This Christmas podcast is in honor of Mary's and my 50th Anniversary, which comes on December 29th. She and I are both in thankful awe of having made it thus far. And happily! To me this is worth celebrating.
The cast sets out two requirements, or better, signs, as I see it, for an enduring marriage. The first is the romantic connection. Our marriage began with that in first place. There simply has to be a romantic (i.e., male-female) connection for the relationship to start -- or, perhaps better, for a relationship to be able to turn towards marriage. And then, once married, you find yourself needing at almost regular intervals to return to that initial romantic foundation. It is not enough for him or her to be my "best friend". That is certainly true -- Mary is my best friend! -- but the romantic element is prior. Friendship is not marriage. (This is why, incidentally, boys and men wince to the core when a girl or woman tells them they want to be just friends. And believe me, even when your husband hears you saying that he's your best friend, he seizes up inside. He won't tell you that, but his heart is stopping the minute you say it. Even tho', as I report, he is in fact your best friend.)
So point one of ""We've Only Just Begun" (1973) is to underline the priority of the romantic connection over all else. (This is true, believe it or not, even when you're 75.)
The second foundation stone of an enduring marriage is faith in God. Natch', you may see the specifics of that in different terms from those of your wife or husband. He may be reacting against Five Point Calvinism and you may be reacting against Baptist rules concerning conduct. But a shared root-implanted faith in God who is "Higher Than I" is indispensable for the navigation of problems. For the record, Mary and I have read the Bible and prayed together every morning early for almost all the years of our marriage. It's not a law, and it's not even a recommendation. But it's an observation. I don't know where we would be -- especially in the stressful times -- if we hadn't had a shared faith in a personal God.
Like Mary's totally enchanting smile (and the response it created in me -- in the Fall of l969, in fact), Mary's openness to God was core for me. It is still core for me.
Oh, and listen to the closing track, a Christmas track of the highest magnitude. Do give it time until... that last third (per usual) with these artists.
Merry Christmas to us all, and Happy Anniversary to my wife of 50 years, Mary Cappleman Zahl.
This cast is dedicated to our three sons: John A. Zahl, David W.F. Zahl, and Simeon McLean Zahl.