“Different Styles, Perfect Pair” – Thoughts on a 29th Anniversary

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Even though we have different styles, we’re still a perfect pair…

Admittedly, cards for Anniversaries can be cheesy. But somehow I liked the one above. For today is our 29th Anniversary and a celebration over the weekend reminded us once again of what it means to continue on this journey called ‘marriage’.

Each year when July 15 rolls around I wonder: Should I do a blog post? Should I write about us? About our marriage?

And every year I have done so with a lump in my throat and a wonder if I should have.

But in an era where marriage is less and less a sacrament, and more and more about ‘love’ alone – I think it’s worth it. I think it’s worth taking a look at the For better and For worse pieces of this mysterious institution, designed by God and carried out by fragile, broken men and women.

29 years is a lot of life. A lot longer than we lived as single people. Sometimes 29 years feels like a whole lot of ‘young’; a lot of joy and laughter. Other times 29 years feels like a whole lot of ‘old’. a lot of tears and anger.

For there are times when you laugh until your stomach aches and you can’t imagine life without this person. And then there are times when you are so angry you wish evil thoughts on this person – the one to whom you pledged your troth.

For Better or For Worse has different meanings now than it did to a 24 and a 23 year old – and yes, I am older than He.

For better now means joy-filled weekends when we can get away, time with our kids discussing deep topics or laughing until it hurts; dreaming together; me still laughing at his jokes – even after all this time. For better means ocean walks and figuring out what it means to love God and love each other.

For worse now means a lot of pain and heartache; too many moves; not enough Grace.

For richer means a trip to St. Maarten for our 25th anniversary; dinners at the Emerson Inn with Oyster Bay Savignon Blanc in crystal goblets; buying me real gold earrings.

For poorer means learning how to pay off debt and say ‘no’; losing a home and paying for college.

In sickness now means melanoma checks and high cholesterol, colonoscopies and mammograms.

In health means walking for miles and energy to work hard in our fifties.

And through all this somehow Hope has been stronger than Despair; Laughter more powerful than tears; Joy infinitely more determined than sorrow.

I still have the red shoes and in winter He still has the tan boots.

We are opposite in some things and on the same page in others. We are indeed “different styles but a perfect pair” – a pair that could only have been thought up and orchestrated by God Himself.

And those are my thoughts on the 29th Anniversary of a Brave Marriage.

40 thoughts on ““Different Styles, Perfect Pair” – Thoughts on a 29th Anniversary

  1. Marilyn, What a beautiful tribute to your love and life together. Happy Anniversary! James and I celebrated our 39th on St. Patrick’s Day and we still exclaim, “I’m so glad we found each other!” I bet that you two do too! Oh, and I am also 10 months older than James so I truly am his “old lady.” :) All the best, Terri

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  2. We will never forget that day 29 years ago! Still have the blue shirt. (doesn’t fit now, but one of those things that will be treasured forever.)

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  3. Happy anniversary Marilyn and Cliff! love your post. Love that you are living committed to each other, bucking the trend to live for self and give and walk away when it all gets too hard. We just celebrated our 16th anniversary. So amazed at God’s grace in getting us this far!

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  4. Happy Anniversary, Cliff and Marilyn! you do make a great pair! We also celebrated our 29th this year, in may, and can really relate to the “for better or worse, for richer or poorer,…” Glad the strong commitment is still there. May you enjoy 100 more years of matrimonial joy!

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  5. HAPPY 29th ANNIVERSARY! Love that picture of both of you with Mel and Christi-Lynn, and that other little girl – can’t remember her name. But I do remember that she belonged to Sam and Sharon. (Did I get their names right??) But I love the other picture more because it is the proof that you have stayed together for all the better and all the worse. And after our 62 years together, I can say that it does seem as if there is more of the better as we stay together longer. Our old love becomes more special. Love you both so much.

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    1. Thanks Mom! Love this quote and yet, it is Bethany who is in the picture with Christi-Lynn and Mel. And you and dad have an Old Love – the best kind!

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  6. Happy Anniversary. We celebrated 32 years in April and you so well communicate what a real picture of marriage is. A long lasting commitment to marriage, indeed, for better or worse is such a beautiful example to the next generation of stability and hope. Glad you had a weekend to celebrate. Here’s wishing you many more and when you become truly compatible you will be racing wheelchairs down the halls :-)

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  7. Did you know: It makes a good marriage if the woman is older, because “It takes a mature man to marry an older woman”. Voice of experience: I have 3 years on Russ.
    Love you, Aunt Ruth

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    1. I loved your comment that you sent via email and I proudly wear the older age :) As I say to Cliff – “When we’re old, and YOU’RE grey…” Looking forward so much to seeing you.

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  8. Marilyn and Cliff:
    I tried twice to send my longer greeting – no success. I’ll send an email. Anyway, Happy Anniversary for you and our daughter Karen. LAA (love as always) Aunt Ruth

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  9. Happy Anniversary to you and the husband! We’ll celebrate 34 in Aug! Your thoughts are so true. Our 3 kids have all married since July 2011…yes, we are BROKE!!!….and one thing we told them over and over is that you have to CHOOSE to love and honor ‘your troth’ (as you so cleverly put it)…that just as Christ CHOSE to climb on the cross for me…there will come a time when you have to choose to love, honor, stay married. My parents modeled that but I don’t remember them actually verbalizing it. What breaks my heart is when someone (like a sales clerk or another stranger) asks “How long have you been married?” and when I reply 34 years, they seemed shocked and act as if 34 years is such a long time; I don’t think of 34 years as a long time b/c my parents were married 61 before my father passed….I hope we can get to 61 or even more :)
    So Happy Anniversary! and blessings on you both and yours!
    Cathy

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    1. Thanks so much Cathy! My parents were the same. I never remember them verbalizing it …. they just lived it. Maybe much like we are to live the gospel!

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  10. Happy Anniversary Marilyn (and Cliff)! I loved this post! And your part about marriage being a sacrament and not just about ‘love’ was great – so different from what we see in society -which tells us that if we don’t feel ‘in love’ then we give up on the marriage. Not that I would know, I’m single, but I still enjoyed reading this!

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    1. Hillary – never undermine what you know! You know so much …. wisdom is worn well by those who are single and can see things about marriage that we are blinded to. Thank you so much for your friendship.

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  11. 29 years is nothing to sneeze at! It takes courage and grace, honesty, vulnerability, lots of talking, lots of walking away, lots of letting go, lots of holding on. Marriage is sacred and holy and hard. Today I wish you both joy…layers and layers of it!

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    1. “Marriage is sacred and holy and hard” …. Can I hear a resounding AMEN?! Thank you Robynn. yesterday was mundane but the weekend was glorious. Much like life.

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  12. Hi Marilyn,
    Happy Anniversary!
    Today is 41 for us. It’s hot so we’re going on a cave tour under the Erie Canal to stay cool.
    Your cousin Karen

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    1. Wilma – thank you. Your words mean more as I know you know what it is like to love and to lose and yet be so grateful for the time you had with John. Thank you for your example in this.

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