Sunday, August 15, 2010

My Parent's 50th Wedding Anniversary

I decided to share what I said at my parent's 50th wedding anniversary. I hope you enjoy it.

I have the privilege of being the youngest of Bob and Judy's four children. I say this is a privilege because I have been given the opportunity to watch their marriage grow during my life. I always thought we would be here, celebrating 50 years of a blessed marriage, as there were never any doubts...you see, my parents have a covenant marriage. John Piper says, "The world cannot know what marriage is without learning it from God." And I am confident that the reason my parents are celebrating 50 years is because they have been good students of God's lessons on marriage.

I posted a Facebook question a week ago, asking my friends what makes a marriage last 50 years? I got some answers one would expect: "Don't got to bed angry", "tell your spouse you love them every day", and "learn to enjoy the hobbies of your spouse". But then, there was my favorite: "No Plan B".

I call that a covenant marriage. A covenant marriage is more than a vow or an oath shared in front of a church filled with family and friends. A covenant is the ultimate promise - and a covenant marriage is not simply a promise between man and wife, it is that ultimate promise to and with God. As I reflect on my mom and dad's marriage, there is no doubt they are in a covenant relationship with God.

My parent's covenant marriage is based on grace. A definition of grace is treating someone better than they deserve. I saw grace lived out time and time again in our family on long car rides to South Carolina, as we played volleyball in the backyard, and we we simply learned how to love each other well. There were times that my dad deserved one thing, but my mom offered grace. There were times that my mom mom messed up (remember those awful sweet potato rocks), but my dad offered grace (he tried to eat them!).

Grace empowers husbands and wives to keep their covenant by means of forgiveness and forbearance. Covenant marriage says, "I am imperfect, but I have no fear of disapproval by my spouse." This is a picture of my mom and dad. Their marriage brought together two imperfect people who said no matter what, we are in this forever. With no Plan B, Mom and Dad poured grace onto each other's imperfections. There was no judgement, no doubt...only grace.

Because of this grace-filled marriage, my parents are not the same married couple they were when I was a child. Grace has caused them to change for the glory of God and the joy of each other. I think the most beautiful part of celebrating 50 years of marriage keeps getting better and better. I see so much love now, almost like newly-weds; holding hands on walks, cuddling up on the couch, and sweet stolen kisses in the kitchen when they think no one's watching.

My mom's grace has made my dad a better man; and my dad's grace has made my mom a better woman.

When I think of how my parent's have loved each other well over the past 50 years, some things stick out in my memory: I remember my dad's strength for my mom in times when she was sad, my mom's fierce defense of my dad, and I remember the sound of my parent's kiss every morning as my dad left for work. I remember KNOWING my parents loved each other. Mom and Dad's marriage gives great glory to God - the author of covenants and the giver of grace. I am blessed to have their example ever before me.

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