I have a rather magnificent view as I write today–I am on a cruise ship, halfway between Quebec City and Charlottetown, P.E.I. on the Gulf of St. Lawrence. It’s a perfectly beautiful sunny day, and it happens to be my 40th wedding anniversary.
As we woke up this morning my husband John gave me a kiss and wished me a happy anniversary. When we sat down for breakfast, he handed me a little blue bag, the colour of Tiffany, presenting me with a beautiful eternity bracelet that carried the message, “I will love you always and forever.”
I am pretty blessed and a little bit spoiled, right? I certainly don’t take any of this for granted, as we have worked and fought hard to enjoy the abundant overflow of a marriage that is thriving and fulfilling today, because it wasn’t always so.
We are often asked ‘How do you stay in love for a lifetime?’ or “What’s your secret to enjoying a long and thriving marriage?” and the answer we usually give is simply, “STAY AMAZED!” This person you are married to is filled with endless wonder, and to think we could ever exhaust the beauty and mystery within them is absurd.
If I had to choose just one word that I find present in every single thriving relationship, marriage, and family, I would choose the word honour. To give honour is to bestow value, respect, esteem and dignity upon someone. It is a word that is present in most marriage vows, which are so easily spoken and yet very challenging to live up to.
Always and forever is a by-product of honouring our past, our present and our future.
Our Past…Those who know our story know that we had a rough start in our marriage, and there were times I was pretty sure we wouldn’t make it. Yet there was a cry in my heart to push through the hard places and press into God for more. By looking at the legacy of some of my greatest heroes, my parents and grandparents, I saw that they too faced many stormy times. I learned from them how to honour God and each other, and how to push through to see better days ahead. Their courage beckoned me forward.
There is a beautiful legacy written within the story of my past that has helped build a bridge into my future. It is a legacy that is anchored in strong, committed faith. Because of it I, too, felt the weightiness of a sacred responsibility to honour my commitment to my husband and to God.
Our Present…As I ponder my present, I am keenly aware of how my past choices have shaped my current reality. This very moment is the most important moment of my life, as it is the only moment I can be certain I have. I must honour it by sensing the weight of its importance, as it is what will shape everything about my future.
Our Future …As I have stood on the strength of those who chose wisely to build into my life, I am so aware of the future that waits not only for me but also for those who are following behind me.
I now realize that as I was choosing to honour and invest into my marriage, I was also investing into the future of my children and my children’s children. That is the beauty of the gift that my parents and grandparents invested into my life: they paid it forward into my life and legacy, and for that I can never honour them enough.
In just a few weeks my oldest granddaughter will be graduating from high school. She is strong and brave, she knows she is loved and adored, and I am certain she sees glimpses of a brilliant future in front of her. Yet she must choose her own pathway, and I pray she chooses wisely to walk a road of honour, as she too builds upon her past, passionately embraces her present, and confidently smiles at a future that is beckoning her forward.