By Carolyn Tomlin
Contributing Columnist, B&R

senior-couple-silhouetteRecently a friend mentioned that she attended a class reunion with others who graduated from the same college. “I had not seen many of these people in years,” she said, “but like me, most of these couples had been married 45 years or more. With today’s high divorce rate, I was a bit surprised.”

According to a recent report from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, in 1900 there were 709,000 (9.3 percent) marriages per 1,000 total population and 55,751 (0.7  percent) divorces per 1,000 total population. In 2015 estimates were 2,221,379 (6.4 percent) marriages per 1,000 total population and 800,909 (3.7  percent) divorce rate per 1,000 population. Not only are there more divorces, but both males and females marry later than several generations ago. With improvements in health care, the longevity rate rises. This means many couples can expect to celebrate a golden wedding anniversary and beyond.

Due to circumstances beyond our control, not all marriages can be measured in length, but in the quality of the union. One such marriage was that of C. S. Lewis and Joy Davidman. Lewis writes, “We feasted on love, every mode of it — solemn and merry, romantic and realistic, sometimes as dramatic as a thunderstorm, sometimes as comfortable and unemphatic as putting on your soft slippers” (Today’s Christian Woman, September 2008).

Carolyn Tomlin

Carolyn Tomlin

Douglas Gresham, the stepson of Lewis talks about the marriage of his parents. Instead of the 40 or 50 years experienced in many marriages, they had only four. Joy died of cancer after they had been married only four years; C.S. died three years later. Yet through his writings we can learn about the true nature of marriage and love.

Simple ways to celebrate your marriage. If you’re like some couples, you celebrate the anniversary of your wedding, birthdays, Valentine’s Day, and Christmas each year. But when you think of the blessings of having a long-time marriage partner — wouldn’t it be fun to celebrate more than once a year? 

Like other worthwhile things in life, any form of celebration requires some planning. And couples report that those serendipitous occasions often provide the most fun and adventure.  Some may be expensive; others low or no cost. Use the following to make the most of your years together. 

• Plan a vacation. 

• Check with local colleges and universities in your area for plays, musical performances, and concerts. 

• Write a love letter to your spouse. 

• Attend a Christian marriage enrichment conference.

• Surprise your spouse with a “spur of the moment” event. 

• Talk about your life and future as a couple. 

• Keep a journal of your celebrations for the year. 

• Make prayer and Bible study a time of being together. Husbands and wives who pray for each other — in each other’s presence — maintain a deeper relationship with God.

Share your ideas with other adults in your Sunday School class and church. Become a role model for your adult children and grandchildren. Could your commitment as husband and wife be the one that becomes the foundation for their marriage?