186 Years of Marriage!

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Though we don’t “make” the Bible come to life or relevant (it is already both!), there are times when the living truth of God bursts before you in full color. Such was the case Friday night when I saw 186 years of marriage standing before me.

We were attending a family wedding in Michigan, and the three winning couples of the “anniversary dance” (you know, the one where the newliest wedded exit first) were three sisters and their husbands: my wife’s mom and dad, and then two of her aunts and their husbands. Together, they represented 186 years of marriage. Wow, I thought, what a heritage flanking the couple who only had about 2 hours of marriage under their belt.

As I stood silent in that moment, Hebrews 13:4 came to mind: “Let marriage be held in honor among all.” Yes, the emcee had the entire crowd applaud and honor those three couples publicly—and rightly so. But what ran through my mind was how each of those couples must have honored marriage individually. No doubt in each of their experiences there surely were times when the road together seemed long, difficult, and arduous. Daunting. Perhaps even impossible. Yet, the “till death do us part” covenant they had made to one another and to God was honored. Upheld. Kept. Marriage was held in honor all right—for 186 years and counting!

To help give a little more personal meaning to the picture, here’s the 4-1-1 on the three circled couples:

  1. Far right: Phil and Norma (Klauka) Smith. Married 60 years.
  2. Middle: John and Virginia (Klauka) Adamic. Married 65 years.
  3. Far left: John and Doris (Klauka) Nellenbach. Married 61 years.

Oh, and the couple not circled? Nathan and Brooke Smith, my nephew and his new bride. Yep, they were the ones we were all there to celebrate. They were married all of about 118 minutes at the time this picture was taken. But my guess is neither of them minded at all the few short moments of honor given to three couples who beautifully portrayed Hebrews 13:4 in living color.

NOTE: I’ve put the same picture below without the circles (enlarged and uncropped as well) for any of the family who may want to see the couples better or save the picture without my markings.


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