Sharing Horizons

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Karen and Tom Hartley, May 30 1981

The name of my blog comes from a line in an old Carpenters‘ song:  “Sharing horizons that are new to us, watching the signs along the way.  Talking it over just the two of us.  Working together day to day.  Together.”  The line is taken from the song, “We’ve Only Just Begun,” which was one of the songs that Tom and I had sung at our wedding 34 years ago today.

In so many ways it is hard to believe that we have been married for 34 years.  It seems as if the ceremony was just a couple of years ago!  Tom is still the only man I have chosen to love.  He is brilliant, funny, goofy, and makes me take time to play.  We have spent more time together in the last year than we ever had, and I can only pray for days and years with just as much time.  People ask Tom what he likes best about retirement and he answers:  “Getting to have supper with Karen every night.”  We are reveling in this time together after years of feeling like ships passing in the night.

What does it take to stay married and deeply in love after 34 years?  I’m not a marriage expert, but there are two things that stand out in my mind.  First, marry someone you can respect.  Tom and I love to learn and always strive to do our best.  We are enjoying this time of learning new things together and pushing each other to achieve more.  Tom is a person I can respect because of his agile mind and because of his dedication to helping others.  My respect for him has grown over the years.

Second, marry someone who shares your values.  Tom and I both share a deep faith in God that has seen us through some rough times.  God doesn’t give up on us and we haven’t given up on each other.  Tom was always active in his own ministry wherever I was serving as a pastor.  We like to think we are still in ministry as we help family, work with others, and serve as volunteers.  This is the most important shared value for us, but we also have similar ideas about finances and rarely argued about child-rearing, two of the common things couples argue about.

Of course, there are lots of other things that are important in staying married, but this isn’t supposed to be a book – just a blog post!  What do you think is most important in staying married and being in love?

Karen and Tom Hartley, 2015
Karen and Tom Hartley, 2015

Thirty-four years ago Tom and I knelt at an altar and promised God that we would love each other “until death do us part.”  We will keep sharing horizons with each other (and maybe with you) for as long as we can see them together.  We did and we still do – in fact, it feels like we’ve only just begun.