Dave and I are nearing our 7th wedding anniversary, and that sounds like a lot to me. It doesn’t feel that long, which I suppose is a good thing. He and I were together for 6ish years before that, so our relationship feels like a long term, stable thing.
This past weekend my husband and I drove to Indianapolis to spend time with his grandparents and his uncle Jim. I’ve written about them before, Dave’s grandfather always impresses me with his deep commitment to his wife. Bud mentioned this time that they would soon have their 65th wedding anniversary (sometime this fall, I think) and that he had been in love with Jane for even longer than that.
Something about the words he used struck me, especially now that she is slipping away, sleeping much of the day, rousing for meals but distracted and disoriented. Though she’s still quick with the wisecracks, she’s also prone to sighs and confusion about where she is and how she got there. I recall an earlier visit with them, years ago, before they moved from their home to the apartment, at a time when her illness was first starting to show. At that time, when we pulled away after our visit and he stood on the lawn and watched us go, he looked so alone.
This visit, he said quite clearly that he’d been in love with her for more than 65 years. His words made me think of how much of commitment to another person is made up of intention, how longevity like that takes a strong will. I’m sure there’s good fortune in there, choosing a mate wisely, the support of friends and family and (for them) church, good health that they both made it to their mid-80s…lots of things combine to make a 65th wedding anniversary even possible. What I admire in him is his intention to remain in love at a 65th anniversary, his intention to take care of her now that she needs him so strongly, and his intention to appreciate the good in whatever is happening right at that moment.
I’m humbled by his commitment, and feeling kinda lucky that my husband, born 50 years to the day after his grandfather, has some of the same qualities–a strong willed focus on the positive–that I so appreciate in his grandfather.