Forty years ago two significant events were recorded in the annals of history. On Aug. 12, I was blessed to marry a beautiful young lady who has proved to be more than I could ever have imagined in a wife and companion. A few days later, Elvis Presley died. I have tried to convince myself that the two events are unrelated, though I am certain many guys were saddened that my wife was no longer available.
Every year a candlelight vigil takes place at Graceland in Memphis, Tennessee to honor "the king." Last year there were an estimated 75,000 fans at the event. Of note was the variance in ages, races, cultures, and countries that were represented.
Every year I hug my wife and thank her for saying "yes," and then keeping her promise by saying, "I do." On this very special year, our 40th wedding anniversary, I wanted to celebrate "my queen," so we packed our bags and made our way to Pigeon Forge, Tennessee -- just the two of us. Scenic drives, scenic stay, beautiful weather --we could not have asked for a nicer week.
On our first honeymoon, we stayed in a Gatlinburg chalet for a few days. On this trip we made an attempt to locate that specific place. Though we could not state to the managing company the exact address, there was a fairly strong indication that it was among those that were lost in the devastating wildfire of 2016.
We were somewhat saddened at the news, yet so thankful to declare that the fate of our honeymoon suite is no indication of our lives together. One special moment of our trip occurred when someone asked us the "secret" of our marital success. We were eager to say that, first and foremost, our relationship is built on Jesus Christ.
Further, the foundation of our marriage is made of things that are eternal, things that cannot be seen. Such things include genuine mutual respect, honesty, and putting the needs of the other person above ourselves. I continue to realize that I am most happy and content when my wife's needs are fulfilled. She has made the same discovery about my fulfillment. When we realize that fact about the relationship, it is much less tempting to be selfish and demanding of our own ways.
God did not create woman to be man's slave, but to complete in him what he could not be on his own. The "two become one" because each completes the other. When marriage is lived God's way, it does not simply work, it is paradise. So, here's to 40 more years of marital bliss!
Steven Callis is the minister at First Church of the Nazarene in Douglasville.