Jodi Blazek ❤ Joseph Gehr, August 17, 1985
A Marriage Made of Moments is a blog post I wrote for our 30th anniversary last year. For our 31-derful anniversary, I share a revised post with updated photos, new “moments” and fresh reflections… because a lot can happen in one year.
A marriage is made of moments. When you string them all together, you get a picture of a life built together. A marriage isn’t made, once and for all, when the I-dos are exchanged. A marriage is constantly being re-created; it is always in the process of becoming.
A marriage goes through seasons: the spring of new life and hope, the summer of comfort and security, the autumn of changes and letting go, the winter of sadness and despair. A marriage embraces all seasons. It can feel like the carefree days of summer—laughter, joy and spontaneity; and it can also be like the frigid days of winter, where bundling up and taking shelter provides the only comfort that “this too shall pass”. A marriage will not survive without adapting to, enduring and celebrating the change of seasons.
“We have discovered each season to be a stepping stone in a great circle of life. Round and round they go, no season ever exactly the same as the year before, each one teaching us something more about who we are and about how life is going to be lived. We have come to know this circle of life an ongoing spiral of growth, bringing ever fuller and deeper wisdom into our lived experiences.” The Circle of Life: The Hearts Journey Through the Seasons, Joyce Rupp and Macrina Wiederkehr
When I drive familiar country roads, I marvel at how different the experience is because of the changing seasons. I have taken hundreds, maybe thousands, of pictures of the countryside, but no two will ever be the same. The landscape is ever changing, always being re-created, always becoming. Day to day, the changes are barely recognizable. It is only in pause and reflection that nature’s transformation is fully recognized.
So, too, in our relationships—in our work, in our marriage, with our children, friends and parents. We are part of nature and creation always being re-created, always becoming. Our relationships evolve as we, ourselves, are becoming.
A marriage is made of moments.
- Joe sending little gifts to me for several days before our wedding that said “7 days til a lifetime” (6, 5, 4 and so on). Each day a new gift arrived.
- Working four jobs between us so I could finish college, sometimes with only enough time to exchange notes or take a break together at one of our shared part-time jobs at Montgomery Ward.
- Buying our first home and meeting our neighbors, Cece and Bob. Cece, who became a widow just six months later, became part of our family and a grandma to our daughter.
- Having our first baby and Joe announcing “You got your girl!”, when she was born…my secret hope.
- Experiencing the loss of two babies and the grief of infertility while creating a family of three with more love than we could imagine.
- Welcoming dogs (Ralph, Rosie and Bailey) and cats (Peaches and Boots) into our little family…and missing their love and companionship when they passed on.
- Crying and laughing a lot.
A marriage is made of moments.
Marriage includes the necessary and mundane—doing laundry, taking out the trash, paying bills, fixing, washing, mowing, checking things off the list of things to do, arguing about checking things off, thanking each other for checking things off.
The years fly by… but celebrating an anniversary is an opportunity to pull back on the accelerator, put on the brakes and notice what has just passed us by—that our marriage is made up of moments. That we have indeed endured and celebrated through the seasons.After 31 years of marriage, Joe and I have so many “remember when” moments, the makings of great storytelling or one-liners that no one else understands but us. Funny, sad, silly, stupid, poignant, heartwarming, memorable moments. Moments we’d like to forget and moments we have to forgive. But, mostly, moments that have helped us become who we are and that have brought us to where we are now.
A marriage is made of moments.
- Being parents to Jessica, from diapers and bottles, soccer games and camp-outs, DECA and sports competitions to college internships and sorority activities.
- Joe, gently brushing the hair from his mother’s face and telling her he loves her in the final moments of her life, writing and sharing the eulogy at her funeral and administering her estate.
- The banter between Joe and Jessica about her impending financial emancipation ended with Jessica’s graduation from Nebraska Wesleyan summa cum laude and securing her first job in Washington D.C. She is earning an income, paying rent, buying health insurance and investing in retirement (but still calls for recipes, technology advice and permission to use our Amazon Prime points.)
- The adventure of building a new house, moving twice within a few months and thinking we’ll never do that again! Moving is a lot of work, but it was the perfect time to start anew.
- Becoming empty nest parents yet continuing to make the effort to enjoy each other’s interests, now that it isn’t all about raising a child. i.e. when I go to a KISS concert with Joe (knowing only 3 songs, one of which was the Star Spangled Banner) and Joe joining me on a museum photography exhibit (albeit at a rapid clip with plenty of time to wait on a nearby bench for me to finish.)
A marriage is made of moments. Thirty-one years of birth and death, love and loss, hopes and dreams.
Thirty-one years of marriage is a threading of memories, a string of moments that hold the seasons of life. After 31 years, marriage is about acceptance. We rest into acceptance of who the other is, rather than attempting to create the other into who we would like them to be. We enjoy each other’s idiosyncrasies with a lightheartedness that wasn’t possible in the newlywed years. Time is funny: it goes too fast, but it also unfolds so slowly that we don’t always see the polishing and transforming of the innocent into the mature, the immature into the confident. I believe more each day that it is only in the stability of marriage than one can reap the true benefits of a life lived together.
This is something we can count on—the seasons circle around and we continue creating moments. It is in becoming more aware that we honor where we’ve come from and consider what we’ll pass on in the harvest. To many more moments…
Happy 31st Anniversary to us!
You are flesh of my flesh / Bone of my bone
There’s no one closer / You are flesh of my flesh
Bone of my bone / We are one
I do give my life to you / Today and everyday
I will stand right by your side / Whatever comes our way
I have searched and searched for someone
Who’d make my dreams come true
Nowhere else on this earth / Is there anyone like you
The storms of life can blow and blow / But they won’t knock me down
We’ll stand the test / The test of time
‘Cause we stand on Holy ground.