Journalist and author Mignon McLaughlin once said, “A successful marriage requires falling in love many times, always with the same person.”
After dating for over three years, Mary and I finally were able to marry. She completed her nursing degree and I was going into my final year of military service. Our long-distance relationship of me living in southern Virginia and Mary living in Pennsylvania would come to a welcomed end. We would stop saying goodbye for months at a time and end going to pay phones with pockets full of coins…finally.
We were newlyweds feeling as though we were playing house. Everything was new: living together, sleeping together, eating most meals together and hanging out 24/7 together. After an amazing two-week-long honeymoon, we settled into our new apartment in Newport News, Virginia, six hours from any family. It was glorious, fun, exciting, new and in our minds, permanent.
Yes, we were young and we were inexperienced. We had no track record of marriage for ourselves, no experienced sexual lives, no marriage mentors or counselors, but we made it. We prayed. We found an awesome church home that became family. We volunteered in ministry together. We played together and we reached out in love to our neighbors together. We grew in our relationship day by day, paying our bills, attempting to fill our apartment with furniture, communicating about everything and finding agreement in as many areas as possible.
We rarely had a disagreement because neither of us was disagreeable, rather we were happy, elated really. We were in love. Discovering the one you want to spend the rest of your life with, finding the one that captures your heart, well, it was remarkable.
That was 44 and a half years ago. What has changed and how are we different concerning all of the above? We’re gray haired. (At least I think my wife has gray hair?) We’re slower; more intentional. We’re dealing with arthritis. We’re grandparents. We don’t hear as well. We have annual physicals in which the doctor asks us questions we never thought we’d be asked. But then again, we love doing the same things and have such similar thoughts from long-term agreement and communication. We’re best friends and we accept our differences as marital strengths. We love growing older together, still holding hands, still kissing and still saying “I love you” each and every day.
It’s good, really good and we truly give God thanks for one another. One of the keys to all of this is as quoted above – we just keep falling in love over and over with the same person!