by Cathee Poulsen
There’s something special about waking up every morning to find my favorite person is there. And I’ve had that happy experience for 53 years.
It is inevitable that when anyone hears it’s our anniversary and that we’ve past the half century mark, they ask some version of “How’d ya do it?”
It’s a fair question and maybe even an honest one sometimes, though mostly it’s what people think they’re supposed to say to you. But for those who want an honest answer, this blog’s for you!
Is the Answer to a Good Marriage Love?
I’m certain that in the early years of our marriage my answer would have been that only agape love, spiritual love, should be the number one priority in a solid marriage. That kind of love is based on commitment and sacrifice. We’ve heard countless sermons on that topic but today I wouldn’t say that’s what’s most important.
Sexual love, or eros, is probably the driving force in many young marriages today. And without question, it’s part of the package. After all, how could Adam and Eve fulfill God’s command to be fruitful and multiply without eros. It saddens me to know so many couples—Christian couples—that have no physical relationship whatsoever. This is not God’s plan and I don’t think He’s pleased when a couple no longer have this blessing in their lives. (See 1 Cor. 7:5).
But, let’s be honest here, our sexual relationship in our 70s is not exactly what it was when we were 20, and if that was the #1 priority, we’d probably be in trouble. We may have to work at it a little harder these days, but that physical connection is paramount.
What about Phileo Love?
A relationship where your spouse is your best friend? That’s the maximum. Without that intimate friendship, a 50 year old relationship can be pretty stale and ho-hum.
I first met Bob Poulsen when I was 11. My girlfriend’s mother worked with Bob’s mother and I went with them to his house one day. But when we started dating I was 17 and he was 21. Very quickly he became my best friend and I found myself sharing things with him I’d never told anyone else.
I believe that kind of love is what has carried us through these years of pain, loss, joy, elation, and everything in between.
Here’s What Friendship in a Marriage Looks Like:
- Bob turning off the curling iron without saying anything to me when I’ve left it on for the umpteenth time.
- Me holding my comments when he’s outside beating lizards and geckos to death with his handmade club and destroying the ecosystem.
- Bob making the bed. Every. Single. Day.
- Me washing out the little hairs from his electric razor one hour after I just cleaned the bathroom sink.
- Having breakfast on the deck together, walking outside before bed to see the full moon, holding hands in church, deciding to ditch the diet and go get a hot fudge sundae.
One of our songs in the 1960s was “There’s a Summer Place.” It’s still a favorite and as I read the lyrics they are my heart for this man. I wouldn’t trade any of it and all I know is that today I’m excited to say I’ve been married to my best friend for 53 years.
And the sweet secret of
A summer place
Is that it’s anywhere
When two people share
All their hopes
All their dreams
All their love