemotional, thoughtful before acting...an only child of an only child mom
ME:  extroverted, loud (at times), intuitive, emotional, initiating...oldest of 7 (and "the boss of the mob," as my mother says)

But according to a friend, we are the "poster children" of how the Lord's indwelling life can empower a couple, so opposite in every way, to live with each other with a measure of harmony....though not without "duking it out" at times. :)

Thanksgiving 2011

Thanksgiving 2011

So now, I say, we've only just begun...

to live a life together rooted in true love (better than just being "in love") and to experience the friendship and companionship that come from walking through the joys and sorrows of life together.

And so, my darling John,

Grow old along with me! The best is yet to be,
the last of life, for which the first was made.
Our times are in his hand who saith,
'A whole I planned, youth shows but half;
Trust God: See all, nor be afraid!'
Robert Browning

HOLDING HANDS

One day, far away, you gently won my heart
And one night, by candlelight, we made a vow to never part
And then it seemed just like a dream
When wide eyed, side by side
We faced the future holding hands

Years fly, they hurry by, the simple times are gone
Bills due, a kid or two, a week can feel eight days long
By fading light, let's kiss goodnight And then we trace God's daily grace
Thankful we're still holding hands

There's a hope that won't let go
There's a truth we know God is holding us In His arms

Thoughts stray far away to all that lies ahead
In frail days when strength fades
Will we still mean all that we said?

Our love's secure, so rest assured
Come what may 'til that day

We'll walk forever holding hands
By God's grace 'til that day
We'll walk forever holding hands