Happy Anniversary, My Love!

Thirty-five years ago to today I stood at the end of an aisle and awaited my lover’s approach in her long, white gown. We had dated over three years, graduated from college together six days before, and now stood on the dock of the greatest adventure of our young lives.

What is so amazing to me is that our love as only grown deeper over the years even as we have changed so much. I am not the same young man she fell in love with and she is not the young woman I fell for. We have both changed greatly over the years and not in ways either of us expected. Our continued joy has not been trying to stay compatible, but in fighting hard to find the “us” at every stage of our journey.

I’ve learned this over the past 35 years. Joy does not come from getting all that I want, nor is it giving Sara everything that she wants. The fullest joy has come in finding those things we can say yes to together. Wherever we could find that place where we could both participate wholeheartedly we found great joy.

That doesn’t mean we both don’t have things the other does not enjoy. Sara thinks golf is a stupid game, and I don’t enjoy the gardening that brings such peace and refreshing to Sara. So we have our times of doing things the other doesn’t have to participate in. But the bulk of our friendship is found where we share wholeheartedly our life together—the decisions that fit us both, the moments that express what is inside each of us, the friendships we enjoy together, and the spiritual journey that has drawn us closer to the Father’s heart.

Through awesome joy and bitter pain we’ve somehow found a way to get on the same page together. That hasn’t always been true in our journey. At many points we couldn’t see eye-to-eye and struggled with what was happening in the other. That’s been quite a process since we both are flawed humans, making our share of mistakes, at times taking the other for granted, and sometimes just wanting things our way.

But we’ve never settled for a disjointed friendship kept looking ways for our hearts to be joined together anew and find those things that would express both of us. That has not been easy, but we always put our growing friendship above any thing else we might have wanted for ourselves and the fruits of that has been its own reward. And our trust for each other has grown through it all because neither of us ever betrayed the other’s trust.

Right now we not only seem to be on the same page, but even in the same sentence. I don’t think we’ve arrived, and I’ve no doubt that time and circumstance will yet challenge us, but we are wholeheartedly committed to sharing this journey together, no matter what.

So we wake up to our 35th anniversary this morning ever more in love. And by love I don’t mean the starry-eyed romance of fiction, but the deep-seated friendship that does the hard work of caring, serving, changing, working together, being true, and all the while cherishing the other. I stand amazed at all we have shared together, and grateful that we have each stayed faithful to the promises we made to each while standing on that metaphorical dock a long time ago. We do see all of this as an act of God’s grace working in our hearts and lives and find great contentment in the settled love we share together.

Sara, thank you for 35 awesome years. Thanks for going on this journey with me and being a partner on it, helping shape the realities that have formed our life together. I love you, Sweetheart, only and always!

The fullest fruit of it I enjoy now is in the unbridled joy of my wife. She has always been fun to be around, but through our early years she was quite reserved. But as God has shaped her, she embraces life with a greater joy and it spills out at times in spontaneous laughter that rings with freedom and joy. Hearing that laugh is among my favorite sounds today.

We’d wish the same for every couple we know. A life of love and true friendship is a great reward! And if you’re not enjoying it now, there’s no time like the present to start on a different journey together, where you fight for your friendship more than anything else.

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42 Comments
  1. Cal May 17, 2010 at 10:51 am

    A hearty “Congratulations” and a prayer for God’s blessings to be yours (pl) further.
    Sincerely,
    c

  2. kent May 17, 2010 at 10:58 am

    Glad you two are reaping the rewards of all the hard work (joy and pain) of learning how to live as one human soul loving another human soul

  3. Lynn May 17, 2010 at 11:25 am

    Congratulations!

    I was all smiles while reading the entire blog … it’s a beautiful tribute to her and a heartfelt reflection of your lives together, before, now and beyond today. Very inspiring!

    I’m a 38-yr. old single woman. I hope that someday, I will find friendship, love and commitment like yours and my parents’ (they had their 40th anniversary on 1/1/2010). And I am wishing that it will still be in my lifetime!

    And I also hope to refer to someone, someday, as my “only and always.” 🙂

  4. Rocco May 17, 2010 at 11:27 am

    Awesome. Thanks for sharing.

  5. Kimberly Simpkins May 17, 2010 at 11:45 am

    Happy Anniversary!!!! Thanks for sharing!

  6. Mark Hoy May 17, 2010 at 12:46 pm

    Inspired…and thankful for you both.

  7. Stan Suttles May 17, 2010 at 1:30 pm

    Wayne, I still remember long talks we had during those years of your courtship of Sara. I could tell then that you were smitten and after 35 years of marriage and the way you speak of your wife now confirm once again that God is the giver of incredible gifts to his kids.

    Sonie and I are enjoying so much of the same things described in your blog as we are now in the 34th year of our marriage….Ain’t life grand!!!!!!

    Hey, We will be at Shaver Lake this summer and expect to stop in for a visit with your Mom and Dad. I look forward to that visit with great anticipation.

    Stan

  8. Marjorie House May 17, 2010 at 1:30 pm

    You two are a testimony to Love.
    Be Blessed and Happy Anniversary

  9. Cal May 17, 2010 at 1:51 pm

    A hearty “Congratulations” and a prayer for God’s blessings to be yours (pl) further.
    Sincerely,
    c

  10. kent May 17, 2010 at 1:58 pm

    Glad you two are reaping the rewards of all the hard work (joy and pain) of learning how to live as one human soul loving another human soul

  11. Lynn May 17, 2010 at 2:25 pm

    Congratulations!

    I was all smiles while reading the entire blog … it’s a beautiful tribute to her and a heartfelt reflection of your lives together, before, now and beyond today. Very inspiring!

    I’m a 38-yr. old single woman. I hope that someday, I will find friendship, love and commitment like yours and my parents’ (they had their 40th anniversary on 1/1/2010). And I am wishing that it will still be in my lifetime!

    And I also hope to refer to someone, someday, as my “only and always.” 🙂

  12. Rocco May 17, 2010 at 2:27 pm

    Awesome. Thanks for sharing.

  13. Kimberly Simpkins May 17, 2010 at 2:45 pm

    Happy Anniversary!!!! Thanks for sharing!

  14. Mark Hoy May 17, 2010 at 3:46 pm

    Inspired…and thankful for you both.

  15. Stan Suttles May 17, 2010 at 4:30 pm

    Wayne, I still remember long talks we had during those years of your courtship of Sara. I could tell then that you were smitten and after 35 years of marriage and the way you speak of your wife now confirm once again that God is the giver of incredible gifts to his kids.

    Sonie and I are enjoying so much of the same things described in your blog as we are now in the 34th year of our marriage….Ain’t life grand!!!!!!

    Hey, We will be at Shaver Lake this summer and expect to stop in for a visit with your Mom and Dad. I look forward to that visit with great anticipation.

    Stan

  16. Marjorie House May 17, 2010 at 4:30 pm

    You two are a testimony to Love.
    Be Blessed and Happy Anniversary

  17. Theresa May 17, 2010 at 4:31 pm

    Warmest congratulations! What a wonderful testimony. And I love the pic of Sara laughing.

    Bless you both on your special day.

  18. Theresa May 17, 2010 at 7:31 pm

    Warmest congratulations! What a wonderful testimony. And I love the pic of Sara laughing.

    Bless you both on your special day.

  19. Sue May 17, 2010 at 9:46 pm

    Beautiful, Wayne, and congratulations to you both. I love hearing about your relationship and this has rather inspired me. Beautiful.

    But oh, what a dorky looking thing in that picture!! HARRRR

    😛

  20. Sue May 18, 2010 at 12:46 am

    Beautiful, Wayne, and congratulations to you both. I love hearing about your relationship and this has rather inspired me. Beautiful.

    But oh, what a dorky looking thing in that picture!! HARRRR

    😛

  21. Richard May 18, 2010 at 6:04 am

    His richest and best continue to keep you drawn ever deeper into his matchless unfathomable love.
    Congratulations to both of you in celebrating his gift of love.

    Rich

  22. Don May 18, 2010 at 6:24 am

    A real milestone. 35 years and still talking! Still loving one another! May God give you many more.

  23. John Gurr May 18, 2010 at 7:45 am

    Wonderful, many congratulations!

    Alice and I are just begining after just 29 years and like you it just gets better.

    A point of concern however is Sarah’s hatred of golf (see the link on my web site then if she gets the golf bug she can bore you with her golf sories).

    Also your dislike of gardening.You put your divots back dont you?

    Many, many thanks for being such an encouragement not just to us but to many whom we have sent links to as you will see on my website.

    So next time you are in the U.K. bring your clubs.

  24. John Gurr May 18, 2010 at 7:51 am

    Change of email sorry

  25. Richard May 18, 2010 at 9:04 am

    His richest and best continue to keep you drawn ever deeper into his matchless unfathomable love.
    Congratulations to both of you in celebrating his gift of love.

    Rich

  26. Don May 18, 2010 at 9:24 am

    A real milestone. 35 years and still talking! Still loving one another! May God give you many more.

  27. Mary Ann May 18, 2010 at 10:17 am

    Wayne,

    Wow…”fighting hard to find the ‘us’ at every stage of our journey” and “we have found great contentment in the settled love we share together.” Marriage (any relationship really) takes work… hard work, diligent pursuit, focused energy to achieve the hoped for desire of that ‘settled love.’ Your words have inspired me to realize that indeed there are ‘stages’ in marriage and although circumstances around us may change, we can still find ‘us’ in each of them. My husband and I recently celebrated our 5th anniversary and have experienced multiple changes in those few years. We first dated back in the mid 70’s (high school sweethearts!) and were reunited in 2004 after a 24 year break. Our initial dream (back in the day) was to grow old together…well…we skipped the middle years (raising children together, etc.) and jumped right to the “planning retirement” years and enjoying the grandkids. Thank you for your encouraging and always hopeful words of life!

    Mary Ann

  28. John Gurr May 18, 2010 at 10:45 am

    Wonderful, many congratulations!

    Alice and I are just begining after just 29 years and like you it just gets better.

    A point of concern however is Sarah’s hatred of golf (see the link on my web site then if she gets the golf bug she can bore you with her golf sories).

    Also your dislike of gardening.You put your divots back dont you?

    Many, many thanks for being such an encouragement not just to us but to many whom we have sent links to as you will see on my website.

    So next time you are in the U.K. bring your clubs.

  29. John Gurr May 18, 2010 at 10:51 am

    Change of email sorry

  30. Mary Ann May 18, 2010 at 1:17 pm

    Wayne,

    Wow…”fighting hard to find the ‘us’ at every stage of our journey” and “we have found great contentment in the settled love we share together.” Marriage (any relationship really) takes work… hard work, diligent pursuit, focused energy to achieve the hoped for desire of that ‘settled love.’ Your words have inspired me to realize that indeed there are ‘stages’ in marriage and although circumstances around us may change, we can still find ‘us’ in each of them. My husband and I recently celebrated our 5th anniversary and have experienced multiple changes in those few years. We first dated back in the mid 70’s (high school sweethearts!) and were reunited in 2004 after a 24 year break. Our initial dream (back in the day) was to grow old together…well…we skipped the middle years (raising children together, etc.) and jumped right to the “planning retirement” years and enjoying the grandkids. Thank you for your encouraging and always hopeful words of life!

    Mary Ann

  31. Jeff Andrechyn May 18, 2010 at 2:06 pm

    Wayne and Sara

    We share the same anniversary but 11 years later 🙂

    We had fun last night and hope you guys did too.

    Hey Wayne – I took American History in college this year. It was so much fun that Robert joined me for the second half. We had so much fun that they gave me “history student of the year.”

    Much love to you and Sara

    Jeff

  32. Kathy May 18, 2010 at 2:11 pm

    Wayne and Sara,
    Not many can put it into words so well, that is beautiful! Pat and I wish you many more. We will celebrate our 39th this June and we’re going flyfishing together. What you wrote could’ve been us we’ve been through ups and downs and I wouldn’t change a minute it is worth it. Bless you both, Kathy

  33. Jeff Andrechyn May 18, 2010 at 5:06 pm

    Wayne and Sara

    We share the same anniversary but 11 years later 🙂

    We had fun last night and hope you guys did too.

    Hey Wayne – I took American History in college this year. It was so much fun that Robert joined me for the second half. We had so much fun that they gave me “history student of the year.”

    Much love to you and Sara

    Jeff

  34. Kathy May 18, 2010 at 5:11 pm

    Wayne and Sara,
    Not many can put it into words so well, that is beautiful! Pat and I wish you many more. We will celebrate our 39th this June and we’re going flyfishing together. What you wrote could’ve been us we’ve been through ups and downs and I wouldn’t change a minute it is worth it. Bless you both, Kathy

  35. Wayne May 18, 2010 at 8:22 pm

    Thanks to all of you for your gracious greetings. Much appreciated from you all. And to those we share the date with… Happy Anniversary to you guys too!

  36. Wayne May 18, 2010 at 11:22 pm

    Thanks to all of you for your gracious greetings. Much appreciated from you all. And to those we share the date with… Happy Anniversary to you guys too!

  37. Robyn May 21, 2010 at 7:59 pm

    Wow, that was beautiful! My hubbie and I celebrated our fifth anniversary last month,..I know, that’s a blip on the radar, as apposed to 35! But I can see some , what see to me, radical changes our relationship, and life, It’s wonderful,..cause I can honestly say that I enjoy our marriage more than even the first week! It’s been a tough five years..but we’re better for them and better together. I hope that we can see what you just said in thirty more years. Many blessings to you and yours, Wayne!

  38. Robyn May 21, 2010 at 10:59 pm

    Wow, that was beautiful! My hubbie and I celebrated our fifth anniversary last month,..I know, that’s a blip on the radar, as apposed to 35! But I can see some , what see to me, radical changes our relationship, and life, It’s wonderful,..cause I can honestly say that I enjoy our marriage more than even the first week! It’s been a tough five years..but we’re better for them and better together. I hope that we can see what you just said in thirty more years. Many blessings to you and yours, Wayne!

  39. Deb Nepote June 8, 2010 at 5:11 am

    I would like to hear Sarah’s voice

  40. Wayne June 8, 2010 at 8:10 am

    Deb,

    See Living Loved in Marriage at: https://www.lifestream.org/audio-library.php

    Or podcasts I’ve done with Sara at the top of this page: http://thegodjourney.com/archives/archives-by-guest/

  41. Deb Nepote June 8, 2010 at 8:11 am

    I would like to hear Sarah’s voice

  42. Wayne June 8, 2010 at 11:10 am

    Deb,

    See Living Loved in Marriage at: https://www.lifestream.org/audio-library.php

    Or podcasts I’ve done with Sara at the top of this page: http://thegodjourney.com/archives/archives-by-guest/

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