“You’ve been married how long?” “Thirty years!” In an era where divorce rates are soaring, three decades of commitment seems at odds with the national norm. Our marriage has not been a walk in the park, yet each year seems to be richly sweeter. My attitude has been to enjoy the roller coaster of marriage. When I said yes, I tightened the seatbelt and braced for the bumps, turns and peaks.
August 14, 1982, was just the start of the coaster ride moving quickly to a high peek, as we packed our belongings and settled in Denver, Colorado. We continued to build momentum as we secured jobs, I as a manager for a ladies health spa and he as a graduated assistant basketball coach at the University of Denver. Young, strong, united we reached the top of the first roller coaster crest that first year. Then we started to descend.
The next six years we plummeted downward traveling unknown roads, life lessons, and stupidity. It seems so very long ago, those first seven years where employment consumed us and learning to live together seemed to take the better part of our love. We slammed into married life with the probability of separation looming as every conflict turned into a tug of war over who was cooking, cleaning, earning the money, changing diapers, doing the laundry, writing out the bills, and completing the taxes. Crazy to think that we battled over such material matters, when what we really wanted was to be holding each other. The moment we realized love could melt our arguments and self-pity is when we started up the next summit of the marriage coaster.
Looking through the eyes of our first-born brought us back to unity. He was almost two when we realized we had been leading separate lives, just meeting in the middle when we had to. Our son reached out smiling and happy as he pulled us together with his chubby arms, “Mommy, Daddy, love you.” Our daughter’s birth and care brought us more clarity and so much closer to the true meaning of married life: friendship, faith and FAMILY- the holy trilogy of marriage.
My college sweetheart has my heart for life. He is my best friend; the first man to truly hold my concerns and dreams as precious as his own. Faith in one another, equal to our bond in God’s presence has illuminated our hearts and life. Our unity empowers, perseveres and endures even the deepest valleys. I envision the next 30 years with elation. We are still on the coaster, but with our arms linked and our soul on purpose. I am in awe of the blessings in our lives and humbled by the lessons, which have brought us here.