In Remembrance Of Their Union
As Mom and I celebrate her and Dad's 64th wedding anniversary today it is bittersweet! Although Dad went to live with Jesus in 2011, Mom and I have continued to celebrate her anniversary. It is important to me for two reasons. One is that Dad would want me to. He would at least want me to get her some chocolate! Nothing fancy, just her favorite from the grocery store! I can see him grinning as he gave it to her - so proud of himself for remembering! The other reason is that Mom and Dad were married 56 years and I am sure this would be there 64th anniversary! That is something to celebrate! Because of their commitment to marriage, they taught me about marriage. They mattered enough to each other for us to continue to do something special as a remembrance of their union.
Anniversaries help us reflect on all we went through since we were first married. And often times we go through a lot, but with God's help we conquered a whole lot more! Like Mom, we are reminded of funny memories, painful memories, living in Germany as newlyweds, camping with friends, "Sharing Group" at church, spending weekends on the boat, births of three children, being a stay at home mom and then teaching when the kids went to school, going to the beach and boating, those energy-draining years of my brothers being teenagers, watching their only daughter go off to college. Later, they would travel to over 22 countries, swim in the ocean, eat dinner on the beach, watch their children get married and they would become the beloved, Honey and Pa to their grandchildren! Through this thing called life, Mom and Dad learned so much and their roots grew in God!
In 2019, 40 to 50 percent of married couples in the United States divorce. That rate for subsequent marriages is even higher. Why do I think my parents stayed married? Because there was three in that marriage; God, Dad and Mom. One of the best ways to fight for our marriage is to spend time with God and His Word. Psalm 63: 1, You, God, are my God,
earnestly I seek you..." Every morning my parents had their devotional and prayer time. They sought God every morning, first thing!
I remember right before I got married Dad told me that marriage would be one of the hardest things I would ever do. And he was not picking with me, he was very serious. I had lived on my own and did whatever I wanted and he knew this was going to change. It is giving and receiving. It is love, trust, and commitment. And it is work. We cannot expect marriage to survive without any work! It would be years later before I would "get" the God part.
Mom and Dad took a covenant before God to leave their mother and father and cleave to one another, putting no one but God, Himself, before each other. Genesis 2: 24, "That is why a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife, and they become one flesh." This covenant matters so much that God created woman from man and calls them to be "one flesh" through marriage. And God even told them not to put their parents or anyone else ahead of your spouse - except for Him! I know there were many times they leaned on this verse.
Ephesians 5: 25, "Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her." My dad showed my mom love and respect. Song of Songs 8: 7, "Many waters cannot quench love; rivers cannot sweep it away. If one were to give all the wealth of one’s house for love, it would be utterly scorned." Dad showed Mom love through simple things like going to the beach together. Many nights you would find them on the beach swimming, having a picnic (usually boiled shrimp) and watching the sun set and the moon get brighter. They would walk home by moonlight. Their love was above all material items and wealth!
We have heard the following Scripture at many weddings. As I read it and think about my parents I see just how much they loved God, loved each other and appreciated each other.
1 Corinthians 13: 4-8, "Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away." Was their marriage perfect? No, there are no perfect marriages but it was wonderful! I thank God for that God centered marriage that raised me and taught me about commitment. Happy anniversary, Momma and thanks to you and Dad!