In January, my Meme & PawPaw celebrated their 63rd wedding anniversary. In May, my Nana & Papa would have celebrated their 63rd as well.
And, today, my parents celebrate their 27th.
The longevity of these marriages is an anomaly any more. Single parenthood runs rampant, live-in situations are the norm, and divorce is about as common as having running water. I’m not condemning any of this… who am I? I’m just simply stating what is fact and pointing out the drastic changes in our society over a few decades.
The thing is that many of our problems stem from a delusion we’ve created for ourselves. Society has brought forth this notion of a “soul mate” and the fact of the matter is, it’s not healthy or right.
Most think that they’ll meet someone that is “compatible” with them, fall in love, and spend the rest of their lives with rainbows and unicorns and long walks on the beach. No struggles, no hardships, just heart-shaped pupils for the next 60 years.
Oh sure, it makes for a fantastic movie, a thrilling novel, or even a sweet Hallmark card, but then reality strikes and we see that in real life, no one lives like that.
Just recently I’ve watched a 35 year marriage end, a friend leave her husband because she wanted to be “wild & free”, and a man walk out on his wife and kids because he decided he didn’t “love” her anymore. All of them Christians, and all good, GOOD people!
I don’t think there’s any greater evidence of the lies and deception that we have bought into. Instead of making marriage about sacrificial service and commitment, we’ve made it about emotions, happiness and self-gain.
Here’s the truth. Despite what e-harmony would like you to believe, a soul mate isn’t someone that you find with perfect compatibility. A soul mate is someone that you intentionally and prayerfully become to one another.
Our marriages should be like Christ’s heart for the church: sacrificial, pure, and eternal. It’s not about ranks or roles, emotions or happiness but about sacrifice, purity, and commitment.
That’s the kind of relationship my parents have (and no one better tell Dad I wrote this because he will KILL me).
Their relationship isn’t about who submits to whom or who is “doing their part.” It has always been about each other. It seems like if they’re both giving each other all that they have, they don’t have time to worry about their own needs. Their commitment and love for each other supersedes their individual wants and desires.
Growing up, I watched them wake up every morning and pray together, & most nights, they’d have us sit through “family devo” time. I saw Dad continually provide for, care for, and even spoil, Mom. And my mom has always graciously, faithfully, and joyfully (or so it seemed!) served him, even in the face of adversity.
I can only hope and pray that someday the Lord blesses me with a man like my dad. A man that loves Jesus more than his family. A man that loves, honors, and cherishes his wife. A man of great integrity, compassion, and faith. A man that keeps his commitments, works hard at his job, and provides faithfully for his family, above and beyond what they need. A man who studies his Bible, serves his church, and faithfully lives by the Word of God, even when it is not popular or understood.
And, I pray that I am the woman my mom has shown me to be. A woman of grace and of love. One who serves her husband and children diligently, without giving credence to her own wants. A woman who continually devotes herself to prayer and who loves scripture. A woman of great joy, patience, and gentleness. A woman who loves in the fiercest way possible, who has a heart for “the least of these” and who faithfully serves the Church. A woman who makes herself relevant to the world but never compromises her principles or values.
So, here’s to you, Mom & Dad. May God continue to bless you in ways never thought possible. You taught me that He can do that.