Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Marriage: A Covenant

Today is my parents' 30th wedding anniversary.  I'm feeling a bit nostalgic today, reflecting on the example that my parents set for my brother & me, thinking about all the ups & downs they've experienced in thirty years together, wondering what the next thirty years will have in store.

When I look at a picture of my parents on their wedding day, I can see the youthful excitement in their eyes.  They were young, my mom was 20 & my dad was 26.  Although I'm sure they had some disagreements while dating & during their engagement, overall they felt nothing but bliss as they set out to begin their lives together.
My Parents on their Wedding Day
A few months after their seventh wedding anniversary, my dad became seriously ill.  Initially, doctors believed he had a severe case of the flu; but as the months of dehydration, nausea & fatigue continued, they began to believe it was something more serious.  Ultimately, he was diagnosed with Chronic Fatigue Immune Dysfunction Syndrome (CFIDS).  My dad's illness became a catalyst of change for our family, especially for their marriage.  My mom, who had been our homemaker, went back to school & eventually earned two degrees.  My dad became "Mr. Mom," taking us to school, sports practices, appointments, etc.  The dynamic of their marriage took a sudden shift.  But they were still the same two people who stood at the altar that day & took a vow before God to honor & care for each other in sickness & in health.  Of course, when you say those words, you don't really know what types of challenges life has ahead for you.  But that is all part of taking the leap of faith & trusting that with God & your spouse, you will be able to accept whatever comes in your path.

Although I'm not thankful my dad got sick & I would give anything in the world for him to get better, I wouldn't trade the experiences we've had as a result of the illness.  My brother & I were never guarded from the fact that mom & dad sometimes disagreed or argued.  But what we learned by seeing those things was that despite the fact that they might not agree, they always loved each other.  I know for a fact that it was their vow, their covenant before God, that has kept them together for thirty years.

So now, when I look at my own wedding photo, I wonder, what sorts of challenges will life throw at us?  In six years of marriage, we've had our fair share of ups & downs.  There are times when we can't stand each other & I wonder what on earth did I get myself into, but in those moments, I find God pulling at my heart, causing me to take a long hard look at my actions & hopefully making better, faith-filled decisions.  Marriage is a journey of sacrifice, learning the ultimate love comes through giving unto others, especially your spouse.  The covenant Jesse & I made on our wedding day is our bond to each other & to God.  Although it has its difficult moments, I honor that covenant more & more as we continue on our path together.  Hopefully in 24 years, we'll be able to share a story of unending love through trials & tribulations, ups & downs, with our girls & those around us just as my parents are exemplifying to us today.
Jesse & I on our Wedding Day

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