Sunday, September 17, 2006

200 Years of Wedded Bliss

So here’s a math question.

How many couples (all married the same number of years) does it take to have 200 years of marriage?

The answer: Well it isn’t 1 – I don’t know of anyone to-day who lives that long.

It likely isn’t 2 because I’m not aware of any couples that live that far past 100.

3 doesn’t work – unless we are going to count part years.

4 is OK – we can likely find 4couples who have celebrated Golden Anniversaries this year (I know at least 2)

But the real answer is 5 because that’s what we had at the Miller’s house last night.

I think this may be rare – although others may have similar stories. In the summer of 1966, 4 couples who were attending the North Livingstone Church of Christ were married.

Ted & Laura (Smith) Miller led off in June,

Les & Georgina (Weir) Smith were married in July,

Eric & Donelda (Weir) White were married in August

and then we -- Charlie & Linda (Goodmurphy) Whitfield --were married in September.

Laura, Les, Donelda and I were “3rd” generation “members” (our grandparents having been “founding members” of the congregation). As I recall Georgina started attending services at the church when her older sister married a member10 years earlier(1956). Ted, Eric and Linda were drawn into our church family by their interest in their respective partners.

So in 2006 those 4 couples -- from the same small congregation and all married within a 4 month period --- all celebrated their 40th anniversaries. Wait a minute – that’s only160 years of marriage! So for the rest of the story.

Ted was a school teacher. Early in his teaching career he became friends with 2other teachers who it turned out where married in the same year. So the Langdon’s and the Rowe’s also celebrated their 40th anniversaries this year. The alert mathematicians will now be saying – now you’ve gone over – this is 6 times 40 or 240 years.

Paul & Dawn Rowe

Guess its time to go back to Saturday night and start this story over – actually back to a couple of weeks ago just after we returned from our little anniversary trip (See my posts for September 3 & September 7). We had been discussing the fact that it was also the year of Ted & Laura’s 40th – because we had stood up for them and they for us. We were “kicking ourselves” because we had overlooked this fact in June – due to all the other things happening in our lives at that point. Anyhow, we received a very nice invitation to attend a dinner party at the Miller’s for a “Group of 40’s friends”.

So Saturday night the Smith’s, White’, Rowe’s and Whitfield’s gathered at the Miller home for dinner and a fun time talking about old times and what was going on in our lives. The Langdon’s had to send their regrets due to a conflict with a prior commitment – hence the 5 couples totalling 200 years of marriage.

Interestingly, 3 of the 4 “church” couples, are still attending the “North Livingstone”(now Thessalon) congregation. Linda & I are the “oddballs” although we have landed only 60 miles away. Ted & Laura were our closest friends in High school and we do see each other “off & on” – we also would see Les & Georgina and Eric & Donelda at various church events, weddings & funerals but it seems like we seldom had a chance to visit and share “life experiences” ”—we didn’t know the Rowes but they are a fascinating couple. Paul grew up on Manitoulin Island and knew some of the people I know there as a result of my mother’s roots in that community.

I said 200 years of wedded bliss—that is likely a misstatement—there were 200 years of marriage – but at least speaking for Linda I know it wasn’t all blissful because she had to put up with me and all of my foolish ways.

A few months ago Roger quoted some statistics on marriage breakdowns within our fellowship – and if I recall correctly) it was 1 in 3 -- So 4 of 4 lasting 40 years seems to beat the odds. It may in part have to do with the high regard for marriage that was modeled by our parents & grandparents. Maybe there was something in the water. I’m not sure but I do know for both Linda & I we went into it with the belief that the vows ”until death do us part” really meant something and it never occurred to us that there was any other option but to stick it out and work through the valleys – I thank God that we had so many ”mountaintop” times that we always had those to hold onto when things got tough. We pray that we have given that same sense of commitment, loyalty and determination to our children in their marriages.

Onanother note, we had a guest speaker at our services this morning. Norm Morrell from Ice Lake. He had a very interesting journey having come to start learning about the Bible and coming to know Jesus 2 years ago when he was 59 years old. He is ”on fire” to share his experience with others and it is good to see someone who is studying the word wanting to share those lessons. We can anticipate that as he continues to learn and grow his lessons will serve to "spur Christians on to love & good works". But for now hearing the things that convicted him of the need for a relationship with God through Jesus and hearingabout the process of being ”born again” serves as a good reminder ofwherewe havecomefrom and can help when we have opportunity to share that with others who are seeking Jesus.

We also had the pleasure of a visit by Bill & Alma Bunting at services this a.m. Alma is my cousin and we had visited them when we were in Texas in April. They had been in the area visiting with Alma’s immediate family. They have a 5th wheel trailer but their employer had insisted that they travel in his 36’motorhome. Linda & I enjoyed a quick tour of the “rig” before they left for Michigan.

This was sort of in the category of ”it never rains it pours” – we didn’t find out that Bill was going to be here until after we had made the arrangements for Norm to speak. Bill is an excellent speaker and we would have liked to have had him provide a lesson – but that wasn’t possible due to the prior arrangements.

The big news this evening was that our daughter Melissa has set the date for the “wedding” (blessing ceremony) – for September 15 2007 – just a tad over a year after their marriage last week. Working on plans and taking care of the details will likely keep Linda & her busy for much of the next 12 months.

God Bless
Charlie & Linda

1 comment:

Stoned-Campbell Disciple said...

Thank you for sharing your joy AND your godly example with the rest of us.

Bobby Valentine