Archives for posts with tag: marriage

Things don’t always work out like you planned. That is a truism that I realized recently.

My wedding anniversary is December 28. This past year was the 50th. A year or so ago my wife and I told our children that we did not want a party to celebrate the milestone. After all, no one needs another party sandwiched between Christmas and New Year’s. We decided that we just wanted all of our family to be together doing something fun. So we planned a family trip to Peru over the holidays.

After a year of planning the time came and we all arrived in Lima on December 22. After a short visit to this beautiful coastal city we made our way to visit historical sites of the ancient Pre-Inca and Inca civilizations in the majestic Andes Mountains.

Our itinerary would have us in Machu Picchu on Christmas Day. The Incas built this estate for the Inca ruler Pachacutec around 1450. It sits about 8,000 feet above sea level and is nestled on a small hilltop of the Andean Mountain Range above the Urabamba Valley. It was abandoned a century later at the time of the Spanish Conquest. This majestic city was unknown to most of the world until an American historian and explorer, Hiram Bingham, “discovered” it in 1911 and brought it international attention.

Everything was going as planned until Christmas Eve when I began to experience altitude sickness caused by low levels of oxygen at high elevations. Severe stomach cramps, headaches, nausea, vomiting, dizziness, and weakness prompted a visit by a doctor to my hotel room. Medication helped enough to have a cursory visit to Machu Picchu the next day.

The next day after our visit to Machu Picchu we traveled to Cusco, the historic capital of the Inca Empire from the 13th until the 16th-century. The city is about 11,000 feet above sea level and this caused my wife to suffer from altitude sickness as well. Another doctor’s “house call” to treat her prompted us to change plans because the next stop was on the shores of Lake Titicaca, the “highest navigable lake” in the world at 12,500 feet above sea level.

Initially we planned to have a 50th Anniversary Dinner at Lake Titicaca. Instead we sent the rest of the family on and my wife and I returned to the lower altitude of Lima where we “celebrated” our anniversary as we began our marriage- just the two of us.

While this was not what we planned, it really worked out alright.

We were happy that our children, their spouses, and our grandchildren were having a wonderful time exploring the Uros islands of Lake Titicaca that are inhabited by the Uru people who have lived on the lake for hundreds of years. The islands are made almost entirely from dried totora reeds which grow naturally and abundantly in the lake.

At the same time my wife and I, both of whom were feeling much better at the lower altitude, had some really good time together- just the two of us. We reflected on our life together and remembered many of the experiences of that half-century. We laughed and cried as we shared stories of good time and “not so good’ times.

Those couple of days of “down time” really helped to realize that we had much to celebrate. In sharing this time together we both were acutely aware of our blessings and felt the strength of our love for each other. In a couple of days our family returned to Lima and all of us celebrated God’s gifts to us- all together.

I am glad that our plans fell through because something better occurred. Thanks be to God!

Jamie Jenkins

 

 

 

 

I often forget how fortunate I am. I tend to take things for granted. That has probably never been more truthful than in my marriage. I have not always been as thoughtful and considerate as I should have been. I have been too focused on myself, my work, or something else more than my wife and family.

Some would say that I am a lucky man and they would be right. But I realize that I am more than “lucky.” I am blessed by God.

Tomorrow marks 50 years of marriage to Lena. December 28, 1968 is the most important day of my life next to the day that I decided to follow Jesus. Three days after Christmas a half-century ago I said yes to the questions: “Will you have this woman to be your wife, to live together in holy marriage? Will you love her, comfort her, honor, and keep her in sickness and in health, and forsaking all others, be faithful to her as long as you both shall live?”

I have fulfilled those promises but I have not always been as sensitive and helpful as I could have been. Nevertheless, Lena has loved me and stayed with me for all these years. That has not always been easy. There have been many challenges but I am grateful to her and to God that we are still together and still in love.

I am acutely aware that the blessings of life are not always deserved or earned. That is certainly the case in my marriage. When I first met and dated the woman who would become my wife I had no idea how strong she was and how supportive she would be to me through many changes and difficult times. We have traveled together, literally and figuratively, through territories that we could not have imagined at the beginning of our journey.

My life partner and I are very different personalities. We have different strengths and gifts. We have not always been in lock step but we have always been together. There have been many times we have disagreed but I have never doubted her sincerity or her devotion to me and our family.

Daniel Boone said, “All you need for happiness is a good gun, a good horse, and a good wife.” I don’t have a good gun. I have never had a horse of any kind. But I do have a good wife!

Someone said, “Of all the home remedies, a good wife is best.” I can affirm that to be true in my life and family. I agree with Thomas Edison, “A man’s best friend is a good wife.” Lena is and always will be my best friend.

Thank you God, for sustaining Lena and me for 50 years of marriage and for helping us to stay in love with each other.

Jamie Jenkins

 

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This week includes two very important dates. First of all, this past Monday was Christmas Day. It is a high holy day for people all over the world because it is the celebration of Jesus Christ. The birth of that baby in the tiny town of Bethlehem was an event that has changed the world and divided time.

TFree stock photo of decoration, christmas, celebration, goldhanks to my wife, our house was beautifully decorated for the Advent Season as we anticipated Christmas. I was blessed by the devotional thoughts that the staff and many members of our church shared. My family and I participated in worship services and attended several musical programs leading up to December 25. It was a joyful and hope filled season. Then on Christmas Day we enjoyed visiting with friends as we gathered around the table for a holiday feast.

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On December 25, near the end of the calendar year, Christmas reminded us of God’s promise of peace on earth.

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Today, December 28, is the second day of significance for me. Forty-nine years ago today my wife and I vowed to love one another “for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, until we are parted by death.”

When we stood at the altar of that little church on Stone Street in Mobile, Alabama three days after Christmas in 1968 I could not have imagined how wonderful marriage would be. Also, I had no idea how difficult it is to merge two distinctly different personalities into a unit of mutual respect and love. But over the years I have come to realize that two can become one without either individual being lost in the process.

There have been many challenges as well as joyous experiences. Struggles and triumphs. I am grateful that Lena has stuck with me through the good times and the tough times. “A true lover always feels in debt to the one he loves” (Ralph W. Sockman). I would not call myself a “true lover” but I certainly acknowledge that I am indebted to her.

Victor Hugo said, “Life’s greatest happiness is to be convinced we are loved.” I have never doubted her love as she has been my chief critic and number one cheerleader. She has traveled with me through three states, nine houses, and many different contexts. She raised our three children with minimal help from me. She is a strong woman, a wonderful wife, and a great mother/grandmother.

“We recognize a soulmate by the supreme level of comfort and security we feel with that person. That doesn’t mean that there aren’t issues that remain to be ironed out. Rather, it means we know intuitively that we can resolve issues … without losing his or her love and respect” (Linda Brady). I am grateful for 49 years of marriage to my soulmate and I am excited about our future together.

Jamie Jenkins

The second most important day of my life was December 28, 1968.* That was the day Lena and I exchanged wedding vows. Yesterday we celebrated 48 years of marriage.  She is a gift from God to me for which I am most grateful.

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It has been over 50 years since Lena and I first met. We have loved each other for more than a half century. WOW! It is amazing how love has grown over those years. We have very different personalities and talents but have learned to appreciate and complement each other. And we are still learning. With God’s help we have grown together and that process is ongoing.

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God has been so good to us since the day we pledged our lives together in that little church on Stone Street in Mobile, Alabama. “For better, for worse; for richer, for poorer; in sickness and in health; to love and to cherish till death us do part.” We have had our struggles and trials but our lives have been blessed since we loaded everything we had into that 1965 Chevrolet Impala and headed to New York.

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Lena and I have three adult children. In spite of the struggles of the early years of marriage and parenting, they have grown to be wonderful adults. Each of them has wisely chosen life partners. They and our two grandchildren are priceless treasures.

Lena has sacrificed a lot as she has accompanied me on our journey from Alabama to New York, Tennessee, and Georgia. She has been my chief critic and most devoted helper and cheerleader through the nine times we have moved since our wedding day.  She shares my love for travel and has been my companion as we have explored more of this world than I ever imagined. We have more plans to “see the world” near and far as long as our health and resources last.

My spouse for two-thirds of my life, the mother of our three children and grandmother of our two grandchildren, is one of the most generous persons I know. She loves people and thrives on caring for others. She is a happy person who laughs a lot and loves to dance. She is a talented woman whose creativity is displayed in many ways. As a Master Gardener her flower garden is one of the most visible evidences of her gifts.

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The love of my life is a spiritual person who believes in a loving God and understands that what a person believes should inform and impact how they live and treat others.

She is one of the most authentic persons I know.

I am grateful to God and to Lena for the 48 years of marriage and I look forward to sharing many more years and adventures together, God willing.

Jamie Jenkins

*The most important day of my life??

This weekend is a very special time for me and my family. The youngest child is getting married. We are excited to welcome another fabulous young woman into our family which currently includes two other children, a wonderful son-in-law and daughter-in-law, and two exceptional grandchildren.

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As our son and future daughter-in-law embark on this new adventure as husband and wife, I covet for them the happiness and fulfillment that I have found with my wife of over forty-six years. Next to Jesus, my wife is the best thing that ever happened to me and I trust that it will be the same for them.

I don’t profess to be an expert on marriage but experience and the wisdom of others has taught me a few things about living and loving. One of the most important principles of marital success is to realize that marriage is not a 50/50 proposition.  The traditional wedding ceremony speaks of “two becoming one.” One might assume that means each partner gives 50% and together that makes a whole and healthy marriage. But marriage is not about mathematics. It is only when each partner gives 100% that fulfillment and completeness as a couple is realized.

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Love that brings two people to the place where they want to commit themselves to each other forever is powerful. But staying in love requires the ability to be adaptable and the willingness to sacrifice.

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Love is the glue that holds a marriage together and there are a lot of sentimental and poetic ways to describe love. One of the best examples I know was offered long ago:

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Love is patient, love is kind, it isn’t jealous, it doesn’t brag, it isn’t arrogant,  it isn’t rude, it doesn’t seek its own advantage, it isn’t irritable, it doesn’t keep a record of complaints,  it isn’t happy with injustice, but it is happy with the truth. Love puts up with all things, trusts in all things, hopes for all things, endures all things. Love never gives up.

That is good counsel not only to Jonas and Natalia but to people everywhere.

Jamie Jenkins