Ahhhh, Marriage. Tis the season. Over the last month, my husband and I have been traveling for two very special celebrations. One was a 40th wedding anniversary and the other was for a wedding day. It was such a honor to participate in the start of one marriage and get a preview to a long lasting one. Today, I went to a baby shower.
Unless you live under a rock, marriage has been a hot topic recently. Both “biblical” marriage and “same-sex” marriage have been buttons that most people haven’t been graciously responding to and there have been some missed opportunities for people to show each other love and simple considerations.
I’d really like to take a stand. I want to say, I’m here or there. I believe in civil rights, absolutely! I also believe the Bible is the Word of God and churches (not states) have the right to honor or not honor marriages they believe adhere to the values of that church. That’s religious freedom, no? It’s kind of strange when you think about it, why is our government telling anyone how marriage should be defined anyway? I do understand it’s more complicated than that.
I’m on my journey of chipping away at the Bible and Leviticus just happen to be the book I was reading during the SCOTUS decisions. I consider myself a student during this walk with God. There’s a lot I don’t understand yet but I also feel my eyes are opening in different ways. The Bible talks so much about love, sex, marriage, faithfulness, and eh-hem, divorce. It’s a really good read!
Marriage is hard. There are so many articles and books with advice; do’s and don’ts; warning signs; what to look for; hindsight perspectives. People make mistakes and hurt each other at various different degrees. Each person experiences and expresses love in different languages and dialects. Two individually flawed human beings partner together. Things can go wrong. Someone always forgets to change the toilet paper roll correctly and it can be all down hill from there. Doesn’t that sound… worth it? It is.
“It wasn’t always easy but I remember sitting on a lawn writing our wedding vows… and I don’t think this made it in the vows, but we made a decision right there that divorce was off the table.” -John & Carol, 40 years.
The 40th wedding anniversary was also a family reunion. The New Hampshire outdoor celebration included 50 smoked chickens, strawberry shortcake, water balloon war, and lawn games. The morning started with an early devotion in the tent where God was lifted up in praise and invited to the celebration. There were about 10 couples with around 300 years of marriage. I had to ask my husband later, “was I the only divorced person there?” Think about this… that is a lot of successful marriages!
For a successful marriage, always keep on showing love and respect everyday. A good marriage means work and never forget to work at improving your relationship all the time… remember that problems/differences can become learning experiences that enrich your marriage. -June & Ed, 53 years
A couple weeks later we went back to New England. We excitedly celebrated the marriage of a couple we had known from our small group at church. I am so honored that I was able to see the development of their relationship from start to engagement to marriage. The groom, like me, had experienced a painful divorce but was blessed with the healing and grace through a walk with Jesus. He was then blessed with a lovely wife who takes leaps of faith with courage. The wedding was beautiful. I cried, we danced, we ate (a lot) of cake! There was a couples-dance, you know the one, where the DJ starts eliminating younger marriages. First everyone under 1 year, under 5, under… The last two couples were the parents of the bride then groom. Both sets were married over 30 years. My heart was consumed with hope as the Holy Spirit was all around us. During the reception, we snuck off to make a wish under the stars where they said their vows.
Then today I attended a baby shower in Mississippi for a couple who married the same year as my first marriage. Their first child will be a little girl. I’ve known the couple for as long as I can remember. Our parents were all friends in a small community. Their marriage has been inspirational. Their marriage has been a mission. Shortly after college, they took their talents (Physical Therapy and Accounting) and went to Uganda to serve. Now living in Portland, they travel all over the world. They work together, they sacrifice to each other, and have incredible amounts of faith.
The common thread I saw in all these marriages that made it, was Jesus. I have hope and faith in the marriage I get to share with Jason and I’m so excited for what is in store for us in this journey.
These are just some of my observations that I wanted to share with you.