• Leigh Gerstenberger

16,702 Days and Counting




At the end of last week, my wife and I celebrated a major wedding anniversary. We had been married for 16,702 days. So that you don’t have to do the math, that turns out to be 44 years, and yes, there’s an app for that calculation!


As I’ve reflected on our time together a number of highlights occurred to me. Certainly, the birth of our two children who are now 36 and 38 were major milestones in our lives, along with the arrival of our six grandchildren over the past seven years. We have had the opportunity to travel all over the world to Australia, New Zealand, China, Israel, Europe, Central America, the Caribbean and much of the United States and Canada. We’ve made wonderful friends through our work, travels, church, ministry involvement and our homes in western Pennsylvania and northeast Ohio.


As wonderful as our marriage has been, it hasn’t always been easy. We have buried our grandparents, favorite aunts and uncles, my wife’s father and two of our siblings and numerous dear friends. We’ve struggled with significant health issues that in both of our cases have required major surgery. Thus far we’ve been fortunate that we haven’t been impacted personally with the COVID-19 virus however, we have walked that journey with several acquaintances, friends and members of our extended family.


All that being said, the thing that I’m most proud of with respect to our marriage is that we are still together. In the early 90’s after 15 years of marriage, we began to grow apart in our relationship with one another. Thankfully, we realized we had a problem, sought counseling and over time were able to repair our relationship.


A number of years ago a colleague confided in me that she and her husband were separated and, in all likelihood headed for divorce. At the time, my wife and I had been married for 35 years. As she shared the struggles she was having in her marriage, I empathized with her by acknowledging the challenges that I had faced in my own marriage. As we wrapped up our discussion, I encouraged her to find a way to repair her relationship with her husband. In doing so, I pointed out, that in my experience, had I not been able to get my marriage back on track, I realized now, with perfect hindsight, that I would have missed out on blessings too numerous to measure.


While volumes have been written on keys to a successful marriage, here are a few that if followed, will help keep a marriage on the right track.

  • Communicate clearly and often.

  • Tell your spouse that you’re thankful they are in your life.

  • Make time for one another as a couple.

  • Understand that it’s OK to disagree.

  • Sexual faithfulness.

  • Build your relationship on trust and honesty.

  • Develop a sense of selfless humility.

  • Learn to forgive.

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