Last weekend my husband, Kurt, and I celebrated 40 years of marriage. Knowing I wanted to talk about us this morning and knowing I wanted to share his thoughts, I asked him, “Kurt, when you think about our time together, what stands out?” Kurt, ever the wise one between the two us, shared three things in particular. Here’s what he said.
What He Said:
We both had great examples in the marriages of our parents. Grandparents, too.
Kurt’s mom and dad and my mom and dad met at PLU back in the late 40’s. All four of them graduated with teaching degrees.
My dad saw Mom on campus at the start of her sophomore year. That’s Mom and Dad in the photo. At the time Dad said to a friend, “I’m going to marry that girl.”
Kurt’s dad met his mom their freshman year. They were in class together. I don’t know that he said it out loud, but from the sounds of it, he also knew he was going to marry that girl.
Our parents were committed to their relationships from the start. They believed in God and each other. They fully expected to be in it for the long haul, as their own parents had.
Were there struggles? Disappointments? Unexpected challenges? Yes, but nothing they couldn’t figure out together, and nothing more important than family. They were there for the band concerts, the ballgames, bedtimes and books.
Mom and Dad set the bar high and lived exemplary lives.
Yes, we were very, very blessed.
What He Said:
We both make a great team.
Kurt believes we are better together, that we make each other stronger. He appreciates our individual strengths and also what we create together, which means the guy overlooks a lot of ditzy-ness. Yes, a lot!
Our team is not one with a GM and a coach, a star player and a bench warmer. No, we’re two people who believe in each other, who value each other’s strengths and abilities.
Kurt and I are equals in a partnership of love and respect. Two people who truly believe that whether looking for another 2-3 yards on the ground or throwing a “Hail Mary” for the score, we’ll make it happen together.
I love the cards we shared with each other last weekend. Both of them talked about the other person being our best friend, being the best thing that’s ever happened to us. Different cards but same wording.
My card began by talking about how we’ve been there for each other in so many ways—supporting, encouraging, making each other better. What he said in his card was that our love has made an incredible difference.
Just knowing we’re there for each other, supporting and caring for each other, means everything. Yes, we’re a team. Yes, we are very, very blessed.
What He Said:
We both find little ways to surprise and delight each other.
Before marrying us, our pastor asked to meet for premarital instruction. I wasn’t thrilled. I had a horrifying vision of failing some “Lutheran compatibility test.” After waiting nine years for the ring, I didn’t want to risk any irreconcilable differences.
And with lots of errands to run, I spent most of our Wednesdays together, sneaking peeks at the clock, wondering if the florist had called and if those brown tuxes were ready. Yes, brown. Trust me. It seemed like a good idea at the time. Not worried about the tuxes, Kurt just wanted to know where he needed to be and when.
Our focus may have lapsed at times, but Kurt and I came away from counseling with pastor with simple, yet profound advice. Here’s what he said:
“Try every day to do something unexpected, something special,
something unspoken and unselfish for the other person.”
And thanks to pastor, not a day goes by that I haven’t each been the benefactor of Kurt’s love and kindness and not a day when Kurt hasn’t been the benefactor of my own.
Kurt and I have a great time together. We have small conversations and bigger ones, small moments and bigger ones.
Sometimes of our conversations are the smallest. They might be a kind word or a clean car with a full tank of gas. Some days we just laugh; other days it’s an errand for the guy who’s working long hours. My Monday always starts with a call from Kurt just wishing me a great week.
Every day it’s something.
Every day it’s something for the other person.
We’ve had a long marriage of very small moments and we continue to be very, very blessed.
Notice the underlying theme, the one that’s bolded and italicized in our story?
Yes, it’s gratitude. We know that not every marriage works out. We try to remain focused on the blessings that surround us, that hold our family together, that strengthen us for those times that aren’t so great.
It’s gratitude that keeps life in perspective, lest we think it’s all about us and how great we are. Because it’s really not about what Kurt’s done or what he’s going to do, even about what he said; it’s really not about what I’ve done or I’m going to do.
It’s about what God does in, through, and around us. And for that we’re very, very grateful.
At our wedding, we included Psalm 100. It’s about what God does.
Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth!
Serve the Lord with gladness!
Come into his presence with singing!
Know that the Lord, he is God!
It is he who made us, and we are his;
we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.
Enter his gates with thanksgiving, and his courts with praise!
Give thanks to him; bless his name!
For the Lord is good; his steadfast love endures forever,
and his faithfulness to all generations.
Whether thinking about marriage or other relationships in our life, Kurt’s wisdom applies to what he did, what we do, and what God does. Here’s what he said:
- Watch for what God does around you.
- Know that God has made you part of a unique team with Him and each other.
- Find small ways—yes, very small ways—to support and encourage those around you, knowing that in some of the smallest ways you’ll have the biggest impact.
And then give praise for what God does–from whom all blessings come! I also give thanks for what he said.