In honor of my wife who yesterday caught up with me in age yet again, I write an open letter to all who are married, or might be in the future.
Before you marry, you have a choice. I will, or I won’t. After you marry, the choice is made. But marriage doesn’t happen to you. It is what you (and yes, the “you” is plural) make it. You will have a good marriage, a “blah” marriage, or a bad marriage as a result of what you decide to do and be. I don’t put down people who have not stayed married–especially those who wanted to. But I literally grieve with those who decide it’s too hard, or they’re not in love any more, or God doesn’t want them to be unhappy–and divorce. Staying with it is worth it.
Donna and I got married too young. The odds were against us (appx. 98% likelihood of divorce in the first five years). And we know why. Our first two years were miserable. We didn’t like each other, we didn’t like being with each other. We didn’t trust each other. BUT we didn’t believe in divorce, so we stayed together when everyone around us (EXCEPT those at the Bible college I attended who supported us staying together) told us we should divorce. We were only 18, we could start over and it would be like it never happened
Instead, we asked for help. From a counselor, from other couples, from “Old Married People”. And we grew. And God changed us.
The difference between us and the 98% was that we honored God’s command and others who belonged to him helped us. In short, we didn’t give up. We stayed.
Because we stayed together, we learned to like each other and became best friends. We have stayed that way our whole lives. Yesterday, my best friend had a birthday:-).
Because we stayed together, we shared ministry together for over 30 years. We’ve been honored to help thousands of people across the country. Together.
Because we stayed together we shared three fantastic kids. We loved them, we raised them, we disciplined them, and we did it all as a team.
Because we stayed together we saw those kids leave and were able to comfort each other as we realized we’d never have them home as “kids” again.
Because we stayed together we watched them get married, and celebrated with a deepened love between us.
Because we stayed together we get to play together with our grandkids.
Because we stayed together I have gotten to see God continue to grow her and change her and mature her and make her into an even more amazing person (and I don’t use “amazing” to describe just anything!).
Yesterday, this amazing person had a birthday. And I got to be with her all day.
Yeah, It’s worth it.