7 to 40: My Best Friend, My Soul Mate

It is now one week away from my 40th Wedding Anniversary.  This is a big deal for me.  Sure, the 50th Anniversaries are always the really special ones.  But, to me, we have almost made it to 40.  We are on the final stretch…one week to go.

According to various reports, only about 10% of all marriages make it to 40 years.  It drops to 5.5% for a 50 year marriage. Apparently, the national average for marriage length is 8.2 years and the divorce rate in the U.S. is somewhere in the area of about 41%.  That is pretty amazing to me as most of those people got married because they loved their spouse and cared about him/her.

Fun with Julianne

I would love to take the time to dig into Census Data and other Social Data and find out things such as divorce rates or marriage longevity for couples with children and couples without children.  But, alas, I don’t really have the time for that.

Our life has many rainbows together

So, all I can really do is assess why Julianne and I have made it 40 years.  I believe that love and commitment to each other were the prime drivers.  The willingness to give and take is another.  Of course, raising our children and being an example to them was important as well. We have two daughters that have managed 14 years of marriage and are beating the odds as well.

Julianne with her “No-uh” face

But, bottom line for me, is that my spouse is also my best friend.  She is my soul mate.  I truly do and always have loved this special person.  Does this mean that our relationship is always hunky-dory?  Absolutely not!  Does this mean that we don’t have disagreements and things that tug us in different directions?  No way!  Certainly, we have had numerous times in our relationship that we could have called it quits, for one reason or another.  But, we haven’t.  Our friendship is a much stronger bond than that.

Fun being with each other

As we have grown older, there are segments of our individual lives that have grown apart.  I think it is only natural. Our individual interests and pursuits tend to blossom after the children have left.  Though there are many common pursuits as well, these sometimes falter for one reason or another.  But the familial ties bind us strongly.  We both love and cherish our children.  We both adore our grandchildren.  And we both love to be around each other.

Visiting Pittsburgh on a recent trip to visit her sister

I am humbled by my sweet wife’s willingness to hang in there with me, despite my foibles, faults and even failures.  I have strived to be there for her and take care of her as well as I can. She has done the same for me.

Julianne and David – Nov 4, 2018

Honestly, forty years ago I was not sure if we would make it this far.  I most certainly hoped we would.  But, it is difficult to see the future and all of the challenges, frustrations and disappointments that lie in the dark shadows waiting to leap onto an unwary couple. During those times, we had to hold each other tightly and get through the storms.  And we did. Over and over.  Because we loved, and still love, each other.

Riding the storms of societal change

Its not over.  It continues forward.  I love and adore my sweet Julianne.  She is an inspiration.  She brings me joy.  She is my best friend. She is my soul mate.

David and Julianne – on our 25th anniversary

51 to 40: The Giver

(Author’s NoteThis is the tenth post in a series of 60 about Julianne.  We will celebrate our 40th Anniversary in July and each day I will have a different post about this wonderful sweet person.  Please check the earlier posts of you missed any)

Julianne has always been one to give and share…her talents, her abilities, her time, her love.  So often she works diligently behind the scenes on service projects, volunteer efforts and other things. In fact, I think she makes an effort to avoid the cameras so that her work will be quietly done.  She gives to many in a humble and quiet way.

Over the years she has been a faithful church member and has served in many capacities. She loves anything to do with music and has always been a great choir director.  She always put in her all to prepare for lessons or church talks. When she did the church program, it was never done until perfect. Nobody probably noticed, but she did.  She always takes great pride in what she does, even if it is volunteering.
Julianne volunteering for a Serve the City project in 2009. (She will hate me for posting this photo…but there are so few photos of her serving…)
Julianne volunteering as a Site Coordinator for Bountiful Baskets, even though it was snowing.
Julianne created and made this sign. She was tireless in seeing the Co-Op succeed.

The same can be said for community service. Julianne has been engaged in community service projects many times and she would always be one of the “stars” that showed the way. For a couple of years we volunteered for a food co-op called Bountiful Baskets.  She was awesome in her work as a Volunteer Site Coordinator and really built up the Co-Op while it was under her wing.

We had a lot of fun with Bountiful Baskets and made many new friends during that time.  It is sad that it went away in 2017.
Bountiful Baskets gang
Julianne with the number 1 Wildcat at a College of Pharmacy event.

A few years ago, as a UK employee, she was elected to the Staff Senate for the University. It’s a big deal!! But, Julianne took the ball, not for the glory, but to serve her university community. And, like with all she does, she has served in amazing ways, such that she was elected to be Secretary of this elite group. And no, you would never hear about it from her. She thrives on giving the service and not the title of the calling.

I am so honored to be not only be associated with such a fine woman, but also blessed to be her husband. She is the ultimate example of giving!
Julianne passing out donuts at a Staff Senate event, even though she didn’t eat them
She is great at food prep and in another Staff Senate event was busily engaged slicing and dicing.
Julianne with others at a Staff Senate Bowling Event

56 to 40: The Cool Caring Grandmother

OK.  Julianne has DEAGED over the last few years.  Seems like each year she gets a year younger.  Many would be surprised that she is the grandmother of ten lovely grandchildren.  She cares about these sweet children so much.  She always wants to kiss their sweet cheeks!  She is such a COOL grandmother!

When were married in 1979, little did we know what would lay ahead on our journey.  We had hoped for a few children (we were blessed with five).  We even dreamed of having grandchildren, though a specific  number was never in our mind.  I would always just say “Children are like arrows, happy is the man that hath his quiver full of them.”

With the Matthews grandchildren (L-R: Benson, Livvy, Kade and Charles)

Julianne got to experience her first grandchild while she was in her forties.  She now   has TEN, and they are probably one of the biggest joys in her life.  She has a HUGE place in her heart for them and loves each one dearly.  She has an endless amount of kisses and hugs and smiles for them.

For this particular post, I am just going to let the photos below tell the story about this woman of love and care.  Obviously, words can’t describe the feelings like the photos do.  She is truly the Coolest grandmother around.

Fun with the Noe grandchildren…Lyla, Jos and Landen

Having a ball with Rockwell Kravetz

Always kissing those sweet cheeks – with Landen Noe

Snuggling with Sam Kravetz

Always there for her oldest grandchild Autumn Crabtree

Love….

Caring is being there….

Who needs an amusement ride? Lyla loving her swinging time

Kissing sweet cheeks again…this time with Benson Matthews

Sam and RockE like cuddling with Grandma

Sometimes the grandkids kiss Grandma’s Sweet Cheeks!

Nothing look a good snuggle with Livvy Matthews

Fun on the South Carolina coast

One of her favorite photos…Julianne with young Autumn