Marriage is a bloodless martyrdom, dying to self, the false self we have constructed so that we can live together as our true selves. That’s a good, hard, joyful process! Over time I have been taught so much by Hope, but a good list must have limits, so here are thirty-one truths for our thirty-one years together.
I. Truths of Behavior
- Hope loves gentle touch and gentle words.
- Teasing is not pleasing.
- Don’t do mean things.
- Discover the way she feels loved and do those things, not what you want. (Hope loves acts of service more than gifts.)
- Hope is not “most women.”
II. Truths of Life
- Not every day is a good day, but some days are.
- Do not wish your life away: this is the time we have now.
- Life has seasons. Do not try to live a whole marriage in one of them.
- Forgiveness is the mightiest sword.
- Total sharing is the goal: learn to enjoy what she enjoys. (Band music forever!)
III. Truths of Jollification
- Sometimes “organized fun” is fun. (Waiting until “fun just happens” can take a long time.)
- Play hard, but play for community. Make sure she likes you at the end of the game.
- Those who make the feast should not also have to clean up the feast.
- Wine makes the heart glad.
- Any excuse for a feast, but they are best after a fast.
IV. Truths of Sorrow
- When a child dies (God bless Edmund!) or other sorrow comes, the results are impossible to predict. Go slowly.
- Try not to discuss the marriage during exhausting times. (“No serious discussions” during finals week.)
- Words said in sorrow are not necessarily deep truths for all times.
- Bad things remain bad forever, but love can endure, thrive, and grow. Hope springs eternal, just slowly at times!
- Good things can come from bad things, but the exact growth cannot be predicted.
- If our kids grow up and still like us, that is a good thing and perhaps one of the few we can and should control.
- Loving is not approving. Love always. Approve as we can.
- We make mistakes and so must say “I am sorry” to our children.
- We taught our children to love God and do as they will. They chose the outcome.
- Much good we have done is due to our parents, but much bad we have done is not because of them. The same applies to our children.
VI. Truths of Growing Older
- Beauty is objective and Hope is beautiful. A grown man learns to see the beauty in a mature woman.
- Looking back requires honesty and mercy. One should not look back often.
- Cherish holidays.
- Let go of one good for the next good.
- You cannot have a second honeymoon, but you can have an awesome thirtieth anniversary.
Deep Truth: Love comes from seeing beauty and beauty seeks the beloved. The beloved can only be safely found in truth and with goodness. Meditate on her beauty. Consider her goodness. Learn her truths.
Happy anniversary, dearling.