I'll continue my story about our post-Ecuador days next week, but first, it's important for you to know a little more about Steve and me and the miracle of our long marriage.
If we’d known in 1971 what we know now, we might have talked ourselves out of starting on this journey. I’m so glad we didn’t, because the discoveries have added so much spice to our years. My mother had a habit of quoting what Henry Ford once said, "When 2 people always agree, one of them is unnecessary." She used it to justify her skirmishes with my dad. And, from our personal experience, neither Steve nor I have been "unnecessary" throughout our 50 years. :) Here are a few of our differences (hmmm, is 25 "a few?") which obviously reveal God’s sense of humor in putting us together. He must have smiled knowing the surprises awaiting us.
(No, we're not good at taking selfies, but this is the best we could do while we were waiting to go into Jordan-Hare Stadium for kickoff a couple of years ago).
1. Steve makes every decision after much time and deliberation. I make decisions quickly and then let him go back and fix my mistakes.
2. Steve is musically challenged. I come from a long line of musicians and eagerly passed this trait on to our children. To his credit, Steve has been a great audience for all of us these 50 years, and he does "play the radio" with considerable skill. :)
3. Steve was trained from birth to love Auburn, both the university AND the Tigers. Before I met him, I had never yelled “War Eagle." (Samford wasn't exactly known for its football traditions). He quickly made a believer out of me, and I am very proud to be an AU graduate.
4. Steve believes that money is to be saved, invested, and used sparingly. I believe that a penny earned is a penny to be enjoyed or given away. He likes a secure future. I like to collect experiences. This is an area we still have to work on (and try hard to come to an agreement and common ground about) even after all these years.
5. Steve went from 145 lbs as a teenager to 175 as a young adult and has stayed close to that weight for almost 40 years. My weight fluctuates wildly, and he has literally loved me through thickness and thinness.
6. Steve is Mr. Self-Discipline. I am Ms. Rationalizer and Procrastinator.
7. Steve is an early morning person. I am a later-in-the-morning person.
8. Steve is very comfortable in and on the water – swimming, skiing, fishing. I’ve taken swimming lessons 3 times and am still afraid of the water. But, as long as I'm wearing my trusty Aqua-Jogger, I'm good to go.
9. Steve loves animals and has made their care his career. I’m a little afraid of animals, and I'm highly allergic to cats and most dogs. Yes, we always had pets when the kids were at home (outside pets, for the most part), but we don't have a single one now. Instead, we play with grandkids. :)
10. Steve loved our kids’ babyhood days. I, quite honestly, liked them better when we could have conversations and go on fun outings. I remember many Fridays in the summer that the kids and I called Fun Days. Generally, those days consisted of going to the library, eating Happy Meals, and attending the $1 kiddie movie, or going to the park.
11. Steve loves to work in the yard. I’d rather admire his work after he’s finished because I "don’t sweat pretty.” He actually PREFERS temperatures in the 80's and 90's. Give me a solid 70-degree day with a slight breeze. :)
12. Steve loves to exercise. I tolerate exercise. (See #5 and #6)
13. Steve will eat almost anything. My cooking has increased his ability to do that. Bless his heart. Get him to tell you about the famous Applesauce Meatloaf I served him the first year we were married. :) He really does have a startlingly short list of foods/seasonings/ingredients he'd prefer to avoid -- cilantro and peppermint ice cream. See what I mean? That makes him a pleasure to cook for.
14. Steve is a homebody. I love my home, but I often value it more after I’ve been on a trip and come back to it.
15. Steve likes to stick to a budget. My accounting techniques are more creative, more “rob Peter to pay Paul," if you get my drift. You'll read more about this next week. It took us 25 years to finally come to a "meeting of the minds" regarding a budget.
16. Steve likes to eat at home. I love to try new restaurants. (Again, see #5).
17. Steve likes to be early for work, church, or meetings of any kind. I believe that “on time” is sufficient, unless, of course, if I'm the teacher or the committee chairperson.
18. Steve is better at science and math, MUCH better. I’m better at English and spelling. When a left brain and a right brain attempt to solve the same problem, you can get some very interesting (frustrating) processes going on.
19. Steve loves the outdoors. I love air conditioning. Steve is a nature guy in the purest sense. I confess that I didn't know there was such as thing as blackberry season until after we married. Pitiful, huh? He took me squirrel hunting when we were dating. Once. I'm much too chatty for such a thing, but it was fun tromping through the woods with my handsome boyfriend. :) Then, when we'd been married for 3 weeks, he persuaded me to get up before dawn to go fishing with him and his brother at Lake Martin near Auburn. I (accidentally) caught a 7 1/2 pound largemouth bass that day, the biggest fish of the outing. He went all around Auburn showing it to his buddies when we got home. I didn't mind going fishing a few times, but it wasn't my favorite thing to do. We learned it was okay for us to each have our own separate fun activities and still love each other and be happily married.
20. Steve is a man of few words with each word being truly golden -- well thought out and significant. I am a woman of many words believing it’s best to “keep talking till I say something good.” :) My chatty trait might be more entertaining, but his quiet trait is definitely more biblical. Proverbs 10:19 says, "In the multitude of words sin is not lacking, but he who restrains his lips is wise." And Proverbs 10:8 says that "babbling fools fall flat on their faces."
Trust me when I say that I have been blessed to live with a truly wise man for 50 years. Maybe I'd better not think about what Steve has endured during that same time period.
21. Steve loves his routine and is very resistant to change. Whether it's a hairstyle, clothing, furniture, a product (his Ivory soap bars, for example), or a house, Steve gets attached. I love to shake things up on a regular basis. He vividly remembers the day he came home from work, while we were still in Huntsville living in that 3-room duplex, and I announced that using the Classified Ads in the newspaper, I had rented us a house and bought us some furniture. He was stunned. Most of my attempts to nudge him out of his comfort zone have been less drastic. . . . I hope.
22. Steve gets very frustrated by technology. I’m more patient with technology, but we both wish we had the mad skills of our grandson Luke. And, just for the record, he really needs to upgrade his cellphone. Just sayin'.
23. Steve drives the speed limit. I tend to push the pedal a smidge. I'm pretty sure his favorite Aesop's Fable is "The Tortoise and the Hare," with him relating to the victorious tortoise. I, on the other hand, have a favorite commandment -- "Thou shalt not bore." :)
24. Steve prefers salmon and most all seafood and would be happy to eat fish 3 to 5 times a week--- probably the reason his lab results at the doctor are practically perfect. I love scallops and hushpuppies, but I also like other things in the meat section at the grocery store. We both, however, LOVE raw oysters. The kids can tell you some pretty funny stories about a few times when I ate shrimp, with unfortunate results.
25. Steve “turns into a pumpkin at 10 p.m.” I’ve learned it’s best to go along with his body clock.
Numbers 1-25 are some of the "rubs" or "areas needing negotiation" during our 50 years together.
Fortunately, here are 3 things that we have always been in lockstep about:
1. We have a deep faith in God and belief in the birth, death, and resurrection of His Son, Jesus Christ, who is our Savior. That is the “blessed assurance” we have that we will be with Him in heaven when we die. Speaking of "Blessed Assurance," to hear Steve's side of the story, he says he first noticed me when I was playing an arrangement of that hymn one night at church. And, speaking of heaven, we have found ourselves talking more and more about heaven as both sets of our parents have died and as we've gotten older. If Steve goes to heaven before me, I'm pretty sure I'll be able to find him either talking about fishing to Peter, James, and Andrew or sitting on the front porch of his heavenly mansion looking out on the splendor around him. If I go first, he knows he'll be able to find me in the alto section of the heavenly choir or maybe taking my turn at the piano in the celestial orchestra.
2. We love each other with all our hearts and are 100% committed to our marriage and being unwaveringly faithful to each other.
3. We love our children and grandchildren fiercely. We believe in them and recognize them, along with our children’s spouses, as precious gifts from God.
Could it be that both these differences and these similarities have been the factors that made our marriage interesting and valuable for all these years?
Ecclesiastes 4:9: "Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor: If either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up. Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm. But how can one keep warm alone?"
Next week is the final installment - 50 Years of Us: Part 5 Starting Over 35 Years After We Said "I Do"