My husband, Gary, and I will have been married 50 years this month. So we should have learned a few things about handling conflict. One thing I know, is that 5 months before my marriage, I had no idea. I wrote this paragraph in January of 1970.
Where will God lead me? Us? It's curious and hard to trust completely. Gary is stronger than I, I think, and he doesn't worry. Sometimes I wonder what's ahead. It's exciting being a Christian, and giving Jesus your life. I've given Gary my life, too, or will be in June. That's why we need to be Christians, so we can be one, and there won't be conflicts, I guess. Two will go two ways - mentally as well as physically. One can only go one way.
Oh, how naive I was! I came to the realization rather abruptly in the months following our marriage that Christians are not immune to conflict. We were no longer 400 miles apart, and we argued about everything. We didn't know anything about conflict resolution. But somehow, we made it 50 years. Both of us valued the vows we had made, till death do us part, and we believed in commitment. We loved each other and our Lord. We weathered the conflicts.
And we continue to do so. Stay-at-home orders are not always a picnic with those you love. But we rejoice that God has given us so many years together, three wonderful children, a daughter-in-law, and 7 grandchildren to broaden our love, and adventures too numerous to count. So we still weather the conflicts.
This picture was taken at Christmas before our wedding in June. The man to my right is my brother and his son is on Gary's lap. That little boy was our ring bearer in our wedding.
The same weekend I wrote the paragraph on conflicts, I also wrote this poem:
Oh to be in your arms again!
Sweet heaven again.
It's been so long I've been away.
Tell me that you love me, love me, love me,
And I will stay.
Surely, I've never loved before -
This is, oh, much more.
Hold me, hold me, hold me,
And I'll not leave again.
Of course, I did have to leave. We both had our spring semesters of college to complete before June. But Gary had track to keep him busy, and I had wedding plans and preparations.
In 1969, if you lived in a college dormitory, this was what happened when you got engaged. Gary surprised me with a ring (after telling me he couldn't afford one, but secretly working at a bowling alley to make enough to purchase it.) His brother, Paul, got married in Cedar Rapids in October, and he was in the wedding and I was his guest. The Friday night before, he drove up to UNI. We went for a drive and he asked me to marry him. I said yes.
Did you capture all the warmth,
The glow, the joy,
Utter soaring ecstacy,
All beauty of our love?
Did you concentrate it, and set it thus
In a band of silver?
That must be why it sparkles, dances,
All light, all shine,
Little mirror of our love.
Gary was leaving for his second year of college at Emporia State Teacher's College. I would be leaving for my first year at University of Northern Iowa a few weeks later. We dated 400 miles apart, mostly through letters. I had no idea how much I would miss him.
This is the poem I wrote a few weeks after this picture was taken:
How many miles between us?
Let there be no miles tonight.
Wish on a star -
The star that touches the tree outside,
And I'll wish on the same.
Sigh to the moon -
The moon that caresses my window
And my sigh will be the same.
Whisper a prayer -
A prayer to the God that listens
And the same God will listen to me.
And your wish, your sigh, and your prayer
Will touch me
And you'll be here.
In a few weeks we will be celebrating 50 years of marriage. As a way of celebrating, I will be posting some of the poems I wrote for my future husband. Most of them are 60's sappy and not even good poetry, but all of them are a reminder of how quickly times slips away. Love well today.
Susan Lawrence taught elementary school for 33 years before hanging up her chalkboard to write and speak. She writes novels for both adults and middle grade children. Susan lives in Iowa with her husband and short-legged Lab, Molly. She has 3 children and 7 grandchildren who love to hear her stories.