“Be faithful unto death … ” Revelation 2:10
Fifty years ago I met the love of my life at the Casino.
(I know, doesn’t sound very romantic, does it?) The “Casino” was a snack bar in the Portage Point Inn where the kids could get soft drinks and snacks, listen to the jukebox, and play games like ping-pong and pinball. It was the favorite evening hangout of the teenagers that came to the little northern Michigan town from all over the Midwest in the summer.
When my family arrived after twelve hours of driving from St. Louis, it was the first place I wanted to go, knowing I’d find friends there that I hadn’t seen since the last summer.
I already knew Marty’s brother Dave, who was ten days younger than I was, but I had only seen his older brother from a distance and had been smitten by the tanned, dimpled face and sun-bleached hair. I had seen him emerging from scuba diving onto the dock in his black wetsuit and had watched him and the other college-aged guys playing volleyball. But I had never heard him say a word – and I almost didn’t that night, either.
As I walked into the Casino, there was the gang, crowded around a table that was just a little too small, and there in the middle of them was Dave’s cute older brother! My heart skipped a beat, and as sometimes happens when I’m nervous or excited, my mouth kicked into gear. I began to talk. Well, chatter, really – uncontrollably!
(“Help! I’m talking and I can’t shut up!”)
Marty was just sitting there with a slight, somewhat amused smile on his face. I remember going back to the rented cottage that night, smacking my forehead, and thinking, Well, Ann, you finally met Dave’s brother, and you blew it!
(Years later my mother-in-law told me that Marty had come home that night and casually asked her about the age difference between her and his dad, and she had known something was up.)
I was entering my senior year in high school and Marty his senior year in college. I was in awe of this “older man” and doubted he would be interested in a kid like me. When he offered to teach me how to scuba dive, I told myself he was just being nice. When he hung out with the high school kids instead of drinking with the other college students, I concluded, It’s because he’s not a drinker. And that made me like him all the more.
I’ll skip the sappy details. I finally figured out that he liked me as much as I liked him. And while I was terrified to introduce him to my sister Susie, who was closer to his age and had always been much “cooler” than I was, years later he told me I needn’t have worried.
“I could tell right away she was even more spoiled than you were.” (Thanks, honey… I think…)
Although our relationship seemingly started with “love at first sight,” there is no such thing. It was attraction at first sight, which does not guarantee a good relationship!
But happily, it doesn’t preclude one, either.
A successful relationship, whether with a spouse or with God, depends on commitment, not emotions. It involves making hard choices when one knows what’s right but doesn’t “feel like it.” Believe me, we’ve had plenty of those.
Decades ago I wrote a song for our anniversary. (A HUGE thanks from this technologically challenged blogger to fellow blogger Sue Love for helping me get the recording on this post.) As you plow through my nostalgia, I do hope you’ll catch the wisdom in the middle.
Anniversary Song (A Long, Long Time)
I remember the night I first met you
You seemed kind of quiet and shy.
You were special to me, but I didn’t want to be
Hurt again – I just knew you’d make me cry.
But I found out you weren’t like the others;
You were such a friend, so loyal and true.
And as summer turned to fall, I knew in spite of all,
I had fallen in love with you.
There was a warm wind and stars in the heavens,
And as your hand held tightly to mine,
Darlin’, all I could say was, “I love you today,
And I might for a long, long time.”
Well, some folks think that “love” means emotion,
So it comes and goes their whole life through.
Some folks never know that when the magic goes,
If you keep on lovin’, it’ll come back to you.
I was so afraid we’d lose the special feeling,
And someday we’d find our love wasn’t true,
But then God opened up my eyes and made me realize
Love is not what you feel, it’s what you do.
And so we stood side by side at the altar,
As our wills and God’s power combined.
With His help I could say, “I do love you today,
And I will for a long, long time.”
Oh, I thank the Lord for bringing us together,
As I recall our lives through the years;
Through all the moves, the jobs, the fun, with two daughters and a son,
He has brought us through the trials and the tears.
Now every trial’s a little bit less trying,
And every joy is deeper than before.
And I can truly say, in each and every way,
Every day I grow to love you more and more.
Now there’s a warm wind and stars in the heavens,
And our arms and our lives are entwined,
And I’m glad I can say that I love you today,
And I have for a long, long time,
And I will for a long, long time.
c 1987 Ann Aschauer