Reflecting on three decades of marriage

For more than 20 years I’ve been writing a column for Our Sunday Visitor about everything from my kids growing up to my dad dying, and I’ve commented on everything from “Avatar” to “The X Files.”  

But the person I rarely ever mention is my wife, Corine. I’m not sure why this is. Perhaps it is some sense that what happens in marriage should stay private out of deep respect for that relationship.  

Or perhaps it is simply the keen awareness as a husband that if I get this column wrong, I will be sleeping with my worst critic.  

But this month marks the 27th year that I have had the privilege of being her husband. As I’m sure is the case with so many of you, we had no idea what our first date would lead to.  

We remained blissfully unaware of the future when we were married on April 30, a spring day in Los Angeles, after an unusual week of rain. We went into the church single and under drizzly skies, and we walked out married and bathed in sunshine. There was a double rainbow on our wedding day.  

Inside our wedding bands is the inscription, “In Christ’s Love,” the same inscription that is in my parents' wedding bands. During the tough times as well as the joyous times we have tried to keep this context in mind.  

I have always liked the idea that the married vocation includes the responsibility of helping one’s spouse get to heaven. In the midst of diapers and bills and teenage angst and the death of parents and all the other crosses — big and small — that fill a marriage, this is the really big goal we should be striving for.  

Corine has certainly seen the better and the worse, as well as the sickness and the health and the richer and poorer.  

Before our third anniver- sary, we had left our hometown, family and friends and set off on a journey that has still not ended. We perhaps took overly literally the scriptural instruction to leave one’s parents and cleave to each other. We ended up putting several thousand miles between our families and us.  

This may be the greatest sacrifice that she has made for my career and our family, but there have been many others as well, and for all of them I am both grateful and humbled.  

In some ways, we ended up having a lot in common with my in-laws, who were immigrants to this country and learned how to start over without family or close friends.  

Corine is Mediterranean to my Northern European. She is Italian sun, Spanish sparks and French spirit. It is hard to be a reserved Swede when wedded to a southern heart, and she has been good for my soul.  

Our lives have been spectacularly blessed by four children, who are on occasion our biggest pains as well. But I can say without fear of contradiction that Corine and I have grown closer through it all. There have certainly been times when we have been thoroughly exasperated with each other. There have been those moments when we feel like banging our heads against the wall over the stubbornness of the other, and — like all good husbands — I realize that those moments were probably my fault. Really.  

Yet after having known each other for more than 30 years, the marriage still feels like an adventure worth having together.  

My mother used to tell me during long talks in the kitchen that marriage takes work, and she was right. But marriage is also where some of the greatest moments of joy are.  

I still look forward to coming home every night, and I think that makes me a pretty lucky man.  

I know I’ve still got a lot to learn about her, which is why I’m looking forward to the next 27 years.  

--Greg Erlandson is OSV’s president and publisher.