by Patti Richter
At the beginning the Creator ‘made them male and female’ . . . they are no longer two, but one. Therefore what God has joined together, let man not separate. Matthew 19:5-6 NIV
How should we celebrate?
I chew on that question yearly in view of my wedding anniversary, especially ahead of those big ones, which seem to call for something out of the ordinary.
After more than 40 years of marriage, I’m amazed that “as long as we both shall live” has turned out to be quite a long time. And so much has changed over those decades.
A few months before we married, Jim bought his first new car, a Pontiac Sunbird, for approximately $3,000. The leaded gasoline for our honeymoon trip cost around 50 cents per-gallon. A year later we bought our first home, a small white stucco house priced at $27,000.
But increases in the cost-of-living aren’t the only big changes. The young bride and groom in our photos hardly look familiar—even to us! And while we’ve transformed both inwardly and outwardly “for better or for worse,” the culture around us has likewise morphed.
The understanding of marriage as the union of a man and woman joined together by God(Matthew 19:5-6) has suffered from the effects of radical social changes. The institution of marriage has taken an unholy trajectory, and Christian families aren’t immune from the fallout.
Celebrating a decades-long wedding anniversary is now less common than it should be, which is lamentable. But that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t celebrate it, with thanks to God, who ordained marriage and sustains it.
I realized on our fortieth anniversary the significance of such a span of years. The Israelites spent 40 years in the desert before entering the Promise Land. And King Solomon enjoyed a glorious 40-year reign over Israel before he died. The nation soon divided in a hostile divorce after his death. God’s people had gone from poor to rich and from depending on God to trusting in horses and chariots.
Marriages can follow a similar track and leave everyone wondering what went wrong.
Success in marriage depends upon God’s help but also benefits from viewing one another as best friends for life. And though the Promise Land in marriage might be in our golden years, it still won’t be heaven. In his book, The Songs of Jesus, Timothy Keller says, “Christian marriages can display a small bit of the joy that awaits us in heaven.”
But even a small bit of heaven is surely something to celebrate.
This article brought to you by the Advance Writers and Speakers Association (AWSA).
About the author: Patti Richter lives in north Georgia with her husband, Jim. She is a freelance journalist and long-time faith columnist at BlueRibbonNews.com with more than four hundred published articles.
Patti is the co-author of the award-winning Signs of His Presence—Experiencing God’s Comfort in Times of Suffering. It is the story of Luann Mire, whose godly husband was blindsided by an indictment due to a former employer’s tax fraud. The resulting prison sentence and restitution took the once joyful couple into a long season of suffering as they fought judicial tyranny. Helpless to change her situation, Luann endured a painful examination of her life and found God faithful to His promises.
Join the conversation: What are some creative ways you have celebrated an anniversary?