This week has been bookmarked by marriage celebrations. Sunday started things off with my niece’s beautiful wedding and today it ends with my own 27th anniversary. In between these two occasions, I have spent hours observing and quietly honoring the final few pages of my parents 45 year marriage. The timing of these has made it a bittersweet but thoughtful week.
[pullquote]Marriage starts out with a hopeful celebration, continues with spouses working through cycles of stretching, brokenness, and rebuilding, and closes it’s final chapter, with a sweet whisper of gratitude.[/pullquote]
My niece’s marriage is beginning like my parent’s marriage most likely did, with two people believing that life would be better together and hoping that the joy they found in each other would last a lifetime. They must have believed that their love would be enough to overcome step children, ex-wives, adopted children, a multitude of past hurts, and a sizable age difference. Then as they moved through the ordinary years, I’m sure that they encountered, as my husband and I have, the marriage cycle of struggle, brokenness, and rebuilding–all covered with grace, tears, laughter, hard work, and periods of deep connection and loneliness. And now as they finish this final chapter, their love for each other has again been adjusted as they sacrificially love each other with kindness and grace. Marriage now for them is gentle and sweet and letting go of almost everything else, they find joy in smiles, kind words, touching each other, and their nightly devotions.
My parents have never sat down and shared with me the secret of a long marriage, but I’ve seen them live it. My dad and mom have encountered good times and bad and through it all they have remained committed to each other because they remained committed to Jesus. He is the sacred tie that binds them together. Both of them love Jesus and because of that, they have learned to love each other well. While I am heartbroken that my dad will not be with us much longer, I am forever grateful for the example of marriage that they placed before me. Today as I celebrate my marriage, it only seems fitting to recommit myself to Jesus and my husband in their honor.