North Jefferson News, Gardendale, AL

Opinion

May 27, 2014

Danielle Cater: Longevity in marriage still possible

AN NJN EDITORIAL — I have officially seen it with my own eyes. I have witnessed it with my own life. Yes, I have seen a couple who has been married 60 years and still love each other. Even more than that, they still respect each other and still genuinely love to be around each other.

This past weekend I witnessed a renewing of vows between my husband’s grandparents. But when I married my husband, they became my grandparents, so I can now say I am kin to a couple that has been married for 60 years. It may not sound like much to some people, but if you take a quick look around, I would bet you would be hard pressed to find marriages that have lasted past 25 years. You’d be lucky to find any past 50, and it’s bordering on a miracle when you reach 60.

We live in a society that makes marriages completely disposable. It’s easier to get a divorce than it is to renew your driver’s license. But my hat is off to those who have married for life. Those who took the initiative to fight through the hard times and decided that those vows were more important than their feelings. Those vows were more important than what they felt they were entitled to. They chose to stick it out to hold to a commitment that meant more to them than anything else in the world.

I’m only in my second year of marriage, and yes, I have been divorced — so yep, my rose-colored glasses have been smeared. They’ve been stained. Shoot, they’ve been trampled on by a pack of five-legged broncos. I’m not naive. I know that people have valid reasons for divorce sometimes. But I also know that there is such a thing as everlasting love. There is such a thing as true commitment. And I’ve been taught that love could cover a multitude of sins.

When considering a marriage that lasts through the years, I think about how they must have felt when they were first married, young and throwing caution to the wind. Our grandparents were very young when they tied the knot. Nana was still a junior in high school, actually. She came back and finished off her senior year of high school as a married woman. I’m sure no one really expected it to last, but I guess they showed them.

I think back to my MawMaw and Grandaddy. They were married for over 50 years before she passed away. She got married when she was 15 years old. She loved to tell us about how she was literally playing with dolls in the back yard when her momma told her it was time for her wedding.

I don’t know what the big change has been in the last 60 years, but we sure don’t see marriages lasting past that seven-year itch most of the time.

I’ve been very surprised in the past few years to hear of the marriages that  have made it 20-25 years and are now ending in divorce.

I think too many people are going into marriage to see what they can get out of it instead of seeing what they can put into it. If you go into marriage with a sense of entitlement, then the first time you have to take care of him when he’s sick or you have to wash the clothes because she’s behind on the chores, you’ll be looking for a back door to take you out of this awful marriage.

Marriage is about so much more than just those two people uniting. The Bible says that it is an example of how Christ loves the Church and gives Himself for it. So often we see husbands who portray Christ in their marriage as anything but the caretaker and lover He intended it to be. And so often we see the wife trying to run the show, when we can plainly see that women are to take the submissive role in the marriage and let the husband lead. (Yep, ladies, I just went there. And yep, ladies, it hurt me as much as it hurt you.)

Check out your marriage today: How are you portraying Christ and the Church? Are you showing your children and grandchildren what everlasting love looks like, or are you teaching them to use people and only stay in a relationship until it no longer benefits them?

Marriages were meant to last. Sixty years is definitely something to stand up and applaud, so today, I applaud Alan and Marilyn Brown on 60 beautiful years of marriage. Through the good and the bad, they have shown what love looks like and it sure is good to be a small part of it.

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Opinion
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