In a world of broken families and less focus on the institutional foundation of marriage, I am pausing this week to remember, cherish and honor the longest standing marriage in our family. My maternal grandparents, Oscar and Nola, will celebrate their 60th wedding anniversary this week. There won’t be a big bash…yet or a band playing in their honor. It will be low key just like they wish. But I have arranged our week to be there on the actual anniversary day with the girls.
I don’t know how many people I will ever know in a lifetime that will have the milestone to celebrate 60 years of marriage. But this is my second time in my life. I have clear memories of my great-grandparent’s, Odin and Esther’s 60th and 65th wedding anniversary parties. They were my Grandma Nola’s parents. I know enough to make this an event for our kids to recognize the importance of these special people in their lives and to take enough pictures so when they are old they can remember the moments.
Anyone who knows marriage knows that 60 years of marriage doesn’t happen by accident. It is a choice, sacrifice and commitment to one another through trials, tribulations and joys. Life doesn’t always allow us a long standing marriage. Tragedy and loss occur. But often I think it is easier for married couples in America today to choose themselves over their partner and marriages fail.
The most important thing my grandparents have taught me through example about marriage is selflessness, to put my partner ahead of myself. And if you know me…that is not easy. I admit my selfishness. But our marriage works because both Nathan and I have had long standing marriages of selflessness from our parents to grandparents to serve as our guide. We are living out what we have learned. We know to honor, respect and to love one another more than ourselves. We only have 55 years to go meet the milestone my grandparents celebrate this week. We’ll keep going year after year.
Because marriage matters.
Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity. Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. – Colassians 3:12-15