Monday, March 29, 2010

In it for the long haul

Grandma and Grandpa shortly after their wedding

We visited my grandparents the end of last week, our Spring Break. Grandpa and Grandma have been married for 64 years. Aaron asked them how they met, and it was fun for me to hear the story again. I'd forgotten some parts. On a bus in Kansas in 1946, Grandma took an empty seat next to Grandpa. She had finished secretarial school; he had recently come out of the Air Force after the war. She snubbed him at first, but he carried her suitcase off the bus when the ride was over. A few days later, they rode the same return bus. Again, he carried her suitcase, and this time, invited her to lunch at a hotel. They ate and went on their ways, and in Grandma's words, "that was that." Well, not quite. A few weeks later, Grandma got a letter addressed to "Marcella Pinick, Del Monte Apartments, Topeka." No address, no zip code. Grandma had mentioned where she lived, and Grandpa went for it! Six months later, they married.

Aaron and I have been married 9 months. The newness and bliss is not quite as new and blissful. We are nowhere near 64 years, but we are beginning to see that marriage is hard work. I love Aaron more than I did on June 20, 2009, and at the risk of sounding sappy, I thank God everyday for the gift of my husband. He is so many things I did not even know I needed. These months of married life have stretched and challenged me in a way that singleness never could. Of course, everyone's story is different, but God has used marriage in my story to refine me, to expose my selfishness, to uncover my pride, and to teach me a new depth of love.

A few weeks ago, I bought a shabby little book at a thrift store called "Meditations for the Newly Married." As shabby-looking books sometimes go, the inside is a far cry from the cover. It's a gem. The author, John Drescher, writes in the first chapter,

"In a sense, all before was artificial. Until now you met under favorable circumstances. You were prepared for each other. Now life cannot be artificial. It is lived too close. You will be together always--when circumstances are favorable and unfavorable; when you are prepared and unprepared; when you are rested and fatigued; in sunshine and struggle, delight and disappointment. You will no longer see, feel, act, understand, or pray the same. Yours is a shared life now."

A shared life. I wonder what life will be like if God grants us 64 years together. Will Aaron help me up the stairs as Grandpa does with Grandma? Will I help him decide when the pizza is done, as my Grandma does, although he must put it in and take it out? Will we give each other a hard time when we play board games with our grown grandchildren? I hope so.

Thank you Grandpa and Grandma, for living your life together. In an age where marriage is no longer considered binding, thank you for staying the course. It is a beautiful thing to see your commitment. Like you, Aaron and I are in this for the long haul. You inspire us. We love you both. So very much.