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More From Jeannine Brenner

January 22, 2021 by Jeannine Brenner (Pennsylvania, USA)
Larry and Jeannine at their wedding

In my devotional for today, “God’s Wonderful Gift,” I wrote about my regrets after my husband died — regrets for allowing work responsibilities to take priority over time with each other.  This past 4th of July, after being a widow and living alone for almost 12 years, I was joined in the Covenant of Holy Matrimony to Larry.  The two of us met at a “Surviving Grief” hospice program about a month after our spouses passed away and soon became friends.  

Living less than two miles apart made it easy for Larry and I to spend time together.  I enjoyed going with him on his swan photo shoots, trips, to Costco, out to eat, church, and so forth.  We are both Methodists, and since I retired I also do supply preaching quite often.  It was great to have Larry as my driver.  I also relied on his help after several major surgeries.

It was a wonderful friendship, gradually developing into a rich and beautiful love, supported by both our families.  Larry has two sons and four grandchildren.  I have two daughters, five grandchildren, and three great grandchildren, with another on the way.  Between us, we have three cats.  

This summer, with the pandemic and two major eye surgeries coming up for me, we decided it would be nice not to have Larry go home at night.  We had a simple wedding ceremony for our immediate family at my daughter’s home, planned by my granddaughters.  A special pastor friend I sponsored for her ordination did the ceremony.

Since we both had rather long previous marriages — Larry 39 years and I almost 50 — we both agree we learned from the past.  After Ed’s death, I was racked with remorse for not setting better boundaries with church work and not making time for the two of us to enjoy each other.  Even vacations were sometimes interrupted by church responsibilities, and many times my day off was spent playing catch-up.  

Since Larry and I are both retired, we obviously do not have the same work load we once had, and we can enjoy much more free time.  Larry has been very adaptable.  However, occasionally I still find my Type A personality creeping in, and I become too preoccupied with everyday tasks.  Being aware of this, I am making a conscientious effort to be more flexible and let my daily to-do list take second place to my husband.   

I realize it is okay if I am not constantly doing something.  Just sitting with the one you love is joy.  I am also working on giving my full attention to Larry when he is talking, avoiding inattentively answering, “Un-huh.”  Remembering the little things we shared is what makes precious memories when a loved one is gone.  

Jesus himself gave us an example of the importance of time alone with loved ones when he invited his disciples in Mark 6:31 to “Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place” (NIV).  He knew better than any of us the value of alone time for a healthy relationship.  Nothing says LOVE more than togetherness.

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The Upper Room magazine's mission is to provide a practical way to listen to scripture, connect with believers around the world, and spend time with God each day.

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