Tuesday, January 7, 2014

50 Years... What it looks like

 This holiday season we drove to Baton Rouge to help my parents celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary.  50 YEARS!!!  Half a century...Five decades.. That's a long time, yall!   After the planning, the party, eating the left over cake, opening the gifts, I found myself thinking about the rarity these days of people who can say they've been married 50 years.  I'm sure at every wedding the precious couple is picturing themselves at their 50th wedding anniversary, but seems like most of the time, the dream is lost somewhere between the sleepless nights kids bring and the new job that didnt turn out so great.  Marriage is work. It's a commitment and it's something worth working for.
    I've been involved for 41 years in my parents marriage.  Over those years, I've observed some things that I think would service us all to review in hopes to make our marriages happy and successful.  Some of it seems a little trivial, silly and strange, but apparently it worked!
 Thinking back on it, I certainly didn’t realize what I was witnessing at the time, but now I see that I had the awesome opportunity to watch a marriage work.  Many people my age don’t have that background, unfortunately.  In those years, here are some things I saw that may help us all.
1-       Respect.. My mother has always had a tremendous amount of respect for my dad.  I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve heard my mother talk about how incredible my dad is, how proud she is to be his wife, how awesome God is to have blessed her with him, how she prayed we’d meet men as amazing as dad.. almost always without my dad present to hear her bragging.  I also remember my dad doing the same for my mom. ..
2-      Listening-  This one goes out to my dad.  He kind of a reserved individual most times, and doesn’t always have a lot to say, but boy.. can he listen.  I have witnessed numerous times my mother discussing frustrations, fears, concerns and even just stories and my dad just listening to her.. never complaining.
3-      Service-  This one is HUGE.  My dad is a very hard worker.  He rarely takes time off.  He’s always been up early and home late.  He has given his adult years to being an excellent physician and providing amazing care to his patients… not to mention serving his family by being the breadwinner.  I can’t remember hearing him complain about going to work EVER… and my MOM… she has the most amazing servant heart of them all.  She still, to this day.. makes my dad a lunch during the work day.  He comes home from work for an hour and if she is not there, she has prepared for him a sandwich, or something to eat.  She goes over and above to serve my dad.  I don’t think my dad knows how to run the washing machine or the dishwasher even now.

4-      I save the largest for last.  CHRIST.. My parents have always, without wavering, committed and devoted their lives to serving the Lord.  Many times it was hard.  They dealt with church struggles, served on pastor search committees, finance committee, personnel committee, taught Sunday school, led children's choir, hosted events and let's not forget the good ole Committee on Committees.  That's funny, but it's true.  More importantly, through the good times and the many hard times in life, they have stayed focused on the Lord and His desire for them to truly light their world, by sharing Christ, serving others, and growing a legacy of children and grandchildren who also honor the Lord.
  I am so blessed and honored to have celebrated with my parents and honor their marriage.. It's a great reminder that the days are long, but the years are short.  Time flies by, and as you look back, you see the small, but important things that worked.  Here is a picture of my parents with their 16 grandchildren, all of which hold them very close.  College students that come "home" and stay with Granny and Pops all holiday, teenagers who sit around the table laughing with Grannie, little boys who anxiously surround Pops waiting for the next trivia question and kids who would all agree that they hope to have the same marriage, love and home of their own one day.  Thank you, Mom and Dad, for making it work and making it look easy.  We love you!