The question came at our annual church camp out. We were chosen because it was our anniversary that weekend and, well, we were up there among the couples that had been married the longest. How that happened so fast I’m not sure. I have so many memories of being the young ones, in-experienced, greenhorns, etc. I guess if you just stick at something long enough you get to be the experts whether you know anything or not!
The game went this way. Three couples chosen. Spouses split up and asked questions separately. Then, later answers are compared to see who really knows each other the best. If your married life could be characterized by an amusement park ride, which would it be: a roller coaster, a kiddy car, or the Fun House? I thought about it for a bit and it would have been easy to say a roller coaster, but really that is only part of it. All the answers were true. Those early years of marriage were pretty up and down with a few more bumps all along the way. Yes, there were also years where it felt like our life was all about our kids and we couldn’t imagine it being any other way. A few years ago I probably would have answered a roller coaster ride. I answered the Fun House instead, because I am learning how to look at things from a more positive perspective. The perpetually glass half empty gal is learning a new way of seeing the glass half full. It has taken time, but I do feel much better about life when I look for things to be grateful for, rather than focusing on what I perceive to be negative.
In reality our marriage has mostly been fun, joy and adventure. I have been to more countries in the world than I can count on two hands. I have grown to love the out-of-doors and have enjoyed the beauty of the backcountry. I’m still a little nervous about bears, but hey, I have seen them in the wild and the most harm they have done to me is eat all my food while I was sleeping. I even have heard a cougar screech past my tent in the middle of the night and have lived to tell the tale. Then, all the joy of raising our kids together really stands out. Every little, new thing they did burst our hearts with joy and pride. Then literally fun and games as they got older. Of course there were ups and downs, and sibling rivalry, but we weathered those storms and all grew together. We learned how to “live in peace with each other”. That was our youngest son’s first memory verse when he was three. Good verse for us all to live by.
Another thing about the roller-coaster rides, those were the times when iron sharpened iron, and our rough edges were worn down. So now I am grateful for them as well. The weak areas in our life showed up under stress and we were able to work on them with a lot of help from our friends, counselors and God. So those weak areas were strengthened and our love for one another grew. So I can say thank you for them now, because they have made us better, stronger, more compassionate people.
So when husband came back to the campfire to give his answers with the other husbands. He thought about what he thought I would say. At first he said: “Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride?” which was not one of the given answers. If you grew up in Southern California going to Disneyland every year or read the Wind in the Willows you know what he’s talking about. Then he answered Roller Coaster ride. He was surprised that I had said Fun House. “What’s happening to my wife?” I guess it is taking time to get used to her drinking from that glass half full now.