Sunday, June 26, 2016

Marriage is Learned

The older I get the more I believe that marriage is a learned art. That doesn't mean that a person with a single parent or a broken home cannot have blessed, wonderful, joyous marriages--but it does mean there is little more of a learning curve. On the opposite side, just because your parent's had a fabulous marriage doesn't mean you will. It is an easy thing to take for granted when you are used to it/expect it. 

Today my parent's celebrate 35 years of wedded bliss. Some reading this might be confused as to why I stated that previous sentence in the present when my mother passed away in December. In my faith, we believe that, when married in Temples, we are sealed together to our spouse for all eternity. We are not married "Til' death do us part" but rather "for time and for all eternity." So today, while the first my blessed parent's spend apart, it is the 35th in the long line of eternities of years left to come. What a miracle. 

As I have thought today about them, I realized that their marriage has influence my life more than I could've dreamed. It has influenced my ideology, my own marriage, and who I am as a person. Here are some things I've learned from THEIR marriage:

1. Marriage is between a man and a woman.

I hope that doesn't hurt anyone's feelings (I mean that), but since this is my own blog, I will share my own opinions here. I need my mom. I need my dad. There is no alternative to these two. I have been in homes where this was not the case. Either a parent was missing, or two parents of the same gender resided. These homes were great and wonderful places to grow up, I am sure. These parents were loving and hard working. But, something was missing--I don't know a single-parent who will not attest to this point. Marriage was always between a man and a women because that is the only way children can be brought into the world. If that is the only way--that must mean something. That must mean that a child needs both a man and a women, a father and a mother. My parent's marriage taught me that is true. 

2. Marriage is selflessness. 

For the entirety of my life my mother sat alone in church with us kids, while my Dad served the church in ways that took him away. My mother received a LAW DEGREE and sacrificed to stay home with her children. She never once complained. For the entirety of my life, my Dad went where my mom wanted to eat, watched Project Runway (okay that wasn't the entirety of my life), and rubbed my mom's head and back every. single. night. He gave up higher paying positions to be a husband and father. My parent's marriage taught me that sacrifice is never not an option when you are married. Sacrifice brings unity. Sacrifice brings love. The willingness to give up your own desires for another person--isn't THAT what love really is?

3. Marriage is commitment. 

4. Marriage is laughter. 

5. Marriage is admiration.

Who could forget the way my mom adored my father? If you haven't heard Catherine Burnham talk about Jeff, you are missing out. It seemed like each week while I was a missionary I would get an email from my mom saying "This week Dad and I did such an such....I love that man so much. He is so good to me." 

6. Marriage is gentleness. 

It was not until I married Kyle that I realized how much he resembled my own father, in this aspect, how much I saw it in my own parent's marriage, and how much I needed it in my own. Gentle is the best word I can think of. My father was always gentle to my mother. He never spoke harshly to her. He was always affectionate. He never pushed her away. He never criticized. He never teased her unkindly or even jokingly. He never demeaned her opinions, desires, or dreams. He always spoke quietly. He was gentle. Kyle is gentle. It is my favorite quality about him. 

7. Marriage is between you and your spouse. 

My parent's, I'm sure, had their fair share of disagreements and arguments, but I couldn't tell you when they were or what they were about. They never argued in front of us. They never spoke unkindly about one another in front us or anyone else. I think that is key and one of the greatest lessons they taught me. Problems with a spouse are to be discussed with your spouse. Not with a parent, not with a friend, and especially not with a child. Note: This doesn't mean you need to feign perfect happiness in public when you are secretly dying inside. But, you can be honest and even open, without letting the world in on all your marriage troubles--ya feel me? See the difference in "We have been struggling to communicate too...what has been effective for you?" and "MAN! He just WON'T talk to me. It's like 'hello are you even listening to what I am saying?' The other day he even had the nerve to do...." See the difference? 

I will stop at seven, because that is a lucky number.

 Happy 35 years, an eternity to go. 

1 comment:

  1. What a beautiful tribute! I pray your Dad and all of you are holding up? Please know our prayers are continually with you!
    Thanks again for sharing!