Marriage headlines come and go as often as I grocery shop. Headlines flash of famous people engaged and soon divorced before I even realized they were married. Those that stand strong in committed marriages rarely make headlines. Today is my parent’s 38th wedding anniversary. They make headlines here. Because they are the foundation for what Nathan, my husband, and I strive to be in our marriage. My dad beamed on his wedding day. I think he couldn’t believe that my mom still married him despite him picking out blue paisley tuxedos and failing to tell her until she got to the church. We have made many jokes of how ugly my dad’s side of their wedding looked in those tuxedos. By at age 20, my mom recognized traits in my dad she knew were worth keeping. My dad knew my mom was a gem.
Together they started with nothing, brought four children into the world, built a business and grew our family farm. There have been hard times. Loss. Hurt. My eyes well up with tears just typing the words. But my parents stand strong together. They are one. I have witnessed throughout my life their devotion to each other.
Three keys to making my parent’s marriage stand strong that I have witnessed are:
1. Faith. Their faith is deep. They don’t shove their faith onto others. They show it through example. They read their Bibles, pray daily and have always been active in a local church. Their faith in God’s plan shines through their lives by how they choose to live. They are loving to others. Generous. Thoughtful. Caring. They taught me to trust in Him. I have called my parents before, crying or frustrated with a situation and both of them have calmed me with scripture and an example from their lives. Their advice of “Do what you can, with what you have, where you are” is how they have lived. Together my parent’s faith makes their marriage stronger.
2. Friendship. My parents enjoy spending time with each other more than anyone else. They purposely schedule in “dates” and annual trips to spend time together. Even when my mom had young kids at home and my dad was working really long hours, my grandma would come stay with us and my parents would leave for a short vacation. We loved our time with my grandma. My parents needed that time as a couple I know now. Now as empty nesters, my parents still travel together. Sometimes their outings are as simple as going on drives around the farm together which are “crop tours”. My mom takes pictures while they walk fields and my dad scouts the crops. Sometimes I roll my eyes at how much they like each other. But truthfully, I am filled with joy to see a couple at their age still such good friends. Friendship is a key to marriage. My parents show that through their communication with each other and choosing to spend time together.
3. Commitment. My mom says, “You have two choices: quit or keep going.” Her other advice that I love about marriage is when she said to me, “Katie, don’t marry someone you can live with. Marry someone you cannot live without.” I was committed to finding the man for me who would stand strong in marriage. And when we finally found each other, I knew the commitment I would have to him in our marriage because of my parent’s example. Staying committed to each other in a marriage takes practice and hard work but the blessings are many for couples that choose to keep going.
My mom has a tribute, “I Got You Babe” on her blog in honor of my parent’s anniversary. It is full of photos of them as a couple and of us as a family through the years. I remember taking the picture of my parent’s in the kitchen shown above. They would have been around the age of Nathan and me today in the photo. I loved how they looked at that moment and still do today. It’s their friendship, faith and commitment that makes their marriage stand strong. It might not make top headlines but marriages that stand strong should be celebrated. Today we honor and celebrate.
Happy Anniversary, Mom and Dad. Thank you for your example. We love you.