Tribute to Anna Gates on our 30th Anniversary

Leary & Anna - 30 years ago

Leary & Anna – 30 years ago

Today marks thirty years since the day my best friend also became my wife. It’s hard to imagine all the things we’ve learned together, the laughs we’ve shared, and the fights I’ve lost. How minuscule the love that propelled me to marry her seems thirty years later. I was a different man then; just barely a man. She was a different woman too.

The pastor that married us warned that the first year of our marriage would be the worst. He anticipated two head-strong people knocking off the rough edges of obstinance like two misaligned gears. Both would have to give way before any real traction could occur. On the first count he was wrong. The first year of our marriage was actually pretty good. Perhaps in our obstinance to prove him wrong, we were on our best behavior. But in the end, he was quite right. There were many occasions where our differences loomed larger than our attractions. In one of His greatest acts of grace toward me, however, God knew that Anna was the other gear I needed most.

Marriage to Anna is God’s gift of grace to me in the flesh. She’s taught me to be present in the moment, to engage more richly in conversation, to see God’s hand in ordinary things, and to be grateful. Watching her reminds me that I still have a lot to learn in these areas. Especially about gratitude. Recently, when I fixed our master bathroom toilet after several days in disrepair awaiting new parts, she remarked that it was nice to have that luxury returned to her. Not many, myself included, would consider a toilet to be a luxury. But she genuinely does. Her attitude of gratitude has been a powerful detoxifier of my self-absorbed irritation when things don’t go the way my stubbornness demands. Even her outlook on our toilet is changing how I think about the smallest rooms in our house. And that’s what she’s done for our family with every area of life. She makes the smallest of blessings in our life large.

So on this thirtieth year, 10,957th day of marriage, I want to say to Anna, once again, “Thanks for saying ‘I do.’ I’m so glad you did!”

3 thoughts on “Tribute to Anna Gates on our 30th Anniversary

  1. Awww…. I love this post!

    What I love even more, though, is that I’ve had the opportunity to watch your marriage from a front-row seat for so many years. What a privilege and blessing it has been and still is! I am beyond blessed to have you both as my parents. Thank you for being such awesome role-models to us kids and for showing us what it takes to make a healthy marriage work.

    Celebrating with you on this, your anniversary.

    Much love,
    Stephanie

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