Thursday was my grandparents’ 60th wedding anniversary. I called them to congratulate them on this milestone, and as my grandpa spoke, I could almost hear the smile in his voice. “Marrying your grandmother was the best decision I ever made,” he told me more than once. “A marriage can only last this long when two people really care about each other.”
He expressed no gushy comments about falling in love, no romantic poetry and no lengthy explanation of how to make a marriage last three times as long as I’ve been alive. His explanation almost seemed too simplistic. Could that really be the answer to long-term marital bliss?
As my grandpa spoke, I recalled the special moments I’ve seen him affectionately reach for my grandmother’s wrinkled hand. I remembered seeing him smile warmly at her when she made a funny joke. I imagined those beautiful moments when I could see the love my grandparents shared in their eyes and see that they loved each other more now than ever before. And I wondered, “Could it really be that simple?”
And then I remembered the story of how my grandparents met. They were in the same church group and saw each other often. My grandpa thought she was beautiful and was particularly fond of the fact that they were both Lutheran and German. So they started going to “the show.” And then they got married.
I’m purposely leaving the little details out, not because they’re not important, but because my grandparents’ story shows that true love can have humble beginnings. A marriage that not only lasts, but gets better as the years go on, doesn’t require fireworks or life-changing moments of clarity or a man-made manual of steps and tips to staying in love.
It requires selflessness, faithfulness and an understanding that the words “I do” mean “I do for life.” It requires an understanding that the purpose of marriage is not to fulfill our fanciful desires, but to bring honor glory to God. It requires simply caring about one another and laying our lives down for the ones we love.
My grandpa will admit that he and my grandma endured struggles along the way. But their faith in God, their commitment to prayer and their faithful devotion to each other no matter the circumstances have allowed them not only to overcome hardship, but also to walk hand-in-hand down the road of life, filled with joy and growing in love each day.