Not all marriages last for 35 years, especially when the couple only knew each other for 5 months on their wedding day. But here Lisa and I are, celebrating 35 years together, much older and even more in love with one another. We often ask ourselves, “How did we do it?”
I think it comes down to heart. Lisa has the most amazing heart I have ever seen, as well as an ability to see the hearts of others. She has a tenderness and compassion for others that flows naturally from within. This was readily apparent to me even on our first date, so much so that I found myself thinking, “This is the type of woman I would want to be the mother of my children someday.”
She is incredibly genuine has a remarkable ability to see into others, to see people for who they really are, not for who they pretend to be. With me, she saw through the jokes and bluster and saw a man who in his heart who wanted to be good. It was the goodness in her heart caused me to fall in love with her and allowed her to fall in love with me.
Over the years there have been many times when I struggled. Insecurity and anxiety have caused me to be defensive and short-tempered. She loved me anyway. More than that, even in my worst moments, she never criticized who I was, never attacked my character, never stopped believing in me. She was strong enough to challenge my actions but always kind enough to never question my heart.
Because of her love and support I find myself closer to being the good man the young Bart hoped to be. I always wanted to be a father but my upbringing in an abusive home made parenting difficult. Lisa taught me what it meant to be a loving parent. She consistently modeled patience, kindness and grace with our children, and delighted in their personalities and idiosyncrasies. Just as she did with me, she saw their hearts and loved them for who they were and who they could be. When my anger and insecurity made it hard for me to see the best in my children she was my eyes.
I think this is how we made it, by believing in each other’s hearts. When two people love each other enough to believe in one another, even in the difficult times, marriages last.