One of the best ways to sustain true love between you and your mate is to build a bridge of loving memories. I am reminded of a husband named Jim who was tragically killed in an accident while driving home from work. It was his wife Carol’s fiftieth birthday. Rescue teams found two plane tickets to Hawaii in his pocket; he had planned to surprise Carol with them.
Months later, Carol was asked how she was coping. She answered that on their wedding day, she and Jim had promised to say “I love you” before noon each day of their marriage. Over the years it had become a fun—and often difficult—challenge. She recalled running down the driveway saying “I love you,” even though she was angry at Jim. On other occasions she drove to his office to drop a note in his car before the noon deadline. The effort it took to keep that promise led to many positive memories of their years together.
The morning Jim died, he left a birthday card in the kitchen, then slipped out to the car. Carol heard the engine starting and raced outside. She banged on the car window until he rolled it down, then yelled over the roar of the engine, “Here on my fiftieth birthday, Mr. James E. Garret, I, Carol Garret, want to go on record as saying ‘I love you!’”
“That’s how I’ve survived,” Carol said later. “Knowing that the last words I said to Jim were I love you!”
We can build bridges across the span of our lives in many ways— with cards and flowers, through special shared moments, or, like Jim and Carol, with a simple “I love you” expressed each day. Cherished memories established over the course of your marriage will give you and your mate the foundation for a genuine love that endures a lifetime.
Illustration by Debbi Smoot from Moments for Each other by Robert Strand (Green Forest, Ariz.: New Leaf Press, 1993). Reprinted in More Stories for the Heart, comp. Alice Gray (Sisters, Ore.: Multnomah Publishers, Inc. 1997).