Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Derek & Rebekah Celebrate 30!

Today, Rebekah and I are celebrating 30 years of being married. Our wedding took place on a hot Saturday afternoon in Leesburg, Florida, at the First Presbyterian Church. Rebekah's dad, Rev Bob Alexander, did the honors, and her brother, Joe, escorted her down the aisle. It was a great day.

Rebekah has always liked words, and she's especially fond of mine; so my BIG gift for her today was a carefully crafted letter that I poured my heart into.

Then I realized a lot of the content might be helpful to other married people, so I'm going to sample and reword some of it for a more general audience as today's posting.

When I asked Rebekah to marry me (October 7, 1978) it meant that I knew I wanted to spend the rest of our lives together. But I didn’t – we didn’t – have the vaguest notion of exactly what that kind of commitment would look like. Not five years down the road; certainly not thirty.

Between then and now – Tuesday, August 18, 2009 – we have managed to raise two amazing children, send them on their way with joy and blessings, and re-invent what it looks like to be in this kind of long-term covenant relationship as husband and wife. But we never lost sight of the heart of our relationship along the way, even when it was difficult.

In fact, we learned a lot about effectiveness by being ineffective, naïve, overwhelmed and out of our depth - right along with being faithful, deeply in love, well-resourced by God, and living the adventure together - often just a day or so at a time.

So, today - thirty years along, Rebekah and I are in one of the best “places” ever. It’s a better view from here than the view we have when we’re struggling – but the struggles are very much a key element of what it means to be authentic. The struggles have built a lot of the steps that we eventually used – and still use - to climb back out.

Consequently this marriage is (by definition) a positive life-giving struggle with and on behalf of, itself.

Because – as Jacob found out when he met God at a place in the desert called Piniel (Genesis 32) – you’ve got to wrestle with someone in order to be intimate enough to grow together. And, just like Jacob, we both steadfastly refuse – ever - to let go. And, possibly even more than Jacob, we are blessed.
  • So Jacob was left alone, and a man wrestled with him till daybreak. When the man saw that he could not overpower him, he touched the socket of Jacob's hip so that his hip was wrenched as he wrestled with the man. Then the man said, "Let me go, for it is daybreak." But Jacob replied, "I will not let you go unless you bless me."
Our recent excursion to Italy - our official anniversary trip - made for the best possible mutual gift, because Italy is by definition a Renaissance country, and Tuscany is the quintessential Renaissance region. Every good marriage should enjoy more than a little of renaissance; celebrating the discovery and rediscovery, the art, and the beauty, the enlightenment, and the architecture of a great marriage.

Reinvention is one of my favorite elements to our life together. The 50’s have – thus far – been a most amazing decade, defined by new beginnings, revitalization, and reformation. I’m looking forward to journeying into our future together.

What a gift! The gift of a creative, reflective, purposeful, fun-loving relationship with the most beautiful woman I have ever known.

All my love – and all the love I have yet to learn - DEREK


gtm1554 said...

Happy Anniversary you two! On that day Tom was already in Italy, and I was going over to meet him for our own delayed honeymoon in of all places--Italy. And just now we have had insalata camprese and cappuccino in Pisa with you. It is a strange symmetry of sorts :)
Love to you both from the McMahan Clan.
XOXO Rachel

Anonymous said...

Congrats to you and Rebekah, Derek. Too cool. Pam and I enjoy reading your "stuff". Oh, and we have been happily married for over 38 years now. I tell everybody the secret to our 38 years together is that, after every argument, one of us says "I'm sorry, Pam." Take care and God Bless!

Janice Phelps Williams said...

Congratulations to you both as you celebrate your life and love! And decades' more of happiness as well.