March 17, 2019

Setting Sail by Lynn Dove

Forty years.  I can scarce recall what happened yesterday let alone four decades ago and yet on June 2nd I will have been married forty years.  I remember the day for the most part.  I remember I stressed over the fact that it rained the day before and the clouds looked ominous early that morning, but the rain never fell.  In fact, the sun radiated warmth all day and sitting on my parents' deck, trying to calm myself for the afternoon festivities, I actually got a little sun-burned.  It didn't matter.  I was getting married and nothing could spoil the day.

I don't actually remember getting into my wedding dress, or the short drive to the church in my father's big, blue Oldsmobile Cutlass.  The photographer took a picture of me being helped out of the car by my Dad, who reached for my hand and smiled at me.  If it weren't for that picture, I might have wondered if I had somehow been Star Trek-like transported to the church.  I don't remember walking up the stairs of the church with my best friend leading the way.  As the only bridesmaid, she was the centre of attention as she walked the aisle on the arm of my fianc√©'s best friend.  I remember we had to wait, my Dad and I, behind a closed door while my bridesmaid and groomsman strolled casually down to the front of the church.  Then it was our turn.  Dad kissed me on the cheek.  "Ready?" he said.  I must have nodded because somehow I found myself at the front of the church and standing next to the man I was going to marry.

I know the church was full of people, but I was too nervous to acknowledge any of them.  I don't remember the Pastor's words.  I was thankful someone had the presence of mind to tape the entire service on a cassette tape so I could listen to it months later.  I remember looking at Charles, who looked nervous, which was odd, because he was always so stoic and unflustered.  He smiled and my heart melted.  We would be okay.  We had no idea what the next day would hold, or the week, or months and finally years ahead of us would look like for us.  We held hands, exchanged our vows and pledged before God and our families and friends that we would love one another "'till death do us part".  It was enough.

Forty years.  2 miscarriages.  3 children.  4 grandchildren.  Numerous pets.  5 homes.  Countless cars.  Job changes.  Health scares.  Career changes.  Camping trips.  Family vacations.  Holidays.  Forty Christmases, Easters, and Thanksgivings.  Forty years of memory-making.  Forty years of holding hands, praying together, and leaning on God for our daily bread.  Forty years claiming His promises, and letting Him lead and guide us.  Constantly repeating the life verse we chose together forty years ago: "In his heart a man plans his course, but the Lord determines his steps."  Proverbs 16:9.

As retirement looms ahead for us, we are not content with sitting in rocking chairs and wiling away the days in relax mode.  We are celebrating our fortieth anniversary going on a Mediterranean Cruise.  It's a first for us, one we hope will mark the first of many travel adventures together in our future.  We love exploring new places and experiencing new things.

We are blessed that all three of our children and their families live close by so we can continue to memory-make with them, indulge our grandbabies, and watch them grow up.  We will be celebrating the wedding of our youngest daughter next year.  It will be a blessed event.  I'm sure there will be other momentous events in our future.

As we set sail in a few months I can't help but think that we are charting a new course, my husband and I.  Retirement is like sailing into new territory.  What sites will we see?  What will we experience?  Who will we meet?  What new memories will we make?  We've had our share of many peaceful cruises on life's ocean, intermingled with some unexpected tidal surges and rough waves over these past forty years.  Still, we keep walking hand in hand, looking forward, full speed ahead, our eyes focused on the horizon and praying for calm waters in the years ahead.  I look forward to where God will direct us over the next forty years!

Lynn Dove is the award-winning author, of the YA “Wounded Trilogy”- a contemporary Christian fiction series with coming-of-age themes.  A wife, mom, grandmother, and free-lance writer with articles published in several magazines and anthologies including Chicken Soup for the Soul books, her blog, “Journey Thoughts” is a Canadian Christian Writing Award winner.  Readers may connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, and at  


  1. That's a wonderful, proverbial verse you and your then-new husband chose for charting your course. Congratulations for staying the course in your marriage and in your faith lives, Lynn. I pray that you may have calm waters for many years and Christ in your boat to calm the seas, especially if or when the waters get rough. May the Lord bless and keep you.

  2. A beautiful story! Thanks, Lynn, for sharing it so we can celebrate your 40 years together. Bon voyage as you sail off into your new season of life.

  3. Hi Lynn! Ahh, forty years of marriage to the same man. That is so wonderful. I can relate to your memories of your wedding day. My wife and I will be married for forty-one years in May. Isn't it great you can at least remember some of your wedding day? You will love your cruise. All I can say is enjoy every second of it together. We love to cruise. I'm excited for you as you contemplate "retirement" as well. I hope and pray you and your hubby enjoy many more years together. Thank you for this beautiful post.

    1. Thank-you, Alan! We are looking forward to our trip for sure!

  4. Well said. We are on the same journey at the same time, Lynn. Jocelyn and I will be 40 years married in May. 39 years of being pastors. The pastoral part came to a conclusion on March 17th. We head to Israel in April. After that...? Into the unknown. God bless.

  5. What a lovely testament to the power of love carrying you through many uncharted moments, but in hindsight it all looks like it was smooth sailing. Enjoy every moment of the cruise where someone else is in charge to chart a delightful course.


Thank you for taking the time to join in the conversation. Our writers appreciate receiving your feedback on posts you have found helpful or meaningful in some way.