Who of us does not want to finish well? Whether it is a race, a project, a ministry, a life… a marriage. ”I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called us…” Philippians 3:14
After reading my blog… kissing frogs…… kissing frogs… Tom and I were invited to share our journey of these 57 years. Several friends asked us to write down everything we said during the seminar… so they would have our secrets! While impossible to remember every word, I want to use my blog these next couple of weeks to communicate some truths we have learned.
Disclaimer from the beginning: We do not have a perfect marriage. As Ruth Graham once replied, when asked if she and Dr. Billy Graham had a perfect marriage, “If either one of us were perfect, there would be no need of the other.” So, you have never considered divorce was another question she was reportedly asked. “Divorce never, murder yes.” I smile at that, and wonder if she did, in fact, say that. But I do understand! Tom and I have a good marriage, and one we continue to work on even in our later years.
When having some painting done on the home in Vienna, Austria, we learned a painter must go through training and a three-year apprenticeship before he is considered accomplished enough… to paint a straight wall. Can you imagine? That’s three- 3- years.
We can understand the years a medical doctor must study, train and practice. Or a lawyer? A pilot? But a painter? We began to question the lack of training for marriage. I wonder if doctors or painters have a degree in Marriage 101, as well.
Marriage is the single most complex entity short of nuclear fission, and nuclear fission may be the less complicated… US News and World Reports, 1984. Tom always says ‘amen’ to this quote. Notice the date of this. Thirty seven years later it must be realized good marriages do not just happen.
Because of Covid and the lockdown of 2020, predictions are surfacing we may see the largest single year increase in divorce in decades. You may have seen the stats on divorce for past years: some estimates say fifty percent of all first marriages will end in divorce. In preparation for this seminar, one particular fact caught my attention and disturbed me: the divorce rate among fifty year olds and older has doubled in the last twenty years. For sure, Covid is not the issue here.
Paul David Tripp’s (author, educator, theologian) definition of marriage: a flawed person in a comprehensive relationship with another flawed person living in the middle of a fallen world. And we wonder how in the world any two people can survive a union with so much against them from the beginning. It is impossible unless you commit to a lifetime of discovery.
Tom and I knew nothing… nothing… about being married. My parents divorced when I was sixteen; Tom’s divorced when he was thirty after their shaky, insecure thirty one years. So how have we survived this race?
Making Your Marriage LAST embraces four points:
L… earning to love A… ccepting your gift S… eeking oneness T… alking… and Touching
Four simple, yet profound, truths Tom and I have spent 57 years learning. I want to share this journey filled with many mistakes and lots of love. The next four blogs will cover the points of LAST.
I would love for you to stay with me these three or four weeks as I share our notes from our mini seminar. If your marriage is good, it can be better; if it is better, it can be great. If you are single, you can share these words with another.
One of my favorite happy verses: “He who finds a wife, finds what is good and receives favor from the Lord.” Proverbs 18:22. I wish there were a verse that said, “She who finds a strong, secure velvet-covered brick has discovered a gold mine.”
Join me as I share the first chapter… learning to love. .. this week.