Longtime Marriage

Jun 10, 2015

Sunday was Andy’s and my 46th wedding anniversary. We have been married for 70% of our lives. When we said “I will” to the beautiful and daunting vows in an Episcopal church, Andy was so young his parents had to sign a permission slip for the state of Maryland. “Yes, little Andy has our blessing to go on a lifelong field trip with Sybil.” It was a crazy thing Andy and I did. If we had been older we would have had the sense to be more scared. But we were convinced we were supposed to take this journey together.

I’ve been trying to write a post about our longtime marriage, but everything I write seems sappy or self-righteous. A few phrases and their visual images offer a playful, but succinct summary for me.

a playground,
a training ground,
a stomping ground
a campground,
a feeding ground,
a breeding ground,
a battleground,
a fairground,
a background,
a foreground,
an underground,
Holy Ground.

But another word that keeps popping up in my brain is community. Marriage is community. Without the myriad number of people in our lives who have encouraged us, chastised us, guided us, loved us, and prayed for us, we would not be together today. As a tight little twosome, we do not have the energy, creativity, or wisdom to weather the changes and challenges of growing up and living with another person. Support and training have come from both likely and unlikely sources. Family, friends, Christians, non-Christians, married people, single people, divorced people, old people, children. Clergy, therapists, authors, colleagues, alcoholics, addicts. “Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for by doing that some have entertained angels without knowing it.” (Hebrews 13:2 NRSV) For this journey, God has given us teachers and angels with many different faces. Our marriage is not just about the two of us. It is a communal undertaking.

Longtime Mariage Cropped


  1. LOVE this!
    and many many blessings to you on your Anniversary!

  2. Blessings to you both who have been and continue to be blessings to so many!

  3. Congrats on your continued journey. I am trying to do the same for Tom and me, approaching our 50th in less than 2 weeks. So far, what I’ve come up with is a box of notecards for him and one for me, to write a love note to each other, upon reflecting upon our journey. These are to be read, one day at a time as we return to the site of our honeymoon — the Smoky Mountains. I said I would do 50 stories in 50 days on my Napkinwriter, (www.napkinwriter.wordpress.com but the 50 stories will be stretched out through the end of this year, I believe. I remember regarding COMMUNITY, that a dear priest friend of ours said that was exactly what marriage is, and that we had better let others in or our marriage would not succeed. That is a Truth we have well-lived. I love the “ground” words. I am going to play with that. I also am going to post your blog as my guest blog today, hopefully assuming your permission.

    • Thanks for the reply, Susan. You are welcome to post it on your site. Love the name–napkin writer. Cool idea for your 50th. I learned the most about marriage from a nun and a priest in Cambridge, MA when my husband was in seminary and we were in a marriage growth group they ran. The “religious” know about living in community and they taught me a lot. Peace and joy to you on your 50th!

      • yes, we met our wise friend through Christian Family Movement on a rather earth-shaking retreat filled with much new knowledge for “us-marrieds”!!!
        Also, I guess you must have been quite young, as I’ve just seen a beautiful profile picture of the present you. Enjoy life and I believe we are fellow dancing monk-esses. I love Christine and we are discerning a pilgrimage to Ireland in 2016, inviting all miracles in to allow it to happen. Thanks for reprint permission.

  4. Family, friends, Christians, non-Christians, married people, single people, divorced people, old people, children. Clergy, therapists, authors, colleagues, alcoholics, addicts.

    YES, every one of these groups of people have truly helped me in our marriage. Every one!

  5. Congratulations, not just on / for the day, but also on the recognition of the remarkable journey . . . and for sharing your secrets to success with the rest of us! I / we will certainly “spread the good word”!

    May you continue to know joy, wonder, discovery, and a lifetime of love and happiness!

    Madge and Whit

    • Thanks, Madge and Whit. Not sure I have any “secrets to success” just know I can’t do it alone.

  6. Warmest congratulations and Happy Anniversary!


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