Early one spring morning not long ago, I came across a mallard drake dead on the road. That was not too surprising — there are a lot of ducks prospecting for nesting sites in the spring. What led to this post was that a few seconds later I nearly ran over its mate.
I recognized right away the duck that I braked hard to miss was distraught over the death of her mate. She was dazed and confused and trying in her duckish way to figure it all out.
What struck me about the hen was a flash of understanding. Like that surviving duck on the road, I have a bond with Linda, my mate of almost 50 years, and that her loss would leave me dazed and confused. Earlier in our lives together, as our bond was still forming, her loss would have still been devastating, but perhaps easier to live with.
I have often been intrigued by the tombstones of long-married couples. I have marveled because the dates of death chiseled in the rock are often so very close. My father once told me he thought it was because the survivor could not bear to live without the other. I think he was right.
Today, after the better part of five decades of marriage, the truth of Jesus’ words ring clear, “…they are no longer two but one” (Mark 10:8b). I have become as one with this woman, and I no longer know where she ends and I begin. Our lives are intertwined far beyond anything I could have imagined. We are transparent to one another in almost every way. I thought I knew about love when we married, but I am finding deeper levels of love even today.
I often tell her, “it’s not going to be long enough.” When it ends – and it will end – like the duck, one of us will be dazed and confused.
What have you learned about the value of marriage through your own? Share with us in the comments below.