Forty Years

Forty years ago today I had just completed my last college final.  It had been a crazy time…finishing school, packing my life belongings in a few boxes and planning our wedding while my fiancé lived in another state.  He had begun a job as a campus minister five months prior. We dated in the days before computers and in the time when phone calls from state to state cost more than we had–so we relied on near-daily old fashioned letter writing (with real pen and paper and stamps.)  And yes, I still have the letters we wrote.

On the morning of this day forty years ago, our wedding day, I finished a few last minute errands with friends while Wyndham played football with his buddies from church.  That afternoon, we became husband and wife. scan0018

I am thrilled to celebrate forty years with such an amazing man.  In honor of this day I wrote out forty reasons why I fell in love with my husband…and forty reasons why I’m even more in love with him forty years later. scan0003

When I think of some of the reasons why I fell in love with my husband I am overwhelmed with gratitude to God, and to my husband.   It took me all of five minutes to list forty things. Here is a sampling:

  1. He treated me as someone significant.
  2. The guys on his dorm floor (where he was an RA) respected him.
  3. He thought for himself, but listened to others as well.
  4. He had an arm that could throw a football a long way-accurately.
  5. When we were just friends, and he hurt my feelings one day…he walked 30 minutes across campus to my dorm lobby and called me to come down so he could apologize. I think that is the moment I began to fall in love with him.
  6. He had many deep friendships. His friends knew he sincerely cared.
  7. He had deep convictions.
  8. He was an excellent thinker and very wise.
  9. He treated me with absolute purity.
  10. I walked past his car (old, old Chevrolet) one day and he didn’t see me. No one was around.  He was inside, praying passionately.  I kept walking…not wanting to interrupt. That scene was stamped in my mind. I could see the “realness” of his communication with God.

I could go on and on.  Forty years later, those reasons are still there….but the depth of that first love has exponentially grown.  We have experienced so much life together as we have raised our family, traveled to the poorest parts of the earth, seen amazing wonders of God’s creation, built treasured friendships, loved and served in the church, seen lives changed, prayed and prayed—often with tears, laughed deeply, cried, stood at bedsides of loved ones as they breathed their last breath, held each other’s hands, walked dogs, rejoiced in weddings and births, played with grandchildren,….all the while building  precious memories. IMG_1348

Unequivocally, God is the reason…the only reason we have been able to experience this wonderful love—as he continually shows us what love means.

Today I am especially thankful for the gift of forty years of marriage to my best friend and companion—a man full of integrity.  I relate to the chorus lyrics of an old hymn:

It gets sweeter as the days go by

It gets sweeter as the days go by

It gets sweeter as the moments fly

His love is richer, deeper, fuller, sweeter

Sweeter, sweeter, sweeter as the days go by

First love is special—but continual, seasoned love is even sweeter.

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  1. Trish Peters

    Beautiful, Jeanie! Congratulations on your 40 happy years together.

    • jeanieshaw

      Thanks, Trish. Great to hear from you.

  2. Marian Flammio

    Congratulations, Wyndham and Jeanie. Thank you for your example of great love for God and for each other. May God bless you with many more happy years together.

  3. Katherine Pugh

    Wyndham performed our wedding 36 years ago tomorrow.

    • jeanieshaw

      I remember that day. Congratulations and happy birthday!!

  4. Sheila Jones (@sheilapjones)

    A beautiful tribute to an amazing man and a marriage to be respected and imitated. Love you both!!

    • jeanieshaw

      Love you too, Sheila. You are a forever friend who has made such an impact in my life.

  5. Tammy Taxter Fleming

    Happy Fortieth Anniversary! wow. We are coming up on 28 in February. So much more life still ahead! Thank you for being one of the cherished couples out there ahead of us. Your marriage and relationships with God have encouraged and inspired us along with so many countless others. May God continue to bless and strengthen you both and all those whom you love. Keep the great news coming! love always xx

    • jeanieshaw

      Thanks for the encouragement Tammy. Love you much.

  6. jackfrederick

    I know your husband; what you say is true. I know you, too. We love you both – Jack & Gail Frederick

    • jeanieshaw

      Yes, it’s true. 🙂 We love you both. Miss the Fredericks.


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About Jeanie Shaw

After retiring from forty-five years in full-time ministry, Jeanie Shaw went back to school to earn her master’s and doctorate in spiritual formation and discipleship. She also serves as a certified Christian life coach who loves helping people discover the joy, peace, and purpose that come from finding and following God’s plan for their lives. She has taught classes and workshops all over the world and has written numerous books. She has four grown children, eight grandchildren, and a golden retriever who thinks he is human. When she is not reading, writing, coaching, teaching, or enjoying her family she might be found walking along rivers, learning new lessons about life.

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