A personal narrative this week. This Saturday will mark fifty years of marriage for my husband and me. I always thought that just happened to old people! But here we are at this special milestone.
They say opposites attract, but that can cause some problems. In our case, we had many similarities—both coming from Christian families, believers ourselves, both music majors, outgoing, organized—perfectly compatible, right? Well, simalarities can cause problems, too.
While Jim worked on his Masters in Church Music at the seminary, I taught music in elementary school. We moved on to serve in music ministry at a church in Somerset, KY where I served as Children’s Choir Coordinator and he as the Minister of Music.
As long as we remained in our own boxes (he with the overall music program and me with children), everything went smoothly, but there were times I had ideas that reached into his domain or he dictated things in my domain. The protection of turf began.
At first we offered subtle suggestions. When one didn’t embrace the suggestion, the other became defensive. As we looked back after a few years, we realized that we were getting in each other’s box. As children came along, the territory lines continued.
How easy it is to fall into destructive habits; finding faults, being critical, etc.
Every couple has their “thing.” We became aware of our challenge and worked to correct it, hoping to follow Paul’s encouragement.
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. I Corinthians 13:4-5
Ouch, that last one gets too close to home. I rather imagine keeping records, whether on paper or in minds, is a sticking point in many marriages.
We tend to number the offensives without putting enough love deposits in each other’s love bank to compensate. I remember the shame I felt when I started to practice holding my tongue in certain settings. After about the fifth time, I realized how critical I had become. Words that hurt or demean were just about to roll out automatically. It does indeed take patience and kindness to retrain ourselves.
Over the years, we have worked very hard on our marriage, because any relationship requires careful, continual balance. I often write a note on wedding cards encouraging the new couple to give heed to communication and to work toward caring for their spouse’s needs more than their own needs. Finally, I urge them to plan on simply working hard on their marriage.
Paul also declared that;
[Love] always protects, always hopes, always perseveres. I Corinthians 13:7
I used to wonder when we would ever get to that place where I saw older couples who seemed settled and more in love than ever. I believe we’re there.
God has guided us through many challenges. Challenges will still come, but I can say that I love and enjoy Jim Cordell with all my heart and look forward to many more years to call him my husband.
~ Joyce ~