There was never a question in my mind of you not staying the course.
I know things were not always easy or perfect or certain. I know your relationship has walked through pain and heartache, rejection and fear. Yet, here you are standing stronger today than ever before.
While I was growing up I got to watch you both grow up together. And being the observant, introspective child that I was (mostly I was nosy) I actually got to see into the heart of your marriage.
I don’t know if you know this, but I was there during many of the fights. I would sit at the top of the stairs or the hall that led to my room and listen. I heard the hurts, the fears, the insecurities. I would find myself crying, but deep inside I knew and understood that this was real life living. I was witnessing beauty unfold. Somehow I knew I was safe and secure. I knew nothing would split you apart. Even at a young age I realized you weren’t fighting against each other, you were fighting for each other.
You were fighting for your marriage, for our family. You were fighting for us. For everything the future could be.
When I was 16 ya’ll had that blow out. You know the one. Ok, so that time I was scared. I’d lived long enough to know some marriages didn’t last. You had made it this far, was it possible to keep on going?
I remember you sent me to spend the afternoon at my aunts house with my cousins. I cried to her and I remember she said, “Your mom and dad are going to work it all out. They hold onto each other and they won’t let go.”
She was right.
You wouldn’t let go.
I wish I could say life got easier. But unfortunately, I didn’t make your life easier. Sorry. I think you did pretty well though!
Yet despite the trials of raising children, through all the heartaches of adolescence and stubborn, selfish children, you continued. You pressed on.
And now, 36 years have passed. And I’m in awe, encouraged, and joyful.
The kids call to wish you a happy anniversary and you tell us you are spending your evening serving the sick and hurting. Hours will be spent making a delicious meal, cooking together and serving others. 36 years ago on your wedding day you were served and rejoiced over and after years of serving God and each other you still go on. “Just as the son of man did not come to be served, but to serve…” You live it. Even today.
My heart is overwhelmed.
I’m still taking notes.
How do you make marriage last for 36 years?
- You love fiercely and you take scripture seriously. Love is patient. Kind. It does not envy or boast. It holds no record of wrong. It does not dishonor. Its not selfish or easily angered. It rejoices in truth. It protects, trusts, hopes. Love Perseveres! I never saw perfection, but I did see sacrifice. I saw brokenness, but I also saw healing. All of these pieces woven together to make a tapestry of 36 years of life, love, honor, marriage, commitment.
- You fight for your marriage. When the sun goes down on your anger, you keep fighting. When the sun rises after mourning, you keep fighting. You fight for your marriage until God’s grace pours onto you and then you hold each other and praise God from whom All blessings flow.
- You understand that your marriage isn’t just a piece of paper or a ring, but a covenant. A life lasting agreement or bond between you and your spouse, the one you left your life for and to whom you cling to and with whom you are one with, and your God, your maker and redeemer. A marriage isn’t simply you and him, it’s us and God. Such a covenant can not be so easily broken no matter what life hails.
- You learn to hold on and cling to each other and to God. To cling is defined as “to hold together; to adhere as glue firmly; to remain as if resisting complete dissipation.” You remain. You don’t run away, emotionally or mentally or physically. You stand firm, adhered to your place, your person, your God.
- You serve together. You pour yourselves out for other people. You are one and as one you give of yourselves for others. You build and encourage others and in that you build up yourselves. Your purpose is for the other and you keep walking towards that goal. The goal of 36 years ago, to love the Lord your God with all your heart and soul and mind and to love your neighbor as yourself. In that service you see your soulmate and you understand “the truth that once was spoken, to love another person is to see the face of God.”
To my sweet parents on their Anniversary: I am forever grateful. Thank you for your example and your sacrifices. I will never stop watching and learning. I thank God for 36 years of Grace and blessings, strung together one after the other. My love story is beautiful because it is rooted in yours.
To God be the Glory.
With all my love,