40 years ago I married my high school sweetheart. The event took place on a hot Friday evening at 7:30 PM in the small country church where I was raised. After the pictures finally ended we were off to our honeymoon. The official week of honeymoon took place in Gatlinburg, TN and the surrounding area. I particularly remember having our picture taken in a stationery chair-lift set up for a picture spot. A stranger walked up to us and asked us if we would like him to take our picture. As we sat in that chair-lift that night I remember the feelings that caused me to have goosebumps. I asked my new husband a question, “Will it be like this in 20 years?” He promised me that it would be and I was satisfied, but only until I felt the need to ask the question again.
Our first residence was a small, furnished apartment in the upstairs of Mrs. Wagner’s house in Nashville, TN. The apartment was nothing fancy, but it was our first home. Both sets of parents helped us grocery shop and then, on our own we were. As a family of two, we made fond memories those two years in college. We grew closer, but I asked the question again, “Do you promise we will feel the same way about each other in twenty years?” Each time I was temporarily satisfied by the answer, “Yes, I promise.”
Upon graduation from college we moved to Raleigh, NC to serve at our church. We lived in a small apartment that we called home in Knightdale. Home is where the heart is, and our hearts were knitted together and continuing to grow closer and more alike. For some reason the question continued to be asked by me, “Will you promise to still love and care for me like you do today in twenty years?” The response continued to be the same, “Yes, I promise.”
Three years into our marriage we bought our first house in Wendell, NC. We were finally proud homeowners although the house needed much work. In the 10 years that we called this 1090 sq. ft. house our home we grew from a family of 2 to a family of 5. I was privileged to be a stay-at-home mom and have dinner prepared upon the arrival of my husband from his work day. I was very secure in our marriage and our love, yet the question I continued to ask, “Will you always love and care for me the way you do now?” The response never wavered, “Yes, I promise.”
After thirteen years of marriage we bought our second house. This house was close to the church. Less driving, for our oldest child had now begun school. There are many memories for our family in the walls of this house. Growing love, family fun, family togetherness and family altar were the norm. Although I felt at this time that we were on the right track spiritually, as a couple and as a family, I continued to ask the question, “Will it always be this way? Do you promise to always have these feelings for me as your wife?” The stability of my husband’s answer remained and was truthful—“Yes, I promise”.
In 1997, several changes took place in our life. We moved once more just down the road to where we live today and my husband became the pastor of our church. Our kids had begun to take up more of our time. The older they are the more time it takes to teach and train, plus time set aside to attend the ballgames and activities of each child. The busier we got the more frightened I became that maybe we wouldn’t make it to twenty years before life, love, and average marriage became the norm. What if the honeymoon was over? What if we got lost in our life, if you know what I mean?
In 1999, we reached it! Twenty years. Before the question came, the answer was given. “I told you we would still love each other and be close in twenty years,” my husband of twenty years said. I responded, “You were right. We made it! But what about the next twenty years?”
We have now reached the milestones of 25, 30, 35 and 40 years. Where has the time gone? The honeymoon lives on for us. Is it without work? No. It is with much work. Allow me to give you 5 suggestions for keeping the honeymoon in your marriage.
Maybe your honeymoon began and is fading or maybe your honeymoon never began. Make a concerted effort daily to continue the honeymoon. Like me, I would like to hear you say, “The honeymoon lives on.”