Saturday, July 2, 2011

The Vows Go Unbroken, and You Still Know I do.

Love, Keep, and Honor. Always true to you. No one says it better than Kenny Rogers. This was one of the songs from our wedding way back on July 3, 1993. As we get ready to celebrate our 18th wedding anniversary, I've been thinking about that day and the vows and promises we made to each other. If you count the four years we dated before marriage, Michael and I have been together for more than half of your lives, and if the good times and bad times are averaged, I think we have a passing grade. Sure there are ups and downs, arguments from two strong-willed (that sounds better than stubborn) people, financial issues, spats over child-rearing, in-laws, jealousies, and other areas that most married people encounter. But I can't imagine facing these issues, raising my children, or growing old with anyone else. So my question do we make it last? How do marriages make it through the hard times, and come out happy on the other side? I have no idea. Any suggestions are welcomed. Here are some things I have discovered about strong marriages.
As I was looking trough my wedding album I came across a poem that was read at my wedding. It was actually from a card my great-grandfather Hershel Wells gave to my great-grandmother Agnes for a Christmas gift during the depression. It was all he could afford, but I think the words and the actions he put forth behind them is priceless and what led to their long and happy marriage.
It isn't that we talk so much
Sometimes the evening through
You do not say a word to me
I do not talk to you.
I sit beside the reading lamp
You like your easy chair
And it is joy enough for me
To know that you are there.
It isn't that we go so much
Sometimes we like to roam
To concert or to theater
But best of all is home
Our lives are fitted each to each
In all our likes we share
And it is joy enough for me
To know that you are there
It isn't that you tell to me
The things I've come to know
For some things are too deep for words
But love is surely so
You only have to touch my hand
To learn how much I care
And it is joy enough for me
To know that you are there.
For those of you who had the pleasure of knowing Hershel and Agnes, this was their love story. Pepaw, as we called him, loved, cared, and adored her. It may sound out-dated or old-fashioned, but I think that might be one of the things that will keep a husband and wife living happily ever after. According to Dr. Phil McGraw, marriages can be held together when two people are willing to do small, thoughtful gestures for one another. For example, he makes sure he keeps a full tank of gas in his wife's car, and Joy makes sure there's always a pitcher of iced tea waiting for him when he's done taping the show each day. These acts are to be done without fanfare and as the poem states, "to know that you are there." Applying this to my own marriage, occasionally Michael will surprise me by bringing my lunch to work, my favorite grilled chicken salad and a Diet Dew from Capps BBQ (he knows the way to my heart). On the top of the Styrofoam container he'll always write "I love you." And I've followed Joy McGraw's example and keep a full pitcher of lemonade for him when he gets home from work. Small things that can make a big difference.
A happy marriage is the union of two good forgivers. ~Ruth Bell Graham. So true, but so difficult to carry out. I must admit that I like to get in the last word and be right-all the time. But Dr. Phil says
"Forget whether you're right or wrong. The question is: Is what you're doing working or not working?" Ouch. This is an area that I need special help with. After 18 years of marriage I think we have gotten better at this but more work is required. The question is: would you rather be right or happily married? My grandparents, Margaret and "Soup" Bryant were married for 75 years, and as she has said, that's longer than most people live. A few years before his death the two of them were in a car accident and sent to CC Hospital. They insisted on being in the same room, and I was there when they wheeled grandma into Papa John's room and cried as they immediately reached out to each other and held hands. Lots of water under the bridge, heartaches, and ups and downs in their long marriage, but that single act said it all.

Don't marry the person you think you can live with; marry only the individual you think you can't live without. ~James C. Dobson When Michael and I met, dated, got engaged, and married, I couldn't picture my life with anyone else, and I still feel that way. Is our marriage perfect? (Insert belly laugh here) Uh, no. Our first year of marriage we lived in North Carolina, and it was a good thing because we had to tough it out with each other. My mama and daddy were hundreds of miles away-too far for me to run home to. Times were hard, money was short, and we were so immature. 18 years later through all the good and bad, I am so glad we have stuck it out. We are so blessed, have a good life, healthy children and a happy home. I would hate to know how my life would be if we had given up someone along the road.

More marriages might survive if the partners realized that sometimes the better comes after the worse. ~Doug Larson. Again, this hits the nail on the head. I'm sure if couples were polled, most of them would admit to saying there was a time in their marriage when they were ready to walk out. When they were at a crossroads and decided to weather the storm. In our vows we say "for better" first. But hanging on for the worse to pass is so crucial. Good times will come around, happy days will be here again. One thing that has carried us through 18 years of marriage has been Divine Intervention. We both became Christians as teens, but hadn't been living  Christian lives. After our first year of marriage, we decided we needed God back in the forefront of our lives. We joined Edmonton Worship Center in 1994, recommitted our lives and marriage to God, and developed Godly friendships with other married couples. It is my belief that that saved our marriage. Since then, marriage hasn't always been a bed of roses, but God's Word has kept us together, made the hard times easier, and reminds us that we not only made a vow to each other, but we made vows to God. So as we celebrate our anniversary, I praise God for a Christian husband and home, and pray that each year will bring us closer to each other and to God.

In closing, I'd love to hear from you. What are your tips, suggestions, or ideas on what makes a marriage strong. Please pass these ideas along or post on Facebook.

Happy Fourth of July. I always laugh when I think I gave up my independence on Independence Day weekend. Hope you can spend this time enjoying friends and families, not to mention a good BBQ. Here's a great recipe for a side item for your cookout:

The Deen Brother's Cornbread Casserole
1 stick unsalted butter, melted
1 cup fresh corn kernels (I use one can-drained)
15 0z cream style corn
1 cup sour cream
1 8oz corn muffin mix (I use Jiffy)
6 tablespoons thinly sliced green onions
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
Pinch of salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 9 inch baking pan. In a large bowl, stir together the ingredients. Pour into pan and bake for 60-75 minutes. (I add shredded cheddar to top in the last 5 minutes of baking) Let stand for 5 minutes before serving. Good served with bakes beans on top. Enjoy!


No comments:

Post a Comment