What I’ve learned in 40 years of marriage

Published 9:09pm Sunday, October 6, 2013

By Dr. James Troglen

This past Sept. 29, marked 40 years of marriage between my wife and I. Forty great years I might add.

I realize the big dates to celebrate are numbers 25 and 50. But, for some reason my daughter and son decided to use No. 40 as a significant date of celebration.

After all the surprise and shock at the celebration I spent some time reflecting on 40 years with Jeannie.  After 40 years I am an expert on marriage. OK, an expert on “our” marriage. OK, OK, I have a few thoughts on marriage. Gee whiz folks.

I have learned that marriage is work. Two people from different backgrounds have different traditions and must develop new ones – their own, as far as holidays, in-law relationships etc.

I have learned that no matter how much you love someone they can have little irritating quirks that don’t show up until after the ceremony and honeymoon. These little quirks like being an early bird, being cheerful in the morning, squeezing the toothpaste tube from the middle not the end as it is supposed to be. I can add putting a husband’s shoes up when he isn’t looking, leaving chairs in the middle of the room so the husband can stumble into them and get a concussion in the middle of the night.

Some have even had to put up with their wife eating tuna fish for supper. As a side note, no matter what they do, the odor and taste stays with them. Do not, I repeat, do not kiss a tuna mouth for four days.

These little acts don’t have to stop being irritating, and they don’t, but they do have to be adjusted to. I have learned I am not always right, most of the time maybe, but not always.

I have learned women have wisdom teeth – honest people, I was taught they didn’t by my grandpa – honest!

I have learned we all change when married and most of the time it is for the better. Jeannie has sobered me and helped me become a great deal more compassionate than I was before our marriage.

I have helped her learn that not everyone seeks her welfare in our society and to keep her eyes wide open. She has taught me, with her forbearance at my attitudes, you don’t have to attend every fight you are invited to – thanks babe, really.

Along the way I have learned that to a woman a card is often as important as an expensive gift. Wish I had known that 40 years and several thousand dollars ago.

I have learned few women really know how to cook when they get married and you had best be prepared for Thanksgiving turkeys with dish rags inside of them, red velvet cake made with pancake mix not cake flour (boy is that a story you need to hear) and that she has to learn not to break the spaghetti up into little pieces before she cooks it.

I have learned it doesn’t mean she doesn’t love you when after a medical test she cannot be found to take you home because she is outside reading a book under a tree.

I have learned, that if you really love the person, you don’t really notice them aging, they still look like the one you married so many years ago. When I look at my wife I still see the cute long-haired blonde with the delightfully short red dress walking down the hall at school. I was late to class more than once following her instead of going straight to class.

I have learned there is nothing more beautiful than a man’s wife, a new mother, looking into the face of her babies as she rocks them. I have learned there is nothing more wonderful than sharing a life with someone you love.  It has been an adventure babe, and it still is.


Dr. James Troglen is pastor of First Baptist Church of Wetumpka.

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