He says the first date was when she asked to go for a ride on his motorscooter. (Motorscooters were cool before motorcycles became popular.) She says the first date was when he asked her to go for the ride. The issue has never really been resolved. But decades ago this junior high school escapade (that ran out of gas literally, but not figuratively) was the beginning of a romance that led to marriage after college, and now a long record of moving forward together.

What has helped hold this marriage together for so long? We tell people that any couple who can survive filling out their income tax returns together year after year—and keep talking through that ordeal—this points to ingredients that make a marriage last. Some may say it's more a matter of chemistry. But we are sure the answer lies in respect, willingness to compromise and communicate, the expression of both human and spiritual love and affection, patience, humility, forgiveness. The list is much like what society typically may say makes a marriage manageable.

He says, with a little frustration, "You're spending too much on clothes." She says, feeling a bit defensive, "I just don't have anything to wear." Yes, there have been the same kinds of issues that any other couple may face. And those qualities on the above list can be a great help. But we feel that success in marriage can be explained by first going right to the core of where that long list of qualities originates. The key, we suspect, is that we don't care for or think about each other quite as much as we care for and think about God. In other words, the first love in our life is God. Not too complicated. Of course, that doesn't mean we have no interest in what each other's life is about. It means the way we relate to each other has first to do with how we relate to God.

Enjoy 1 free Sentinel article or audio program each month, including content from 1898 to today.

May 24, 2004

We'd love to hear from you!

Easily submit your testimonies, articles, and poems online.