Today my parents are celebrating their 30th anniversary as a married couple. One of my greatest blessings in life is having this amazing couple as my mom and dad. Here are four of the many lessons I’ve observed about marriage from them.
1. They’re all in.
In poker, going all in means you’ve bet all your chips on your current hand. You either win big or lose everything all on the strength of the cards you’ve got. It’s either an incredibly gutsy or incredibly stupid move. That’s how marriage should be, and it’s one of my parents’ secrets.
My mom once told me about a time that she says was a turning point in their relationship. She was pregnant with me and they lived in this tiny house next to a squatter’s area. She got sick with German measles and she didn’t have anyone to take care of her during the day since Pop was at work. Her mom offered to take care of her if she would come back home and stay there for the meantime. She brought the matter up with my dad who then said, “Who are you married to, them or me?” She then called her mom back and said she’d be staying with him.
My mom said that this decision is one of the reasons they’re going strong and it’s a good thing they established it early in their marriage.
2. They love being with each other.
My dad and mom seriously enjoy being with each other – whether it’s rearranging the house, watching movies, ministering to others, traveling, praying together, etc. They just make life look so fun. They play pranks on each other and tease each other. They love trying new things and then laughing over it if they botch things or mess up.
I can honestly say so many of the most entertaining conversations I’ve seen them have are at home or at a restaurant over lunch or dinner. We can honestly go on forever because that’s the kind of environment they built our home around. That’s why the always advised us growing up to marry a girl who you just enjoy being with all the time.
3. They dream together.
Our family has seen its share of ups and downs. By the time I was 12 we’d lived in six different houses, as the businesses rose and fell, they would adjust. But one thing that my parents always do together is dream. They pray together and let their faith fly. They envision huge and grand things, sometimes without any physical backing for it. Whether it’s for the house, for us, for family members and friends who are going through tough times, for the nation – I’ve always believed that God is good, right will win out, and that His plans for us are great, partially because of how they talk to us and each other.
4. They are submitted to God.
My parents are not perfect and neither is their marriage. But the thing that ensures they will ALWAYS come together is their mutual faith in God. Whenever one of them (or usually both of them) messes up, loses their temper, becomes stubborn or hurtful, etc., they just wait for God to work in the other person and then things work out. And they know this will happen eventually because they know the other partner has been changed and is continually being changed by Jesus.
In so many ways they keep telling me that there is never a perfect relationship, but with Jesus in their lives, they can trust Him to make things happen. Their decisions are based on the Bible, they are submitted to spiritual authority, they receive correction and give it lovingly.
You could say they really love each other – in the cheesy, corny way, in the overly-affectionate, makes-us-uncomfortable way, in the you-and-me-against-the-world way, in the I-believe-in-you way, and in the self-sacrificing, overcoming, be-like-Jesus way.
So Mom and Pop – Happy anniversary! Thanks for being the best example for us to follow! Here’s to 30 (or more!) years!