30 Years Strong and Still Counting!

As the days, months and years of our lives pass by ever so quickly, I am once again reminded that there is nothing more “God Ordained” than the covenant of marriage. Having recently celebrated my 30th wedding anniversary with the wife of my youth, I am grateful for every day that we have had together and know resoundingly that it would not have been the same 30 years without her.

Sandi and I met in mid 1977 in East Lansing, Michigan, where she was a 3rd grade teacher and I a bookseller at a popular local bookstore and meeting place. To make a long story sort of short, I was more than a little tired with the dating scene and my place in it and had begun to look for what I still refer to as a “real” relationship.

Most of my friends parents had gone through divorces and my own parents had called it quits by this time—so I didn’t hold out much hope for ever being a part of a lasting relationship. In spite of all of this, there was still something inside of me that held onto a hope for something more than what I had seen played out in front of me for most of my life.

Looking back, I actually remember meeting my wife to be twice. The first time was when she was waitressing in a local Chinese restaurant. I was alone in a booth eating lunch and complemented her on her shapely legs. It sounds crass at this point in life but at the time was sincere and not really intended to get me any place other than maybe a little more fried rice on my plate. To me the truth was the truth and I was just trying to be a little more than the guy who came for lunch a couple of times a week.

The second time we met was some time later after she had taken an after school job at a health food store and restaurant that I often frequented. She was wearing a green wool, a-line skirt and a light purple Danskin top with a hand-made dragonfly pin fastened just below her left collarbone.

I must say that I was instantly intrigued by her look and the great big smile that met me at the store’s front counter. I remember telling her that I thought her outfit was exceptional (time has taken away the exact wording) and that she carried herself well or some other observation my free-association mind came up with. It was all true and from what she has said, that was really the beginning of our knowing one another. She remembered the leg thing but didn’t hold it against me and for that I have been grateful.

In the months that followed we spent some more time together and often would walk the campus of Michigan State University and talk about the stuff that made us happy. I think by this time I was on the third of fourth revision of my life’s philosophy and was also in the process of figuring out what I wanted to be when I “grew up”. But more importantly, what was going on was I was finally coming into contact with someone who appreciated me for who I was and I believe that she felt the same way—at least that is what we have written down in our collective memory banks.

She was very real and I was putting up a good front (only a partial truth) and in process of learning what it meant to be me in every way.

As we ate dinner at the Storie Street Grill in Blowing Rock on our anniversary evening, I couldn’t help but remember that it seemed like only yesterday (yes, I get to say that) when we met and that the past 30 years had been such a whirlwind of blessing. We have lived through four children with their attendant broken bones, broken hearts and minor car wrecks. We have sometimes struggled financially to make sure everyone had what they needed be it braces or partial college tuition. We ate dinner as a family almost every evening—Sandi was able to be a stay-at-home mother and we made it a priority to find a cheap beach house and go to the ocean for almost 13 straight years as a family.

And those are just a very few of the highlights that 30 years together bring to the table.

Sandi and I have had a couple of fights during this whole time—mostly around finances, kids or how birthdays or Christmases are spent. It has been a great ride with the boat being in the water most of the time and not much of the water being in the boat—if you get my drift.

We have had friends and family pass away, as most people have, but I can truly say that most of the time we were never down at the same time—usually one of us was strong when the other needed us to be.

And yes—I could go on and on and on—but I will end with this: What God has begun He will finish and I hope we have many more years to discover one another in. If this isn’t the “long ride” I don’t know what it is.

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3 Responses to 30 Years Strong and Still Counting!

  1. Carey says:

    well if that blog isn’t an absolute masterpiece, I don’t know what is, for it presents ample evidence that your 30-year sojourn together has certainly been guided by the Master’s hand. I’m glad to have been a small part of that journey (and I understand what you said about her smile because it’s one of the best all-time most radiant that’s ever been) and may y’all have 30 more. Thanks for shedding your light and His Light on the world and on cyberspace. Keep it up.C

  2. ded says:

    Congratulations on the anniversary and a very nice commemorative essay!! You are both blessings as individuals, and your marriage sings to all of us of God’s love and faithfulness.

  3. Sandi McClanahan says:

    very sweet post

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