September 4, 2009

'Til Death Do Us Part

In the beginning, God spoke creation and it became so—lightness and dark, heaven and earth, land and sea, plants and animals. Each day brought a new wonder that God looked upon and declared “good.”

On the sixth day, God created Man and placed him in the Garden of Eden. Even though Man had paradise at his disposal, it wasn’t enough. “The LORD God said, ‘It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.’” (Genesis 2:18) Man searched among all the living creatures for an acceptable companion, but none (not even the golden retrievers) could fill the role in the way that God saw necessary. So, God created woman.

Then, He joined them together in marriage. “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh.” It was only then that “God saw all that he had made, and it was very good.”

Marriage is part of God’s plan for perfection. And while in the Garden of Eden, Adam and Eve’s union was perfect. But even before the honeymoon, the serpent enters the scene at the beginning of Genesis 3. And with one act of disobedience Adam and Eve’s marital bliss came to a screeching, finger-pointing halt.

Once sin entered the world, so did pride, envy, selfishness, impatience, infidelity, addiction, busyness and all the other threats to oneness. Marriage became hard work.

As it remains today.

While it’s actually not true that half of all marriages end in divorce, a large percentage of them do. We live in a time when marriage seems disposable. Expendable. Temporary. Unnecessary.

But, we hold onto hope for the perfect union God designed so very long ago. When we marry and pledge “I do,” we pray that we really will. And when we witness a happily married couple that’s stood the test of time, we celebrate, admire…and take notes!

Last weekend we celebrated my in-laws’ 50th wedding anniversary. I always knew Dan’s parents had a wonderful marriage, but I gained an even deeper appreciation for them as a couple. They’ve weathered the expected ups and downs that life brings, yet after five decades of togetherness they not only still love each other very much, they like each other, too!

The kids and grandchildren gathered round an anniversary memory book and DVD created for the occasion and saw evidence of a beautiful life knit together. I wondered how they managed to do marriage so well.

Here’s what I see are their “secrets” to success: mutual respect, commitment, submission, unselfishness, loyalty, shared goals, love and lots of laughter. It’s a formula as old as marriage itself. Easily said, not easily achieved.

Oh, how I could use more of these qualities in my own marriage. Sure, I throw these words around, but Lord knows I don’t exhibit them often enough! Some of you commented on what a good wife I was while Dan was away last month. Heck, it’s easy to be a good wife from afar (it’s like being a good parent when you gaze at your angelic children as they sleep). The hard part comes in the face-to-face, day in and day out. I tumble off my pedestal real fast!

I look at my in-laws’ marriage and thank them for the example they’ve shown us and our children. I pray that Dan and I approach our golden years with as much grace and beauty.

I put my hope for success, not in quick fixes, shortcuts or secret ingredients, but in the fact that marriage isn’t a man-made notion. It’s not a fad or outdated concept. It’s a relationship so vital that it was the first one God created. And when He did, He declared it very good.

Together, man and woman complete the image of God.

Is anything more beautiful than that?


Cheryl Barker said...

So glad you got to enjoy such a wonderful family celebration. My parents' 50th and the family weekend we spent together is one of the highlights of my life.

Blessings to you this upcoming holiday weekend!

Kelly Combs said...

My inlaws have been married for 65 years. They can't imagine not being together. Isn't it lovely.

This was a great post. I too could exhibit more of those qualities in my marriage. Couldn't we all?

Glad you had a nice trip!

Jody Hedlund said...

That is incredibly beautiful! What an inspiration. Those ingredients are great reminders--it's especially hard to live selflessly in today's me-first culture. I definitely struggle with that!

Sue J. said...

I lost my mother-in-law 4 years ago to cancer. She had been fighting pain for months and wasn't diagnosed until quite late in her struggle. But, we celebrated the 50th of she and my father-in-law and created some special memories. She died 3 months later, and she did thanking her husband for 50 great years. I don't think I'll ever forget that.

My folks' 50th comes up this spring. How can you not admire those who still believe that a vow made is one to be fulfilled. That really was God's intention all along. Praises to Him for His creation and for His working in the lives of our loved ones, our examples--the Word come down through the generations!

Saleslady371 said...

50 years! What a milestone. What a heritage for you and Dan. You are a wonderful wife or you wouldn't have written such a heartfelt post honoring his parents and admiring the time & hard work they put into it.

Stonefox said...

Hey friend, I'm getting back to the blog stuff (finally!) and loved this post. Thank God for good examples to follow. Marriage is never easy, but those who have learned what it takes can inspire us that it is worth the hard work.

Terri Tiffany said...

Wonderful! I love hearing about marriages that are strong and healthy. Speaking of anniversaries, we celebrate our
32nd one on Thursday!

Sassy Granny ... said...

I think if we had even a snippet of marriage's deeper meaning we'd be blown away. We catch glimpses of it, and in our hearts we affirm it's value. But to be "one" with another, just as Jesus is One with the Father ... well, it sort of leaves me speechless, awed.

Thank you for sharing the wisdom of a 50 year oneness. It inspires and encourages so many.

We'll celebrate our 43rd in November. Amazing.