on 28 years of marriage

4-3-1988 (2)

On April 3, 1988, Pontheolla and I wed, vowing, “In the Name of God…to have and to hold from this day forward, for better for worse, for richer for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, until we are parted by death.”

Today, I commemorate, confess, and celebrate.

thinkingIn commemoration, I remember thinking twenty-eight years ago that the bright hope of marriage expressed in our vows would endure forever, for we, trusting in our intentions, needed and wanted little, really nothing else to accomplish them.

confess - regretIn confession, I recognized soon (perhaps within a day!) that my thinking was wishful, not-very-deeply-reflective-or-realistic and that I had fallen prey to the delusion of marriage as magic, requiring little labor of learning and evolving. (I should have known better, but this sentimental illusion about marriage, what it is and how it works, is ages-old, deep-rooted, and society-wide.) I also confess (even worse, for I did know better!) that I thought marriage magically would fulfill my sometimes conscious, sometimes unconscious Pygmalion-esque desire (common, I believe, to human relationships) to shape or reshape Pontheolla into my image.

celebrateIn celebration, I rejoice that I was wholly wrong, for since April 3, 1988, I have come to know that:

  • Hope is not wish-filled expectation, but rather the conviction about the truth of one’s vow only as it is renewed daily by faithful effort, through which
  • Marriage is a circadian labor of love, that unconditional benevolence, mirroring God’s love, that selflessly wills to be and do the best for another (thus at those moments when my stubborn, selfish self is ascendant, marriage is hardest labor; for it is difficult, nay, impossible to be self-sacrificing when self-seeking!), because of which
  • Pontheolla is a God-given, God-graced person and woman; thus the imago Dei, the image of God incarnate in her is freer and fairer, finer and fuller than any (even the best) of my imaginings, for the sake of whom
  • I, as a God-given, God-graced person and man, alway am being made freer and fairer, finer and fuller than any (even the best) of my imaginings of who I have been created to be.

As God grants me breath, I look forward to what may be and become…


7 thoughts on “on 28 years of marriage

  1. Paul,

    Your commemoration, confession and celebration in this post was amazing! I send much love to you and Pontheolla on this very special day! May you both continue to grow more freer and fairer, finer and fuller with one another for many, many more years to come.

    All of us married folk could certainly learn a thing or two from this post. For Tim and I personally, while you didn’t marry us, we were at least lucky enough to have you and Pontheolla both have huge roles in celebrating our 25th. I can say that we both learned a lot from that experience about living and loving as a couple. Now that we are in our 31st year, we hope that we can continue to learn and grow together, We pray the same for you and Pontheolla.


    Liked by 1 person

  2. I have had the privilege of being in relationship with Paul whose gift of language, written verse, and oration captivated me in 1987 just as it does now. Two individuals wounded from previous relationships, needing to be understood and loved just for existing, and needing to give love unselfishly are what bonded us. These 28 years of marriage are a testament to love that is both boundless and bounded by our own errors. Yes, “love is a many splendid thing!”

    Liked by 1 person

    • Pontheolla,

      Tim and I look forward to helping you and Paul celebrate your 30th at Clevedale!! Only two more years to go! Can’t wait to see what “oration” and celebration you and Paul will come up with for that event! I know it will be Fabulous! Love really is a many splendid thing! Congrats to you and Paul!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Thanks, Loretta and Pontheolla! I thought and felt long and hard about this post. The notion to write something in honor of Pontheolla’s and my 28th anniversary was gurgling in my heart and soul for days. As I began to write, I wasn’t sure what I wanted to say or what would come. I did believe something would come. It did. Of course, much, much more could I have written, but this shall suffice for this day. And, as I’ve oft said, Pontheolla had more work to do in renovating, rehabilitating me than I had to do with her! Moreover, I, too, look forward to our 30th, indeed, a special number and year!


  4. It really is a blessing to know that such sweet and tender love exists in this world. Thank you for sharing this. God be with you both this year and the next and the next and the next…


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