What does it mean to be married for 23 yrs. in our current culture? Well, considering that 50% of all couples who marry for the first time will divorce, I suppose you could say that we're just lucky enough to be in the other 50%, right?
In our case, you have to look at how many couples who have a child with significant special needs divorce. Some studies suggest that more than 80% of all couples who have a child with special needs will divorce. (This argument has long been used to justify aborting millions of children with special needs -- life will be expensive and stressful and mostly likely the marriage will end in divorce.) I suppose using this information, Lyle and I are a real success story.
What exactly are we doing to keep our marriage strong?
Well, 23 years ago yesterday, Lyle and I made a promise before God that we would love each other through life and everything that it brought us. We were younger and idealistic about the future -- what newly married couple isn't? We've had our trials and our joys over the years, but what is most important is that as the years continued to move forward, so has our relationship with the Lord. We have been open to life and have tried to give back generously to the Lord in time, talent and treasure. We have fought and forgiven, been joyful and celebrated, prayed and worshiped -- we've done it all knowing that marriage is forever and love is enduring. We have grown in age, certainly, and hopefully in grace and wisdom throughout.
There's no magic bullet or handbook for the perfect marriage -- there is the grace of the Sacrament of Marriage to sustain the fragile souls united, especially in times when the world's temptations seem too difficult to resist. The closer Lyle and I have come to Christ in our marriage, the better equipped we are to handle the challenges together.
I can't imagine what life would have been without Lyle by my side for the last 23 years. I hope it is God's will that we have another 23+ years together. He was definitely chosen for me, not by me. He was placed in my life to bring me closer to God; he has done so from the start. I will love him always and be ever grateful to him for his love and patience with me, his most imperfect spouse.