I rarely watch daytime television. Talk shows hardly keep my interest past the sensationalism. But every once in a while I’ll fold a large load of clean laundry in front of the TV. One such day I watched as a panel of women interviewed Sally Fields. Her accomplishments were heralded and her past success was acclaimed as she is obviously quite the icon in Hollywood. She was surrounded by women who clearly respected, if not adored her. The question poised to Sally was this: “is there anything that you haven’t accomplished that you wish you could have?” Her answer turned the conversation in a direction that I don’t think anyone on the panel or even a seasoned producer could have expected.
“I wish I could have celebrated a 50th wedding anniversary”.
Mild pandemonium broke out. Half the panel sat dumbly in stunned silence while the others tripped over each other restating all that she had accomplished. One women even threw in a personal testimonial about how Sally’s accomplishments had paved the way for her personal success. Sally responded to the near hysteria by simply stating that her response was to the question about an accomplishment that she hadn’t achieved. She wished she could have celebrated a 50th wedding anniversary.
This interview happened a number of years ago, but I remember it as clearly as I watched it yesterday. Or last week.
In fact – I witnessed a 50th wedding anniversary celebration last weekend. My folks.
It was a wonderful celebration. In a brief talk my dad addressed the beauty of what they have. 50 years of memories. Some good, some hard. He talked about loosing their four year old daughter and his mother in a car accident during the earlier years of their marriage. Then a few years later they lost a still born son. He acknowledged the vast experiences they have had together – including spending most of their adult lives in Africa working with impoverished communities. Then with tears in his eyes he put his arm around my mom and gave us the kernel of truth as to how their marriage made it.
Reading from his well worn Bible he turned to Psalm 127:1 “Unless the Lord builds the house, the builders labor in vain”
How did they make it to 50 years? They let the Lord build their house by implementing the principles from the bible. They created a marriage by first building a relationship with God and then making God and his truths the center of their lives and home.
His admonition and testimony was simply this. Unless we allow the Lord to build in our lives and our homes and our marriages – they won’t work.
His message rings true with my experience. My husband and I aren’t quite half way to 50 years of marriage yet, but we have experienced the reality of letting the Lord build our house. We’ve needed to tap into God for his divine love in order to truly understand and experience love. We’ve also had to relish in God’s forgiveness before we were able to extend forgiveness to each other.
I’m looking forward to my fiftieth wedding anniversary. I’m anticipating being able to stand in front of my children, grandchildren and great grand children and say the same thing that my folks say. We might even throw a little party and sing the old hymn “Great is thy Faithfulness”.
It won’t be anything that Hollywood would promote and I probably never get any air time on a talk show – but I am working toward a lifelong marriage. I realize that I can’t control how long we will live, but I can work toward making my marriage strong as long as we have each other. I am trusting in a faithful God who will give my husband and I what we need to be faithful to each other… hopefully for even more that 50 years.