“Dogged determination!”

This is how my romantic husband of 45 years answers the question: What makes for a successful long term marriage?

Ok.  It’s a start and I can’t deny there is truth in his statement.  But surely there is more to it than that?

Our marriage started in June 1972.  I was 18, in love, and full of romantic notions of what a marriage would be like.  Our life together has been a journey of discovery. We have tried to understand the true meaning of those vows that tripped so blithely off the tongue in church that day.

There have been some tough patches, with bereavements, loss of jobs, and family problems.  Through them all we have learnt that God cares more about our marriage than we do.  He has stuck with us even at times when we found it hard to stick with each other.  He has shown us what true love really looks like.  Love is not something based just on feelings.  It is sacrificial, unconditional, and everlasting –  He has taught us how to do it.

And now here we are 45 years later.  Half a lifetime!

It is extraordinary to think that the marriage of The Queen and Prince Philip has lasted an incredible 70 years.  Theirs is a romantic love story which has matured over the years. The Queen has carried a heavy burden of responsibility.  But Prince Philip has had to make great sacrifices to support her. There have been many compromises ………….  

‘ “My job first, second and last is never to let the Queen down,” he once said.

The marriage of the Queen and Philip, much like her reign, is a triumph of stability. Yet because he’s gaffe-prone and sometimes curmudgeonly Philip’s importance is often overlooked. But certainly not by Her Majesty who said of her husband in her golden wedding speech in 1997: “He is someone who doesn’t take easily to compliments. But he has, quite simply, been my strength and stay all these years.’  The Express

Marriage is marriage, whether you are a Queen or a commoner.  We all have to work through our differences and deal with the problems that life throws at us (in their case always under intense public scrutiny).

The royal couple also have a deep sense of duty – not a popular concept these days.  Perhaps it will come back into fashion one day?  The trouble is it smacks too much of something wearisome and unpleasant – like homework or keeping the kitchen spotless.  I wonder if it could, in God’s hands, be transformed into something liberating, satisfying and, dare I say it, even fun!

Judy Raymont Nov 2017

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