Today is a special day for me. Forty-two years ago today, my Mom and Dad said their “I Do”s and jumped headfirst into a lifetime covenant. They were nineteen, inexperienced, and completely unprepared for the mammoth task before them. Back then, people did not discuss marriage as openly as they do now; so, when young people got married, they had to figure it out along the way and make it work.
This is still true to a point. No couple is completely ready for the mysteries of marriage, but today’s young couples have much more resources and mentoring opportunities available than those in my parents’ generation.
In celebrating this special day, I asked my parents to tell me why they believe their marriage has lasted forty-two years. In her response, Mom said, “Here are the reasons Dad and I thought of. They are not necessarily good reasons. I don’t think they’ll make a good blog post for you. Sorry!”
I have to disagree with you there, Mom! I deeply appreciate your reasons and I know we can learn from them!
Mom and Dad’s Six Reasons!
- “First and foremost, we credit your grandmother’s prayers for us!” Never underestimate the power of a praying Mama! My Granny Jones had a direct line to the Lord and she called on Him every day. She pled with Him for her family’s salvation and for them to live righteously. I have no doubt her prayers got her family through some incredibly rough times. They likely have no idea how many fiery darts they avoided thanks to Granny’s fervent prayers.
- “Your Dad had a good family model to emulate.” Mom came from a broken home, though she had a wonderful example in her grandmother. Though my Dad’s parents did not talk much about the inner workings of their marriage, they modeled a quality relationship and that was beneficial to my parents as they made their way in the world. Marriage is never exactly what we expect!
- “We were too proud to let other people think we could not make it.” Okay, so maybe this is not the best reason, but I still like it! ~smile~ Would it not be great if peer pressure still compelled us to make our marriages work? Today, we hear, “Life is too short to be miserable,” and, “You have to be true to yourself,” instead of, “You can work it out,” and, “Choose to love each other.” If not wanting to admit failure motivated them to fix problems instead of calling it quits, then I am happy for their determination to win.
- “We could not afford to divorce.” They said, “Once, we talked of separating. So we sat down to figure out if we could financially afford to do so. We realized we could not make it financially, so we made up our mind to stay together.” I was an adult before I knew Mom and Dad ever (seriously) considered separating. Though I am not sure what drove them to this point, I am thankful they could not go through with it – financially and otherwise.
- “We were Christians and believed we were supposed to stay together.” Scripture makes no bones about God’s feelings on divorce (Malachi 2:16). So, as far as I can see, this was the best of their reasons. Marriage is a covenant. Contracts can be broken; whereas, covenants are forever. I am glad their faith was strong enough to solidify their decision to stay together.
- “We stuck it out no matter what.” “After sticking it out, we are sure we did the right thing. We are much happier together now than we have ever been.” As their daughter, I am deeply touched by these words – “we are much happier together now than we have ever been.” Not only is it a blessing to know my parents are happy together, but it gives me hope that if Eric and I stick together through the tough times, we may be rewarded with a season such as this in our marriage. I can remember times which were not super happy in our household. Mom and Dad had stressful periods like all married couple do. They could have called it quits, but they hung in there and now they are happier than they have ever been.
On days when I feel the walls closing in around me and I question everything about my marriage, I am thankful to have a fine example in my parents. They never pretended to be perfect. They have been open with me about their struggles. They have advised me because of their mistakes. They made it with fewer marriage resources and no marriage mentoring. If they can push through the tough times, so can we. I am delighted that they can say, “We have been married forty-two years.”
Happy anniversary, Mom and Dad! I am thankful God gave you forty-two years together and I pray He gives you many more!
Have you ever asked couples you admire for the secrets to their success?