Cheers to the parentals….Today, they celebrate 60 years of marriage.
It leaves you in awe when you consider the reality of 60 years. That is one long time to be with the same person! You have to come to realize that it isn’t just love that keeps you together. Nope. And it isn’t romance, good looks or intellect. And not that these two don’t have these qualities. But let’s be real, It’s something much greater, something much harder and it’s something most don’t do. It’s choice. It’s a choice to say yes to the commitment made to each other and under God for better or worse. And then to continually choose to say yes in the hardest times of worse.
There have been hundreds of thousands of books written on this very subject called marriage. Yes, many are helpful offering antidotal tools of teachings that are beneficial. There are books with Biblical instruction on marriage providing wisdom, and truth that are mose excellent for all marriages . But with all the books, instruction, knowledge, expert opinions and teachings, marriage continues to be a dying institution. Divorce is off the charts. And in this culture, the idea of committing to one person seems absurd or at least not for the long haul. Maybe, committing until they no longer meet our needs.
See, often we marry for all the wrong reasons. We go into it thinking what can I get out of it? What can this person give me? How can he or she make me happy. You know, the infamous line, “you complete me.” We set ourselves up to fail with those mindsets because marriage can’t be about us.
If we step into this union as it was created, we walk into marriage with a holy perspective. What can I give to this person? How can I pour into them? How can I love them regardless of their shortcomings, attitudes, selfishness, pride, and all the other flaws that exist. Well, that takes marriage to a whole new level. 60 years to be exact.
See, God ordained the parameters of marriage and Jesus affirmed them. We are to love our spouse not just because they are these wonderful people who’ve walked into our lives. We don’t love because they are incredibly nice, making money, showing up, making us laugh, romancing our heart and all the other reasons we were drawn to this person. We can’t stake marriage on those because life happens. In marriage we experience many seasons. Seasons of struggle and pain, and in many instances, downright suffering. We are to choose love, honor and commitment always because God tells us to. Marriage is this mixed-bag where happily ever after is surrendered and the pursuit of commitment is embraced. Selflessness has to be on the forefront of our marriages.
We must choose to love when their health is failing and their minds aren’t as sharp. We choose to love when providing is harder. We choose to love when their looks fade and the heaviness of years shows up on their face. We choose to love when they continue to sink less and lower than the person we stood across at the alter. Why? Simply because that is what Jesus tells us to do.
It’s hard. It’s work. I know because I’ve witnessed this particular union for 55 years. I remember the pressures of life. Pressures of work, school, bills, activities. Recession. Kids. And I remember the many struggles they endured. I’ve watched my parents suffer. They’ve suffered great loss and hardship throughout their 60 years. They’ve walked dark roads. They’ve experienced many sleepless nights. They’ve cried. They’ve fought. Even into the final stages, the golden years, suffering has been at their doorstep. And yet, they’ve endured, together.
60 years. 60 years will bring pain and suffering. You will have hard times. And yes, there have been many couples who have endured. But my parents. These two amazing people, they not only endured, they did it well. They have truly demonstrated grace under fire. Persistence in pain. Determination in the storm and grit in the battle. They chose to love when dislike dominated. They radiate. They are my heros in this beautifully complex institution we call marriage.
So, hats off to these two. The best people I know!