I was extremely fortunate to grow up with two loving parents who not only loved all three of their kids (who definitely pushed their love to the limits), but also loved Jesus like crazy. The older I get I realize how solid my parent’s marriage actually was.
In a day where so many kids grow up without a mom or dad, or in abusive situations, I felt very lucky to grow up in a house that was overall peaceful with two great parents who were willing to learn and adjust to not only each other but to their children’s temperaments and attitudes as well.
Here are a few things I learned about marriage through them.
1. They Never Went to Bed Angry – I honestly can count on one hand the times I remember my parents arguing. I can count on one finger the time it got so heated my dad left the house to cool off. In 25 years I can’t think of one time that my mom or dad slept on the couch because there was a disagreement between them. My parents were quick to forgive each other and to put any heated situation in the past. When my dad got angry the few times I remember, he was quick to apologize and my mom was quick to forgive. As their marriage progressed they got better and better at forgiving each other.
2. They Are Growing Old Together – It’s no secret that my dad is not the same person he was when my parents first got married. My dad grew up in a completely different house than my mom did. While my mom’s family was all about…well family (oh, and pasta), my dad’s family was more of the ‘do whatever you want’ type. When my parents first got married it was a major shift for both of them. My mom was used to having people over all the time and my dad…well he most definitely was not. Over the years they changed and adapted to each other’s needs and personality types and they are both better because of it. My dad is a much more personable person these days not because he was forced to but because he loves my mom and wants to meet her needs. Which brings me right in to my next point
3. They Meet Each Other’s Needs – Oh sure, they are still two different people. My dad has no problem working on his motorcycle in the garage for hours by himself (something my whole family would pay money to see my mom do), and my mom has no problem talking to her friends either in person or on the phone for hours (something we’d all pay a lot of money to see my dad do), but they sacrifice for each other and they cross over into each other’s needs to meet them. My mom encourages my dad to buy the toys he wants, she has never once fought him on it. My dad hosts more people at the house more often, not because he necessarily wants to but because he knows it meets a need for my mom. It’s mutual submission to each other and what the other needs and it works wonderfully.
4. The Never Fought About Money – My parents have owned a small business for almost 30 years. Once again I can not think of one time they fought over money. As far as I know they never had their own personal checking accounts and their were no secrets between them regarding where money went. My mom was the book keeper for the business so she knew more about how our house economy worked, but my dad never once doubted where the money was going. My dad was also the sole provider of the family for the past 25 years and he was always extremely generous with the money he made for us. I once again can’t think of a time where my dad told my mom no (unless they were mutually going on a budget). Trust me, my dad didn’t want the pool, but my mom did….and now we have a pool. The things that my mom wanted and my dad didn’t (and vice-versa) was never used a weapon in their marriage either. My dad was more than happy to give my mom the world if he could regardless of who was making the money.
5. They Disciplined Their Kids – Yes, I was spanked as a child (I know I’m really mentally scarred) and you know what? I’m a better person because of it. My parents never ever ever spanked me out of anger or hit me out of anger. I spanked on my cute little butt and was always told that my parents loved me and they wanted the best for me. I truly never thought I was being abused, and I don’t have nightmares about being spanked….ever. I was a little punk as a child and I needed to learn that I wasn’t the one running the shots, my parents were. I’m so grateful for it now.
6. They Are Still In Love With Each Other – My parents marriage is like a well oiled machine. If you walk into our house on a week day morning you’ll see my dad at the kitchen table running through all of the paperwork for the job that day and planning out all the materials he will need and then getting his employees together and sending them out to get supplies while my mom is running between the kitchen packing lunches for all of us while going into the office to get details my dad might now have. They communicate like pros and you can tell that all of the hardwork they put in to their marriage early on has paid off immensely. I know my dad still sees my mom as the most beautiful person who has ever lived, and I know my mom is still head over heels for my dad.
7. They Mutually Submitted to Each Other – Let’s not confuse things here. I know that many non-Christians think that Christianity teaches the woman to submit to her husband and for the husband to rule over her like a king but this can’t be farther from the truth. The Bible teaches mutual submission with distinct roles to be fulfilled in marriage. My dad sacrificed so much for my mom and consistently put her needs before his own. My mom absolutely loved being a stay at home mom and she kept a CLEAN house even with three tiny terrors living there. My mom wasn’t forced to stay at home, she wanted to stay at home and my dad will tell you that she took the much harder job. Trust me, raising three kids, running a business, maintaining a house, and being involved with a local Church is no easy feat. My parents both knew the two essential roles it takes to have a family and the fulfilled those roles flawlessly.
8. My Parents Introduced Me to Jesus – I can’t speak on behalf of my other two (awesome) siblings, but I can say without a doubt that my parents are the ones who introduced me to Jesus and changed my life forever. They didn’t just tell me about Jesus and what it means to be a Christian, they modeled it in every area of their life. My parents were always honest, they always paid their taxes,and they gave money to those in need. They didn’t just send a few bucks overseas here and there, they gave money to people who couldn’t pay their mortgages, or couldn’t put food on the table. My mom ever single morning has that Bible out and is reading it taking notes. As a kid she would often tell us proverbs (usually when she was angry) that still stick with me to this day. We were heavily involved with a local Church as well. This gave me my foundation for life. I owe my relationship with Jesus all to my parents modeling a life after Christ and building their entire lives around it.
My generation doesn’t like hard work (just ask my dad he will tell you all about it), but marriage is hard work and when you put the time, effort and commitment into it, the result is a beautiful strong thing that binds two people together.
So thanks mom and dad for being the best examples of marriage that I’ve ever seen. You’ve raised three great kids and built a great life together. Thanks for being the model marriage that so many people look up to.
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