Thirty-Seven Years

How do you tell someone you have loved for nearly forty years that you love them…in such a way that you really express the depth of your heart?  I met my husband 40 years ago when my “then boyfriend”  invited him to church with us.  He was the resident adviser in the dorm where my boyfriend lived.  His girlfriend went to school in another state and so we often invited him to do stuff with us.  We became best friends…and the rest is history.  As today we celebrate our 37th anniversary, I feel like the most blessed woman in the world.  Genesis 2:24

December 14, 1974

For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh.

I’m so grateful for God’s plan for  husband and wife to be united as one person, as repeated again in the New Testament.  I’m also amazed at God’s plan for His dearly loved church.  The lessons are endless.

Ephes. 5:31-32

    “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.” [32] This is a profound mystery–but I am talking about Christ and the church.

However, today I want to express gratitude to my husband.  I fell in love with him because of his integrity and sincerity.  I loved the way he loved God with such passion, had courage to obey the truth he read about in the Bible, and led from a tender and serving heart.  His spirituality and God-given wisdom was evident.  I deeply respected him from the beginning of the time I got to know him.  He was (is) also very athletic, smart and handsome, which I also admire(d).  37 years later I still feel the same way, only the feelings have grown exponentially.  The following poem, by my favorite poet, Edgar Guest, was read at our wedding:

     It takes a lot of living in a house to make it a home,
A lot of sun and and shadows, and you sometimes have to roam
Before you really appreciate the things you left behind
And hunger for them somehow, with them always on your mind.
     It doesn’t make any difference how rich you get to be,
How much your chairs and tables cost, how great your luxury;
It isn’t home yet, though it be the palace of a king,
Until somehow your soul is sort of wrapped around everything.
     Home isn’t a place that gold can buy or get up in a minute;
Before it’s a home there’s got to be a lot of living in it;
Within the walls there’s got to be some babies born, and then
Right there you’ve got to bring them up to women good, and men;
     And gradually as time goes on, you find you wouldn’t part
with anything they ever used- they’ve grown into your heart:
The old high chairs, the playthings, too, the little shoes they wore
You’d hoard; and if you could you’d keep the thumb-marks on the door.
     You’ve got to weep to make it home, you’ve got to sit and sigh
And watch beside a loved one’s bed, and know that death is nigh;
And in the stillness of the night to see death’s angel come,
And close the eyes of she that smiled, and leave her sweet voice dumb.
     For these are scenes that grip the heart, and when your tears are dried,
You find the home is dearer than it was, and sanctified;
And tugging at you always are the pleasant memories
Of those that are no more – you can’t escape from these.
     You’ve got to sing and dance for years, you’ve got to romp and play,
And learn to love the things you have by using them each day;
Even the roses around the porch must blossom year by year
Before they become a part of you, suggesting someone dear
     Who used to love them long ago, and trained them just to run
The way they do, so they would get the early morning sun;
You’ve got to love each brick and stone from cellar up to dome:
It takes a lot of living in a house to make it home.

Adapted from “It Takes A Heap ‘a Livin” by Edgar Guest

I believe this expresses well so many sentiments that have made our love even sweeter as the years go by.  Every year, every event…happy or sad, and however difficult or even easy… has added depth to the stones and mortar of our home.  Wherever in the world I am with my husband – is home to me.  I am so grateful that our marriage and family is built on the foundation of God and His word.  This is what has made it strong.

 Joshua 24:15

    But if serving the Lord seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your forefathers served beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.”




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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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