Twenty-nine years of marriage doesn’t just happen: it requires commitment, investment, patience and forgiveness. So, I’m not saying this anniversary isn’t an accomplishment. But I would want to emphasize that … we’ve been blessed! We didn’t do this on our own. We grew up knowing Jesus and that at the core of real love is self-sacrifice. That’s priceless! We grew surrounded by examples of marriages that were loving, loyal and that lasted. That’s huge! We’ve had positive role models along the way and positive peer pressure to make our marriage work. I should be writing Thank You notes!

One “Thank You” would be to Zerald Zimmerman (honest, that was his name). I’m sure Zerald is with the Lord now … either that or he’s 115 years-old. In the receiving line after our wedding, Zerald shook my hand and then held it in a tight grasp. He said, “Jon, your bride is pretty cute!” I said, “Thank You.” He fired back, “What you mean thank you? You had absolutely nothing to do with that.” I blinked. His eyes began to twinkle, and he whispered, “If she’s still cute in 20 years then you can take some of the credit.” It struck me in a way it never had, that I was responsible for Sue … responsible for whether she turned out better or bitter … whether she became more lovely from knowing she was loved. It was only 20 seconds Zerald … but thank you for the reality check!

Another thanks would go out to whoever taught us to speak words of appreciation. I spent the last week thinking about some of the things that have strengthened our relationship. This rose to the top; we consistently thank each other for just about everything. It’s habitual … but that doesn’t diminish its power. In my role as a pastor, I can’t count how many times a spouse has told me they don’t feel appreciated. That’s a shame, because it costs very little to say thank you.

One more … the biggest thank you of all goes to God. Here’s one was can all get in on. Our God is the picture of faithful enduring love. Psalm 106:1 Praise the Lord. Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever.