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Inspiring Others: How Our Marriage Turned 50


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Inspiring Others: How Our Marriage Turned 50

Guest Commentary by Kathy Finley

My dearest Mitch,

As we prepare to celebrate 50 years there are so many thoughts and memories going through my head. If you had told me as a girl that didn’t particularly dream of being married and as a young woman who hadn’t dated much that this would be her future, she wouldn’t have believed you at all. And our getting married not much more than six months after meeting makes the story just that much more unlikely.

But here we are, and all the work we have done with engaged and married couples through the years helping them prepare for and reflect on marriage only sort of prepared us for what we would face together.

There were the challenges of losing our first pregnancy early, having three sons within three and half years, one of whom later developed mental illness, your Parkinson’s disease in the past decade or so, as well as plenty of other health and job challenges along the way.

We never really had many fights or a lot of conflict, although there were a few nights when I had to get up and write in my journal because you are not a night person, and I needed to sort out my feelings before I could sleep.

I have joked about how I don’t know how you’ve put up with me for this long, which is really true in a sense with my Irish enthusiasm and temper. The friction between us has helped rub off some of our rough edges, and being able to laugh together has helped enormously.

From the beginning I had a feeling of safety and trust with you — of Grace, really — and your dry sense of humor always kept me slightly off balance. (There was the famous valentine verse, for example: You’re my valentine; yes, you are. I’d like to take you home in a jar. But I would poke some holes in the top so that your breathing would not stop!)

Some of the best ways that have helped us stay close have come from you, like your plan for a weekly date night out, which we still do, all these years after the kids are gone, and the game we play as we eat lunch while retired, which started with COVID and has continued.

Our friends have been a huge support, one that I’m appreciating anew as we reach this milestone. There’s a group of couples with whom we shared childcare and plenty of ups and downs through the years; we still meet monthly to share prayer with them.

We have no idea what lies ahead, of course; we know that the challenges will be strong from watching friends deal with severe illness and death. But I am more blessed than I can say that I’m facing it with you. Thanks more than I can say for witnessing to my life and being the other half of my heart.      

The views expressed in this opinion column are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of FāVS News. FāVS News values diverse perspectives and thoughtful analysis on matters of faith and spirituality.

Kathy Finley
Kathy Finley
Kathleen Finley is a nationally-recognized authority on the Church and family life. The mother of three sons in their 40s, Kathy is a veteran director of parish religious education programs, and from 1977-1983 she was associate director of the Catholic Diocese of Spokane's Family Life Office. Kathy received a bachelor’s in Theology from Gonzaga University and a master’s in Religious Education from Fordham University. She is a former director of L'Arche Spokane. Kathy was a visiting and adjunct instructor in the Religious Studies Department at Gonzaga University. She has also taught in the Sociology Department at Spokane Falls Community College. With her husband, Mitch, Kathy co-authored the award-winning book, “Christian Families in the Real World: Reflections on a Spirituality for the Domestic Church.” She is also the author of “Dear God: Prayers for Families With Children,” “Amen! Prayers for Families With Children,” “Prayers for the Newly Married,” “More Savoring God” and many other books and booklets.

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Kathy Finley
Kathy Finley
26 days ago

And my most recent book, which is most applicable here, is Holy Together: Reflections on Married Spirituality. Check out mitchandkathyfinley.com to see all the books we’ve written.

Mitch Finley
26 days ago
Reply to  Kathy Finley

I wrote some kind of poem in response to Kathy’s letter. Here it is:

Here Comes a Letter

Here comes a letter, Dear One,
keeper of my heart.
Here comes a letter,
Ping, Zowie, Pow!
Here comes a letter
in the form of a list, Dear One,
a letter from me to you,
oh yes, from me to you.
I am sorry, Dear One, that I am not much of a poet.
All the same here is a list
of a few of the things
I love about you,
Dear One, keeper of my heart,
Ping, Zowie, Pow!
I love it when you
give me a piece of your mind,
Dear One,
keeper of my heart.
And I love it when
you hold my hand, my hand,
and so I wanna hold your hand.
And I love it when you tell me
it’s going to be alright, all right.
And I love it, Dear One,
when you remind me
that I forgot to do this or that,
or that or this.
Oh, I love it when
your joy is so great
the tears roll down your cheeks.
I love it when you weep
because you’re sad
and it’s the only
sensible thing to do.
So here comes
that letter, Dear One,
that letter I told you was coming,
that letter, Dear One,
Ping, Zowie, Pow!
And here is what the letter says:
It says that I love pretty much
everything about you,
Pretty much everything Dear One.
From the first day we met,
Ping, Zowie, Pow!

Tracy Simmons
25 days ago
Reply to  Mitch Finley

Love this!

Doug Nadvornick
Doug Nadvornick
25 days ago
Reply to  Kathy Finley

Kathy, I am reminded that you and Mitch were briefly mentors for my wife and me as we went through the early months of our courting and planning for our life together. That was 37 years ago and I’m proud to say our relationship seems to be as strong as it has ever been. Thanks to you and Mitch for being great role models.

Last edited 25 days ago by Doug Nadvornick
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