“Sensual pleasures have the fleeting brilliance of a comet; a happy marriage has the tranquility of a lovely sunset.”
Thirty five years ago we met as freshmen in college. What a great time we had during those four years. We studied together, played together, cried together, visited each other’s families and ultimately graduated together.
We each went our separate ways to pursue our own dreams. We married. We got jobs. We had children. Between us we have climbed the heights of corporate leadership and sales. We have changed the lives of countless youth through teaching and education. We have built businesses and failed with businesses only to build them again. We have traveled the world on many separate roads and struggled through many different battles.
Each year we gather to fish in Florida for a few days and to catch up with each other. Our conversations have matured and changed as we have grown older. We are of different faiths and do not all share the same political views. Our personal financial situations are different. Our personalities are different. Our goals are different. And yet, we treasure our time together because we love and respect each other. Our capacity to do those two things, to love and to respect, has kept our relationship together for decades.
This year, as we finished up our traditional card game after dinner and a day of fishing, the topic turned to our marriages. We decided to add up how many years all of us have been married and as the total went over a hundred years we began to be amazed. It really sunk in to each of us what an accomplishment that was and we decided to take a picture of our ring finger hands. Our total was 120 years of marriage!
Our hands have held crying babies and rubbed aching shoulders. They have handed many a credit card or cash over to a person at a cash register or to a teenager heading out on a date. They have gripped bats and golf clubs just inches away from our kid’s hands to show them how “dad” used to do it. They have grown blisters and finally become calloused from yard work. They have held the hands of our wives for strolls on a cool summer night. They have been held together tightly in earnest prayer for loved ones.
Most importantly, our aging and worn hands still wear the aging and worn golden bands given to us from the women we have loved and who have loved us in return. It has told the world that we have found our treasures…that we are spoken for and that we are proud of it. Our wives have forgiven us. They have motivated us. They have endured us. They have believed in us. They have corrected us. They have loved us. They have made us better. The road to 120 years of marriage is a rocky one. It has not always been easy. It takes you through mountains and valleys and swamps and bogs along the way. But for these four college roommates, it has been the most spectacular journey we have ever traveled. It is the best accomplishment we have ever achieved and is the one of which we are the most proud.
We are not experts on marriage but think that it is that same capacity of love and respect that we have had for each other as college roommates that has helped sustain our marriages to the same women of our youth.
Thank you sweethearts for giving us more than four college roommates could have ever imagined.
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