This next week my sweet wife and I will celebrate 55 years of marriage. When you think she has been married 55 years and I have been married 55 years, then we have 110 years of married life together. Oh, my aching bones, I suddenly feel old.

However, because it is our anniversary I pointed out how fortunate she was to have such a loving, sweet, kind and considerate man around the house. She wanted to know who moved in and how long he was going to stay. I let her know in no uncertain terms I was talking about yours truly. Her only reply was she appreciated what I said because she needed a good laugh. I can tell you I didn’t laugh.

I reminded her of all the wonderful years we’ve had together. I was surprised when she agreed there were good years. As a matter of fact, she thought 10 out of 55 wasn’t so bad. When I asked her to tell me which years were the best, she thought about it for a while then revised them down to eight years. It was enough to make me wish I hadn’t been writing such nice things about her over the years.

When I pointed out over these years we had two fine sons who have their dad’s personality, good looks and rugged manliness, she agreed. She could have left it at that, but oh no, she went on to say the boys must have gotten those things from me because I sure didn’t have them anymore. She even made some remark about them getting my hair as well. Boy, that gal is tough.

Not to be discouraged I let her know now I was twice the man I was when we got married. Again, she agreed, but couldn’t leave well enough alone. She pulled out a pair of my pants and showed me they were twice the size they used to be. I left before she started in on my weight.

My next move was to get the wedding album out to look at the pictures. I haven’t really looked at them in years and much to my surprise I realized I wasn’t in many of the photos. There were hundreds of the her and her bridal party and about two of me. Even in both of those pictures I was standing around holding something for her. Man, those shots were a foretaste of glory to come, and I didn’t even know it.

Marriage was the first institution given by God to man. It is the basis of society and is a sacred union that holds civilization together. When marriages begin to fail at an alarming rate in a nation then that nation will find itself in trouble. The fabric of society always unravels from the bottom up.

Successful marriages are the ones that learn to give and take with the emphasis on give. There are no storybook weddings, but there are weddings based on the story of the Book. Each anniversary in a marriage is a testimony to love. Each successful marriage is a witness to God’s love for us. A Christian marriage shows the love of God to the world.

Even though my wife gave me a hard time about our anniversary I’ve tried to be sweet. I ran by the funeral home and got a few flowers that fell off the truck and made a bouquet just for her. I can’t help it I’m just a nice guy that way.

Dr. Gerald Hallmark is a retired minister living in Alexander City and a regular columnist for The Outlook. His column appears here each Friday.