Thirty-Three Years Later Would We Still Say, “I Do?”

Thirty-Three Years Later Would We Still Say, “I Do?”

“Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil; Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth; Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.”
I Corinthians 13:4-7

Once upon a time in the village of Ephrata, located in the state of Pennsylvania, there lived a fair maiden, as well as a handsome gentleman.  

The fair maiden was introduced to the handsome gentleman.  Upon their acquaintance, they appeared to be quite smitten with one another.  Over the months which followed, they enjoyed a good bit of time getting to know one another. 

One bright, sparkling, sunny afternoon, the handsome gentleman came to call on the fair maiden.  He found her strolling along the cobblestone pathway which wound its way amidst the beautiful blooming tulips, the dainty pansies and the breath-taking red roses.

When the handsome gentleman caught up to the fair maiden, he totally took her by surprise when he dropped to one knee and requested her hand in marriage!

The fair maiden was overcome with sheer delight and readily accepted his proposal!

Finally the big day had arrived!

The guests were all in their places, the abundance of love was floating throughout the church like the fluttering wings of a majestic butterfly, and suddenly the orchestra began to strike up the music!  

As the fair maiden began her descent down the aisle, her eyes locked together with those of her handsome gentleman!

Time stood still.

It’s as if they were the only two people in the room.  In the entire universe!

The “I dos” were said, rings were exchanged and of course there was the infamous marital kiss!  

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As they drove off into the sunset in their horse-drawn carriage, they bid their guests farewell, and lived happily ever after without a single care in the world!

Yeah, I know, it's time to bust the bubble and bring it back to reality!

Bits and pieces of my story are true, but some details are definitely "fairy tale material!"

I'll let you decide for yourself which parts are true and which are fantasy!

This past Saturday, August 13th, my beloved and I celebrated our thirty-third wedding anniversary!  

www.castingyourcare.com
www.castingyourcare.com

Where have the years gone?

"So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom.”
Psalm 90:12

I can still picture Brian and I living in our one bedroom apartment in Norfolk, Virginia.  Our very first home as a married couple!  The biggest room was the walk-in closet in the bedroom!  To us it was a mansion!

Now fast forward thirty-three years later, and, by God’s grace, we no longer live in a one bedroom apartment!  We have a son who just turned thirty-one in July, and he and his wife have a daughter (our granddaughter, just LOVE saying that word!) who will turn eight years old in November!  

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But I just have "this feeling" if we were still cramped in that one bedroom apartment in Virginia, it would still be "okay" with us!  

Why?

Because we would still have each other!

"Mushy!  Gushy!  Lovey-Dovey Overload!"  I know! 

But, oh, so true!

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I often ask Brian this question,
“If you knew thirty-three years ago what you know now, especially about living with a wife who deals with a chronic illness that has totally changed your married life, as well as your personal life, would you still say, 'I do'?"

His response is always the same. 

He looks me in the eye with a look of love and says without hesitation, “Absolutely!  Without a doubt!   But I would change one thing.  I would have married you sooner!”

Trust me, it’s not just words he's speaking knowing that’s what I want to hear.

He’s not that kind of guy.  

He says what he means and he means what he says!

So then the question turns to me.
"If I knew thirty-three years ago what I know now about living with a life-altering chronic illness which not only affects myself, but affects my beloved husband, would I still say, 'I do'?" 

My answer would be two-fold.  

At first it would be, "No", and then, "Yes!"

Before you begin hurling rocks at me for answering, "No", please let me explain.

The ONLY reason I would ever say, "No", is because often I feel so very guilty for messing things up for us and especially for Brian.

I feel as though my illness has cheated Brian out of the life he deserves.  

It makes me sad

I feel responsible

The struggle
is VERY real
for me

However, Brian is VERY quick to remind me I am not responsible for how I feel and I have no control over the symptoms.

He tells me as long as he's with me, he's NOT missing out on anything!

Absolute truth from his heart to mine!

So once I stop listening to the LIES the adversary is feeding me, because that's exactly what they are, my answer to the question, "Would I say, 'I do' all over again?", becomes a resounding YES shouted from the highest mountain top that echos its way down to the lowest valley!

So after thirty-three years of marriage do Brian and I have a perfect marriage?

Absolutely not!

So after thirty-three years of marriage do Brian and I have all the answers for our marriage?

Ummm, definitely not!

I'd like to share a few things the Lord has taught us which allows us to enjoy a marriage which, by God's grace, is not only surviving, but is THRIVING!

  • Brian takes time during his quiet time with the Lord and other times throughout the day to pray "specifics" for me.  I take time during my quiet time with the Lord and other times throughout the day to pray "specifics" for Brian.  We also pray together as a couple.
  • We look for things to laugh about, no matter how small they may seem!
  • We are quick to ask to be forgiven and readily accept forgiveness.
  • We treat one another with respect through our words and actions. Our words edify, not tear down and destroy each other.
  • We send "just because" text messages to each other!
  • Brian is the spiritual leader of our house, but he does not "lord" that leadership over me.  When a decision needs to be made, he asks for my opinion, and then we make it a matter of prayer.
  • We use words such as, "Thank You", "Please", "I appreciated your help", "I'm proud of you", with one another.  It may seem very insignificant, but, trust me, it goes a long way!
  • Once an issue is over, talked through, forgiven, it does not get rehashed all over again.
  • We support, encourage and pray for one another's individual opportunities to serve the Lord.
  • We tell each other, "I love you", many times throughout the day, and truly mean it each and every time!
  • We take the time to talk to each other.  One does the talking while the other gives their undivided attention.  Well, we're working on it being that way!   It's a continual work in progress!
  • We still hold hands every chance we get!
  • We make it a practice to not allow the sun to go down upon our wrath!
  • Most importantly, Brian has Jesus at the center of his life.  I have Jesus at the center of my life.  And Jesus is at the center of our marriage.

I would enjoy reading any suggestions you may have for living a happy, loving, godly married life!  Please feel free to write them in the comment box below!  We can all use more advice! 

Our wedding day!
Our wedding day!
Thirty-three years later
Thirty-three years later

"And if it
wasn’t for
God’s mercy
and His grace
there’s no way
we would
be standing
in this place.
But because
He has
been faithful
every step
along the way
here we are
together"


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May God Bless You,

Barb

4 Comments

  • Linda

    August 19, 2016 at 5:12 am Reply

    Dear Barb, what a wonderful list of things God has shown you & Brian! Your relationship, with Jesus at the centre, is an amazing light to those around you - and to all who read this post. I loved seeing your wedding photo along with that gorgeous one of both of you all these years later - you both look so happy, which I know you are! Oh, how I wish -again! - that I was not so far away! Sharing together in person would be so wonderful. The Lord may have placed us in different parts of the world for His good purposes, but I thank Him for causing us to meet via technology. That's very special - just think, that couldn't have happened not that many years ago! Hugs from across the ocean

    • Barb

      August 19, 2016 at 1:52 pm Reply

      Linda, my dear friend, I thank you once again for your words of encouragement!
      I'm sure that you and Dave have your very own special things which you put into practice in order to have a happy, loving. godly marriage which I think I remember you telling me was forty-plus years!

      I know what you mean when you say that you sure wish you were not so far away ... I feel the same way. But praise God for the gift of technology!

      I love you my friend across the ocean.

      Sending you lots of hugs and love ♡♡♡

  • Barb2

    August 20, 2016 at 12:09 pm Reply

    This post brought tears to my eyes, as I know a little more of the story than most. Congratulations to you both! I'm so very proud to have you as my sister-in-law and my sister in Christ!!! Love the pic and remember that day well!

    • Barb

      August 22, 2016 at 8:57 pm Reply

      Hey my sister-in-law, sister in Christ and friend!!
      Yes, it brought me to tears typing it out!!
      Some very difficult and trying days which got us to this point!
      BUT GOD is so VERY FAITHFUL!!
      And it does seem like it was just yesterday that we were standing in your parent's backyard with those pretty paper flowers hanging in the trees and Elaine Harding playing the "accordion type" instrument!!
      Oh what sweet memories!!
      Love ya BUNCHES

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