In a magical setting on a snowy mountain in single-digit temperatures, we said “I do” 30 years ago. The first three years were fun but bumpy as I needed time to learn the trust that builds a mutual relationship with a life partner, and I was still seeking my sea legs as a stepmother. I was lucky enough to stumble upon a class at church called Couple Communication and in taking and teaching the course, Dave and I found what worked for us and we still use the skills today.

There were magical moments along the way. The birth of our son Connor, also on a snowy day. The family trip to England with the five of us that seemed to cement us as a family. The weddings of our son Kyle and our daughter Karmen and the birth of grandkids. But marriage is also made of ordinary days: bike rides in Shawnee Mission park, drinks on the screened-in porch where we unspooled the day, little notes hidden in lunch boxes or inside suitcases.

Even the best marriages are not always magic. There was a chapter where we were quite stuck and needed the wise guidance of a marriage counselor. I am eternally grateful to him. The preacher Walter Burghardt once said, “Love is patient and kind but lovers can be terribly rude and unkind.” Thriving marriages are not born in isolation but within a community of support, friends, family, teachers, pastors and counselors who advise us on how to let a holy love come to life within two people who are unique and sometimes stubborn.

We have a book where we write every year the highs and lows of the past twelve months of married life. This coming Monday, when we pull out the book, we will also write down the highs and lows of 30 years. And one thing I will write is “gift”. Dave has been to me the most incredible gift I could have imagined, and I deeply treasure our partnership. As it was sung at our wedding:

Come, my Joy, my Love, My Heart:
Such a Joy, as none can move:
Such a Love, as none can part:
Such a Heart, as joys in love.
— George Herbert, “The Call”

Grace and Peace,