R. Edward and Karen Wilson will celebrate their 40th wedding anniversary on March 6. Yes, my mom and dad’s marriage has lasted, with most people noting its stronger now than ever before. That deserves recognition. That deserves congratulations. That deserves celebration. Happy anniversary!
However, it also deserves reflection. As when any major milestone is met, time to reflect on the accomplishment and what was learned is essential to our positive growth. The lessons taught by my parents seems exponential (unfortunately it took me a few years to really listen and understand many of them!). My mom and dad displayed the characteristics of hard work, sacrifice, and integrity like few others. They strongly encouraged my sister and I to always give our best effort (“If you’re going to do something, give it your best!”). Being public educators, education was very important in our home. My sister and I had great and loving parents. But specifically regarding marriage, what have I learned from them?
We all have heard the cliche that “Marriage isn’t easy”. I witnessed that. My parents are pretty much polar opposites. My mom is straight-up 100% Type A personality while Dad is slightly (sarcasm, A Lot) more laid back. As we all know, different personalities can have differences of opinions, which can cause conflict. I witnessed arguments. There were times as a young child I was scared that my parents didn’t love each other or me (I don’t think I was old enough to understand or contemplate separation or divorce). Regardless of this, they always bounced back together, and as I said earlier, their marriage is stronger now for it. Lesson number 1: Perservere, your marriage is worth it! Blessings of a lasting marriage may not be immediate, but they will be there. Two children and 4 grandkids later, my parents will attest to this truth.
As I said earlier, both my parents were teachers. Public educators in West Virginia are historically on the lower end in terms of financial incomes. I remember my mom at the kitchen table stressed while “doing the bills” every month. Dad worked in the summers while school was out, roofing and painting houses to bring in extra income. However, we were never in need, and rarely did I not get some toy or whatever cool thing I “had to have” while growing up. Lesson number 2: a Marriage that lasts requires sacrifice. My parents sacrificed not only for me and my sister, but for our family. They sacrificed for each other.
All marriages have highs and lows. I’ve witnessed this in my own marriage. If your marriage is in a valley right now, I encourage you to stick with it. Don’t give up. It may seem better to move on and find another partner or just to be free, but I truly doubt that route will lead to greater blessings in the end. 40 years of peaks and valleys, my mom and dad will testify to this truth.
Finally, I just would like to say thank you to my mom and dad. Their marriage has inspired me to be a better husband and father every day. Their sacrifice, perseverance, and love has greatly blessed our family. For that, we are ever grateful. So, Happy Anniversary. Thank you. I love you.
“Wives, understand and support your husbands…The husband provides leadership to his wife the way Christ does to his church, not by domineering but by cherishing…Husbands, go all out in your love for your wives, exactly as Christ did for the church – a love marked by giving, not getting.” Ephesians 5: 22-25 (The Message)