“Walk hand in hand with me, God is our destiny. No greater love could be, walk hand in hand, walk with me.” – Andy Williams (lyrics from one of the songs in wedding ceremony)
40 years ago, my parents started a life together neither of them would ever be able to imagine. Tomorrow is their wedding anniversary. 40 years! I learned many things about marriage while being their daughter. Here are just a few… (in no particular order)
Things I learned about Marriage from my parents:
- Say I love you every day.
- Take family pictures often and even when you don’t want to.
- The family trip is worth the time and money.
- Go on dates.
- Prioritize time wisely. You can’t do everything. Pick one thing and do it well rather than do a million things nowhere near well enough.
- Pray together. The best people to lead you to Christ… your parents. I am thankful mine did.
- Forgive. Forgive. Forgive.
- Don’t bring up the past once it has been forgiven.
- Don’t judge other people’s lives or marriages. You never know what someone is going through in the privacy of their own home.
- Have a good group of couples you can depend on, and do special things with them.
- Let the loving and doting on children far outweigh the reprimands and punishing. (Boy, am I thankful for that one!)
- Believe the best in your children. Eventually, they will believe it too.
- Family pets are members of the family too.
- Practice patience often.
- Smile and nod when you would rather fuss and debate.
- Love notes, birthday cards, anniversary cards, special things written down mean a lot.
- Just be there.
- Cherish every holiday, milestone, change of season, shopping trip, beach trip, dinner, stroll around the neighborhood, outing with the grandchildren, picking out of the Christmas tree, etc, etc, etc. One day, those memories will be all you have, and those memories will bring more comfort than you will ever know.
My parents would NEVER want me to say they had the perfect marriage. No one does. It’s how they handled the bad WHEN it came. And believe me, it came to our house on more than one occasion.
It was the CHOOSING love and grace when anger and walking away was more logical. In our society today, we hear the question “why get married?” For my parents, it was a commitment they made that enabled them to stay together even when times were tough. And 40 years later, we can look back and learn from this strong commitment.
I am thankful I was able to learn so much from them. They demonstrated love in the most beautiful ways. In the most quiet ways. At the end of my Mother’s life, I have never seen such love between 2 people, and it had nothing to do with flowers, cards, or dates. It was the “being there” when nothing was left but the bad. It was one taking care of the other in the most humbling of ways. It was one depending on the other with as much faith as she had. They are love personified, and it is a privilege to say I have been there to witness it.
Happy 40th Anniversary to 2 of the most admirable people I have ever known, my parents.