Sue’s Note: If you live in Coeur d’ Alene and read the Coeur d’Alene Press, you may have already read today’s guest post, written by a dear friend, Dr. Will Goff, and recently published in the Press.
My husband and I met Will and his wife Cindy when they visited a small group we were hosting. Almost immediately, we forged a friendship with this impressive couple.
Will and Cindy are passionate about marriage—their own and others. They’ve been instrumental in helping countless couples reassess their marriages, and I can only imagine how many families have been spared the pain of living with marital conflict or the devastation of divorce because of our friends’ influence.
I know you’ll enjoy today’s guest post. Thank you, Will, for sharing generously with us, and CONGRATULATIONS to you and Cindy on a very “BIG deal!”
50 – A Big Deal
By Will Goff, Ph.D.
So, what’s up with the number 50? Have you ever contemplated that question? Am I the only person quirky enough to consider this? It is sort of a cool number. Did you know that 50 is the sum of three square numbers: 32 + 42 + 52 = 9 + 16 + 25 = 50.
A polygon of 50 sides is a pentacontagon and is practically indistinguishable from a circle. I could go on with interesting mathematical phenomena associated with the number 50 but I don’t want to bore you.
Did you know that every country has a currency denominated in 50 units?
There are 50 chapters in the book of Genesis in the Bible, and there are of course 50 states in the USA.
In our culture, a person less than 12 is considered a child; between 12 and 20, an adolescent; between 20 and 40, a young adult. But, when a person reaches 50 we tend to believe that full adulthood has been reached.
I must admit however, that these “norms” seem to be changing. It appears that children are forced to grow up faster than what is healthy. Perhaps this accounts, at least partially, for a rather new phenomenon termed “extended adolescence.” This term is used to describe kids remaining with and dependent on parents well past 20.
What effect is this having on adults? Are we young adults longer or mature adults sooner? Another relatively recent phrase describing adulthood is, “60 is the new 50.” I am flummoxed! Does this mean that we are not considered full adults now until 60?
Oh well, that particular issue really doesn’t matter to me now that I am 70. I am old enough to begin pontificating on topics like this. I have been around long enough to have experienced good, bad and ugly, giving me license to comment on these issues. I admit up front that this essay represents my “opinion.” I am not claiming that it is truth, but ………..just think about it. I apologize. I digressed.
My reason for thinking about 50 is that this year marks our 50th wedding anniversary. Cindy and I were married way back in 1968. That year is considered by many to be the turning point in our culture leading to the changes that I mentioned above and more. 50th wedding anniversaries before that time were considered a “big deal,” mainly because both partners were still alive! Celebrations were expected. Family and friends gathered to toast the couple, reminisce and wish them well. Their children were also contemplating last will and testimonies and nursing homes!
Today, 50th wedding anniversaries have the potential to include many more couples due to better health and health care. Yet, the occurrence of these celebrations is rarer than ever. Not due to physical health issues primarily, but due to divorce.
There are just not that many couples committing to a lifetime together. The vows typically including “for better or worse” are not considered a promise. For many reasons (a few for valid reasons) couples eventually split. Most of these reasons are connected to selfish attitudes and an unwillingness to work together to make the wedding dreams come true.
It seems that when married couples realize marriage is more than the wedding, they flee rather than discover how two can become one. Cindy and I know this all too well. When things got tough, we divorced after 10 years of marriage and were apart for three years.
We had TWO children at that time who both experienced this dysfunctional period in our lives. Now wait a minute, did you not say you were celebrating your 50th wedding anniversary? Yep. Due to a renewed faith in God, we both decided to renew our vows and consider them as a promise, “till death do we part!”
Yes, we have experienced the good, the bad and the ugly, but as we kept, and continue to keep our focus on what God designed for marriage, we have experienced peace and joy. Our THREE kids are now all married and raising children of their own.
Cindy’s and my hope for us, our kids, grand kids, etc, and for you the reader is that we all experience what God designed marriage to be. An earthly relationship to mimic what God wants as our relationship with Him- a growing day-by-day intimacy. This can only occur when a man and woman practice unselfish commitment to each other.
As a result of these verities, Cindy and I now have the occasion to make 50 a “Big Deal”.