A reporter called to interview me about my long marriage. We’d surpassed the 30-year mark and we qualified. “How did you meet?” she asked.
“Well, Ramona moved in next door. So, I chose my life motto, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’”
The reporter laughed and asked. “Have you been together ever since?”
“Pretty much. She broke up with me twice in eleventh grade. But persistence is my middle name.”
“What challenges does that present?”
“Well,” I said, “we had no economic security, so those were scary days. But we learned to budget and scrimp and save. I look back and think I made one of the most important decisions of my life when I still had pimples. But we shared the same goals. Love each other. Put the other first. Stay committed whatever comes our way.”
“Did hard things come?”
“Ya. As early as grade ten, I knew Ramona was at risk for Huntington’s Disease. She didn’t carry the gene, but three of her siblings did. All have died. She has battled Epilepsy. But the hard times made us stronger. We share a strong faith, and the commitment to leave a legacy of faithfulness. We believe that forgiving and serving each other brings true fulfillment.” “What are other challenges of marrying young?”
“Well, we were pretty immature. She once stole my rubber ducky from the bathtub. Seriously, we were two naïve, selfish, immature kids. Which is a recipe for disaster. But in some ways we grew up together. Unlearning things is harder than learning them.”
“What’s been the biggest help in your marriage?” she wondered.
“Laughter helps. Ramona told me she cleans the toilet when she’s mad at me. She uses my toothbrush.”
She laughed. I’m not always sure what to say about faith when talking with secular media. The truth is, apart from a relationship with Jesus, we never would have made it. He gave us the strength and wisdom to fulfill our wedding vows. I told the reporter this and she didn’t seem to mind.
“We realized early that we needed outside help,” I admitted, “so we prayed every single day together. We made friends and had wise mentors who are still in our lives. I’m told we’ll live four years longer on average by staying married, so we plan on doing that.”
“May I talk with your wife to verify some of these things?” the reporter asked.
“Not right now,” I said. “She’s cleaning the bathroom.”
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