“Good morning, Babe!”
Those three wonderful words were the first I heard this morning.
Tomorrow, Pauline and I will celebrate our fifty-eighth wedding anniversary and this adventurous woman I married when we were in our teens has been an expert at keeping our love alive.
On our forty-fourth anniversary, Pauline wanted to go Para-sailing, which you probably know, takes you up about 400 feet above a boat while you’re towed around a lake at a high speed, providing a view and sensation that must rank somewhere between that of allied paratroopers on D-Day and the coming resurrection. We fulfilled that desire and it’s a great shared memory, but the following week my column ended urging my readers to refrain from telling Pauline about sky diving or bungee jumping.
Before either of us committed ourselves to each other, however, we had committed our lives to the Lord, which launched us on the ultimate adventure. This has enabled us to place our lives in the hands of the One who holds the future and given us courage to travel a different road than conventional wisdom would have allowed.
When I resigned a good paying job to enter the ministry at one-third the salary, it meant moving our family from our new home to an old farmhouse but there was not one negative word about it from Pauline. And our love was just as warm in that drafty cold old house as it would have been in a mansion.
We’ve learned a lot about love over the years.
There’s the joy of listening and watching for things that please one another. Lovers keep their eyes and ears open for hints about desires that seem unlikely to be fulfilled and then fulfill them.
Since there aren’t any perfect people, couples who learn the importance of instant forgiveness have discovered a great treasure. Life’s too short to hold grudges and some who feel wronged waste days, weeks or even years stewing about things that should have been forgiven on the spot and forgotten as soon as possible.
Husbands and wives who refuse to criticize relatives help keep love alive. We’ve chosen never to say a negative word about in-laws and this has kept us from wounding words that would have accomplished nothing and might have done lasting harm.
“How much time do you expect to spend fighting during your life together?” I asked the prospective bride and groom sitting across the desk from me.
Surprised, they laughed.
Not many who plan for marriage talk about the time they may lose in coming battles. Perhaps if they did, there would be fewer breakups.
A young wife and member of a couple’s class I was teaching said: “My husband and I were just about to begin another argument when I remembered that fighting is a waste of time. She had learned the previous week’s lesson well and now was applying it.
Keeping love alive requires expressing it early and often. That’s why my response to those first wonderful words I heard this morning were: “Good morning, Sweetheart!”