When I asked my mom to write a guest post for Marriage Month I figured it was a bit of a shot in the dark. Between four kids + three (almost four) kids-in-law, eight grandkids, a quilting business, a children’s book in progress, and an upcoming wedding, she’s got plenty of things to keep her busy at the moment. And yet she took the time to write this…and it is PERFECT. (Full disclosure: she’s my mom and I like her, so I’m definitely biased.)
My parents are one of my favorite married couples ever. They’ve had plenty of ups and downs over the years, but I’ve grown up feeling secure in their love for each other. But instead of me blabbing on about it, I’ll turn it over to Grandma Terri!
My friend Sandra and her husband took their children to a water park this summer. She told me about a ride that required them to collectively carry a huge tube up 6 flights of stairs, in the blazing heat of the Phoenix summer, wait in an insanely long line of other riders, all for a plummeting, terrifying ride down a twisting water slide that really lasted a less than a minute. Then, she said, “we did it over and over and over again. We had a blast, except for the climbing part”.
That’s what I think of marriage. There a few moments of sheer exhilaration, some terrifying plummets, a lot of hard work and sweat and sometimes you have to wait for what you want; and you do all of this with the person you love. You wouldn’t want to enjoy such a ride with just anyone. So you choose one person to share the ride with, someone you love, someone you trust, someone you enjoy being with, someone who makes your heart skip a beat, even when you aren’t plummeting to earth on a rubber tube.
My parents just celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary in August. My youngest child is getting married in a matter of days. My husband and I are somewhere in the middle, having celebrated 34 years in May. Marriage has been on my mind a whole lot this year. I have watched with wonder how my parents continue to help each other, laugh with each other and love each other. I have wondered myself if I have taught my youngest everything he needs to know about marriage. Then I laugh. Of course I haven’t. How can you ever know everything you need to know about marriage?
“Marriage…is a learned behavior. Our conscious effort, not instinct, determines the success. The motivating force stems from kindness, true affection and consideration for each other’s happiness and welfare…. The Bible tells us charity suffereth long and is kind (1 Corinthians 13:4). That kind of love, the kind not taken lightly, not terminated at pleasure and thrown away like disposable plastic, but which faces all of life’s little difficulties hand in hand, entwining the souls, is the ultimate expression of human happiness.” (Howard W. Hunter, Teachings of Howard W. Hunter, 135-36.)
I love this description of marriage. We have to work at it every day. We can’t give up when things get hard. Sometimes one is strong, then the other is strong and sometimes, we are strong together. Sometimes we have to do things we don’t want to do, and sometimes the other has to do things they don’t want to do, but many times we do things we like to do – together. We keep learning as our life keeps changing. We keep falling in love – over and over and over again. “It’s a blast, except for the climbing part”.
If this is my only chance to give my youngest a few words that might help him and his bride in their new adventure called marriage, these are the words I would share:
Respect. Communicate. Pray. Listen. Work. Be Kind. Don’t Be Selfish. Have Patience. Be Honest. Forgive. Say You Are Sorry. Find Joy in Everyday Things. Don’t Quit When Things Get Hard, Because They Will Get Hard. Make God Your Partner in Everything. Say “I Love You” Every Day. Be Happy! Enjoy the Ride!
They were BABIES when they got married (my mom was 19!) but it makes my heart so happy that they still look at each other the way they did on their wedding day. I mean, the hair is different, but come on. That grin kills me.
I think this is my favorite line: “Sometimes one is strong, then the other is strong and sometimes, we are strong together.” That’s definitely been the case in my own marriage. What do you think of her advice? And assuming you enjoy water slides (which should be an obvious YES except David doesn’t because even he has his flaws) do you think it’s a fitting metaphor? What kind of marriage do you hope to have by your 30th–or 60th!–anniversary?