Category Archives: Marriage

30th Wedding Anniversary Today

How decidedly inconvenient. I’ve been anticipating today’s blog post, knowing it would probably flow easily because today is our  30th wedding anniversary and I thought this would be an easy post to write. But I’ve woken up in a low mood today. Arghh. So now what. 

I remember . . .

I, Susan, take you, Greg, to be my lawfully wedded husband,

I, Greg, take you, Susan, to be my lawfully wedded wife,

When my parents reached their 30th anniversary, all three of their daughters had been married for several years and they had a couple grandchildren. When Greg’s parents reached their 30th anniversary, both of their sons were married.

and I do promise and covenant, before God and these witnesses,

Long marriages seem to be a relic of the past these days. Who do you know who has been married that long? Maybe your grandparents? 

to be your loving and faithful wife,

to be your loving and faithful husband,

We may be relics of an earlier time, but we are still smack in the middle of the hair-raising adventures of parenting. As a matter of fact, we’re not heading off to the airport today to go on a celebratory trip to Hawaii or Paris today. No, we have a family counseling appointment to further deal with the fallout of what drug addiction has done and continues to do to our family. And, while we’re off doing that, we’ll have a babysitter for one of our children. Just a little different than what our parents were up to by year 30.

in plenty and want, in joy and in sorrow,

John Lennon reportedly said, “Life is what happens while you are busy making other plans” Life happens and we have the decided privilege of saying yes to what is. I don’t presume to speak for people who are in poverty or tragic conditions. But we are in neither. We do have the privilege and opportunity to say yes because the School of Life knows exactly what lessons we are ready for.

in sickness and in health,

It’s been quite a journey, from the hallowed halls of Wheaton College, to the Northwoods of Wisconsin and the shores of Lake Superior, to the beautiful Land Down Under and the humble shores of the Ohio River. Along the way, we’ve produced five marvelous children (if we do say so ourselves), we’ve laughed and cried a LOT, and have learned more than we would have ever guessed. Marriage is not easy. Heck, life is not easy. But, time after time, we have taken the road less travelled. Sometimes we stood at the fork in the road and pondered for a long time before we chose. But we did. We chose ourselves, our vows, each other, life.

as long as we both shall live. 

Promised Photos



Greg has been wanting a pond for YEARS. Back when we lived in northern Wisconsin, we used to love canoeing through the quiet channels of the lakes, and the water plants were always so peaceful and beautiful. We have many beautiful memories from those times.

Sunday, he came driving home with the back of the van filled with a pond liner and a BUNCH of rocks. He had been to our favorite water garden store and purchased a pond kit. I could tell he was pretty motivated, because when he got home after work on Monday, he dug the entire hole for the liner, went to Lowe’s to buy sand, put the sand under the liner, and partially filled the liner with water. By this time, he was having to use the car headlights to see what he was doing, so he dragged himself inside and fell into bed. Tuesday, he finished filling the pond and got the pump placed and hooked up. And Wednesday, he stopped by the water garden on his way home from work and picked up the plants that came with the kit. By the time I got home Wednesday evening, he was sitting next to the pond, reading a book, and enjoying his little oasis. When I took the photos this morning, I noticed that the big rock in the second picture looks exactly like a heart. To me, that heart represents Greg’s love for nature, for beauty, for me and the kids, and for God. So, when I go out the front door, not only do I smile at the beautiful pond, but when I come home, I am reminded of his loving heart. Pretty cool, if you ask me.

My wishes for Jessica and Caleb


My dear cousin’s eldest daughter is getting married Saturday. I had plans to attend the wedding, but as gas prices have risen, our plans for travel this summer have changed. Plus, I didn’t really think it would work well for me to drive myself and any number of my kids 900 miles to the wedding.

Jessica is their eldest, 23 I think. She has two younger sisters and a younger brother. All the kids are just wonderful, as are their parents. I haven’t gotten to meet Caleb yet, but I have no doubt he is a great guy.

As I think of them getting married, I would like to tell them:

Dear Jessica and Caleb,
My thoughts and prayers are with you as you get married today. May you have a wonderful, special and memorable wedding day. I hope you love being married as much as we do. After 23 years, I think the things that make the biggest difference are these: not saying unkind things when angry; working through disagreements before going to sleep if at ALL possible; remembering every single day that your spouse is a great blessing to you; touching each other regularly; learning what it means to be unselfish; studying and practicing I Corinthians 13 about bearing all things, believing all things, enduring all things, hoping all things. Laughing a lot together. Reciting lines from favorite movies that you enjoy. Reading to each other. Always being open to learning new things, about each other, and about yourself. Allowing the Light of Jesus Christ to come into any dark places and light them up. Knowing that everyone brings baggage into a marriage and committing to doing what it takes to get rid of the baggage. Reading good books on marriage (As For Me and My House by Walter Wangerin, Two-Part Invention by Madeleine L’Engle, and my most recent discovery — The New Rules of Marriage by Terry Real). Buy and listen to Steven Curtis Chapman’s CD All About Love. At least read the lyrics, even if it’s not your type of music. I think he has done a great job capturing what it means to love and so many of the things we face as work on our marriages. Keep your marriage first when you have children. Always treat your spouse with respect. We love you!

Since I Last Wrote

Well, it’s been a quiet weekend around here. Compared to my friend Carla, who started Saturday morning with a piano recital at 8 am, then headed off to a soccer game for her older son, then got a phone call from the lady at the state competition for piano who informed her that her sons were coming up soon in the program and she should get there asap (she had forgotten about this). Then when they got home, they had company for dinner, and the company stayed late so they didn’t get to make their pinewood derby car so they had to do that Sunday morning. Ugh. I am so glad I don’t have such a schedule.

So, Friday night I attended a concert for which my mom was the accompanist. Saturday night, we attended a Seder dinner at my mom and dad’s house. Sunday, we went to church and out to lunch, then I spent some time with my dear hubby in the afternoon but only after we delved into some v-e-r-y s-c-a-r-y territory where he mentioned that he doesn’t actually like or dislike what I wear; he just accepts it. This revelation came at a time when I am feeling like everything I wear looks terrible on me because I need to lose some serious weight. You have to understand that Greg is not your stereotypical husband who is clueless in many areas, and/or demanding in many areas. He is a kind, loving, caring, thoughtful, supportive guy, pretty much 24/7. So it was a shocker for him to acknowledge that maybe there’s something to be desired in how I dress.

I used to dress nicely. I used to have a lot more places where it was the norm to dress nicely. But since we have been going to an ultra-casual church for 5 1/2 years and I don’t work outside our home, most of my dressy clothes have gone by the wayside for one reason or another. Finally, it got to the place where I had only one nice outfit for colder weather, and no nice outfits for warmer weather.

Coincidental to all of this, I realized that taking care of my appearance is one of the things I have relegated to the back burner, as I have gradually done away with more and more things that really take care of me, or things that I enjoy. That realization came last week and I went right out the next day and bought some things that are not t-shirts, not jeans, and actually could be considered pretty. Went out again Saturday and bought a couple more things. So when I went to church Sunday morning (at the new place) I chose to wear a skirt. I felt better about myself, having taken time to choose something pretty to wear.

The other big trauma from the weekend was clothes shopping with Val, my 15-year-old. Perhaps because of my example, she dresses very casually almost all the time. And with few to no occasions that require anything dressy, her wardrobe is very casual. Her choir will be singing next week and she needed a black outfit. So off we went to get her one. We did great on the top and skirt part, but things got very grim when we went shoe shopping. I was determined to buy something inexpensive because I have bought several items that have been worn once or even nonce and I know she does not like to wear dress shoes. I had something specific in mind, and felt like I chose a pair that was a reasonable compromise between what she would like to have and what I felt like was appropriate. I am not pushy when it comes to clothes. I was getting tired though and wanted to be done with shoe shopping especially because I could see we probably were not going to come to agreement. I declared that THESE were the ones we were going to buy.

Her reply was . . .

“You can buy them, but that doesn’t mean I’m going to wear them.”

This did not sit well with me, and more words were exchanged between the two of us, and then silence ensued. I did not buy them. I pouted in silence for a couple of hours until I finally calmed down enough to realize that the amount of trouble she gives me is miniscule and the amount of pleasure and joy she brings is vast and I was wrong to be holding on to my anger.

The next morning she and I were walking on the trails at the park, playing our “what If” game where we ask each other hypothetical questions. One question came up which gave both of us the opportunity to acknowledge that we would like to take back what we said around and about the shoes issue, and forgiveness was offered on both sides.

So, we are back on track. She has black shoes to wear Friday night (some I already had), and I am reminded of what a joy she is to me.

Today, instead of my fat jeans/loose t-shirt outfit I have been wearing incessantly, I put on a pretty shirt, and a pretty pair of pants, and NOT running shoes. I even put on earrings, and felt like an impostor adult for a little white. Amazing what clothes can do for you.