By: Sheri Owen
Today is my 20th wedding anniversary. Pat and I were married on May 15, 1999, in Charlottesville, on a day where the weather was very similar to today. I can’t believe we have been married 20 years (he did ask me to marry him 29 years ago and I said no…..but that’s another blog story – or you can ask me about it later.)
When people in our society think of wedding anniversaries, they typically think of gifts. We’ve seen the huge list of what each anniversary year represents. Year one is paper, year two is cotton, year three is leather, and so on. According to tradition, you should buy your spouse a gift of this particular type on that particular year. So, the 20th year of marriage is a big milestone. The 20th wedding anniversary ideas and symbols that are associated with the event are china which is traditional, platinum which is considered modern and emerald green is the gemstone.
Well, we don’t need any of that stuff. But what do we need after 20 years of marriage? Yesterday I was sitting in the sanctuary with many of you as we attended Pops (Carl Knauer’s) funeral. I was listening to Alan Alfano, his son in law, tell everyone what he had learned from Pops. One thing that really resonated with me… “Cherish your spouse”
What does that mean? To cherish something means to protect it, respect it, notice it, honor it, show gratitude for it, and hold it dear. Well, when we cherish something, we put energy into showcasing it and protecting it. The same is true of marriage. When we cherish our spouses — as opposed to just loving our spouses — we strengthen, enrich, and deepen our relationships. We take our marriages to another level of living — the level where we are the truest versions of ourselves, feel most comfortable with each other, and are our most authentic, honest, and real.
So as I sat listening to Alan, I realized that Pops cherished everyone. He loved and cherished anyone and everyone he came into contact with. He embraced the miracle that we are all brought together in Christ. I hadn’t known Pops very long before he hugged me one Wednesday night and told me he loved me. In the Gospel of John it says, “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.” (John 13:34-35)
Christ’s love extended to all kinds of people. Pops love extended to all kinds of people. Let’s cherish all of our relationships. I don’t want to take for granted that I hope to have 20 more years with my husband. Appreciate and cherish your family, your friends, your church family.
Also, cast your net far and wide. Who else do you have a relationship with? Friends, neighbors, bosses, employees, colleagues, clients, teachers, mentors, students, babysitters, doctors, hair stylists, Facebook and Twitter friends and followers, and so many more. What about the bus driver, server, cashier, bank teller, salesclerk, librarian, garbage collector – I could go on. We have relationships with all these people. Sometimes we forget that our interactions with other can make long lasting impressions.
So please cherish your relationships….you will be surprised at how much they will enhance your life.