Love and marriage

blogIMG_8884

Engagement ring bridal shower cupcakes

Marriage is on my mind this week – if you’ve read my last two posts, can you tell?

Maybe it’s because Papa and I are celebrating our wedding anniversary this month.

Or maybe it’s because two of our grown offspring are also celebrating anniversaries this fall with their spouses. Year seven for both of them.

Or maybe it’s because I just viewed Facebook photos that two of my blogging friends proudly displayed of their sons’ recent weddings. Such love and joy radiated from those pictures.

Or maybe it’s because I recently attended a bridal shower for the daughter of one of my best friends. That sweet young lady will be marrying her true love this fall.

Or maybe it’s because my lovely great-niece is walking down the aisle soon to wed her own handsome prince.

So wedding invitations decorate the front of our refrigerator and my thoughts have turned to RSVPs and gift buying…and marriage.

Weddings are the fun part of marriage. All of that planning and prepping to make that special day just perfect. That is definitely exciting and kind of fairy tale like.

But after the big day is over, real life sets in. It may take a year or two, but eventually, that couple in love realize marriage isn’t like a Disney movie; it’s hard work to live happily ever after.

The shine and glitz of that wedding day can wear off and romance may even wane. But that’s when the two, now become one, have to dig their heels in, look each other in the eye, and say, “We are going to make this work.”

And that’s what I wish for these young couples starting off life together.

I wish they would never allow the realities of life to cause their love for one another to fade.

I wish for perseverance when the tough times come to them.

I wish they understand that you don’t just find the right one to make a perfect twosome, you be the right one.  

I wish them love, not just the fluffy, stars in the eyes, giddy feeling of butterflies that the movies portray, but real, honest-to-goodness love.

The kind of love that makes each one of them remember to insert his or her own name in place of the word “love” in this well-known passage from the Bible.

“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.  It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.” ~ 1 Corinthians 13:4-7

Because that passage easily describes how a marriage can last until death do you part. May all of these marriages be so.

“True love stories never have endings.” ~ Richard Bach

©2019 mamasemptynest.wordpress.com

 

 

Thumbs up for the ride

blogimage4

It’s been 42 years today. Over four decades now since two young whippersnappers, who thought they knew it all, stood at the altar of a country church and said those words of promise, “I do.”

Those whippersnappers are now retired folks (well, Papa is semi-retired) living in an empty nest home which once rang with the noise and laughter from three children, now grown and living their own lives and probably thinking they know it all just like their parents once did.

The whippersnappers from all those years ago learned a lot through life’s lessons in the last 40+ years. And no, we certainly did not know it all especially when it comes to the hard work of marriage. Because it IS hard.

It’s hard to deal with the day-to-day aspects of wedded life that gets your shorts in a knot. When he can’t seem to remember not to throw his dirty t-shirts yanked inside out into the clothes hamper or she always leaves the pantry door open. When she gets impatient and cranky over computer/technology glitches and he gets grouchy and rants about politics.

It’s hard to realize you will have disagreements. That you won’t see eye-to-eye on everything.  When you’re newlyweds, it’s difficult to imagine that you will sometimes think, “I don’t really like you right now” in the middle of an argument. 

It’s hard to suffer disappointments in one another because after all, we are human and we will disappoint even our beloved spouse from time to time.

It’s hard to endure changes and setbacks and finances and relocations around the country.

It’s hard to put your heads together and plow through job losses and deaths of parents and heart-wrenching difficulties that threaten your children’s happiness.

Marriage is just plain hard sometimes. Marriage is not a fairy tale or a Hollywood movie. Marriage is real life which sometimes gets awfully messy. But hanging in there, working together through life’s complications as they come, encouraging one another, and bringing out the best in one another while not dwelling on the worst is worth every effort.

Take it from a 42-year veteran.  Papa and I both give a hearty thumbs up for marriage today on our wedding anniversary.  It’s been a worthwhile ride and we look forward to more to come.

“The great secret of successful marriage is to treat all disasters as incidents and none of the incidents as disasters.” ~ Harold George Nicolson

©2019 mamasemptynest.wordpress.com

WordFULL Wednesday: Then and Now

blogScan_20171022

“I want to feel your hand in mine as we walk through life. Together.” ~ Unknown

 

blogmama-and-papa2

“The best thing to hold onto in life is each other.” ~ Audrey Hepburn

 

In celebration this month of October for 41 years of marriage, the words in these quotes hold true for the Papa and Mama of this empty nest. 

May it always be so.

©2018 mamasemptynest.wordpress.com

Continuing the journey

blogmama-and-papa2

In a couple of days, the calendar page will turn over a new leaf and it will be October.

Autumn will be firmly ensconced as the current season and I will celebrate my favorite time of year.

But there’s yet another reason to celebrate the upcoming month. In a few days, Papa and I will mark the occasion and look back over 40 years (!) together as a married couple.

I wrote the following blog post six years ago and decided to post it again with a few changes and updates.

Take a walk with me.

Forty years ago, a young man, so nervous buckets of perspiration dripped off him, grasped the hand of a young woman, equally just as anxious because her stomach was doing somersaults, and the two of them took a walk down a church aisle.

Thus began their journey into married life, a commitment they made to one another that day four decades ago.  They’ve chosen to honor and stay faithful to that commitment through the years past and for the years to come.

Their journey together hasn’t been smooth sailing.  They’ve encountered hills to climb, valleys to stumble through, rivers to cross, even chasms to bridge.  Life is never perfect and that certainly includes married life.

Those two commenced a life with white lace and promises and then ventured west into the sunset to live happily ever after.  They made their way alone without family nearby. Then a few years later, they faced an overwhelming challenge of being apart for an entire year while the young man served his country in a foreign land during which time their first child was born.

Their trek together has taken them to different areas of the country with twists and turns here and there.  Along the way, they’ve made adjustments, had their fair share of quarrels and disagreements, experienced disappointments, uncertainty, and even fear together.  

But their love for one another endured on the journey producing great joy and building up of faith in the God they serve.

“More marriages might survive if the partners realized that sometimes the better comes after the worse.” ~ Doug Larson

They’ve been blessed with three amazing children and continue to cherish the privilege of being parents.  They’ve watched those three grow, mature and, in the blink of an eye, become adults.  And then from a different perspective, they watched their children, in adult bodies with mature minds and spirits, find mates of their own. 

This man and his wife found themselves amazed and a little dumbfounded that they arrived at this season in life so soon.  They watched with heartache as their own parents grew elderly, succumbed to illnesses and aging, and passed from this life.  

And now, with a tinge of bittersweet, they realize they have become the older generation.  However, there is still much love and joy to anticipate as their family has expanded to include two beautiful grandchildren.

The joy after all is in the journey.  And so they clasp hands once more, grateful for 40 years past and hopeful for more to come.

That couple is my husband, one who stands by my side and yet always has my back;  picks me up when I’m down;  takes care of me in sickness and in health; and loves me no matter what, and me, who tries to do the same for him.  

We are not extraordinary people, but when I tell younger folks we’re celebrating 40 years of marriage, they seem startled and even shocked that a couple could stay together so long.

And that’s what saddens me. In this throw-away society we’ve become, marriages are tossed aside like last week’s dried up hamburger and stale fries.

Commitment and vows are forgotten because (pick one): I no longer love you; you’re not the right person for me; you’re not really my soul mate after all; I’ve found someone better than you; you don’t make me happy; I’m tired of taking care of you; marriage isn’t what I expected; you make me angry; you disappoint me; and on and on. And much of the time, it’s all about a person’s selfishness and self-centeredness.

It seems to me that fewer people are willing and have the desire to work at making a long-lasting marriage anymore. And believe me, work it is. Nothing worth having is easy to attain. It takes dedication, hard work, forgiveness, and selflessness.

We know. Papa and I have been working at it for 40 years.

And God willing, we will continue the journey for many years to come.

“In every marriage more than a week old, there are grounds for divorce. The trick is to find, and continue to find, grounds for marriage.” ~ Robert Anderson

©2017 mamasemptynest.wordpress.com

A good match

blogmama-and-papa2

He is tall. I am short. He loves seafood. I hate it.

He didn’t wear glasses until the last few years and needs them only for reading.  I’ve worn glasses since I was five years old and need those to make everything blurry clear.

He’s a terrible speller. I always excelled in spelling.  He admits he is not a writer and doesn’t enjoy doing so. I’ve always been a writer and it gives me joy.

He came from a family of brothers. I came from a family of sisters. He had lots of aunts, uncles, and cousins in his extended family.  I had only a handful.

His family vacationed at the Jersey shore every summer. My family took very few vacations and I never saw the ocean until I was a young adult.

He grew up in the city with bricks for a yard and no grass. I grew up in the country with a yard a couple of acres large to play in.

As a youngster, he ran up and down the halls of the Capitol building in our state capital while playing with neighborhood friends.  I rode up and down country roads on a bicycle playing with my neighborhood friends.

He has the patience to read the instruction manuals. I have little patience with them and tend to just wing it until I encounter a problem; then I turn to him and his instruction manuals.

He is usually slow to anger. I often possess a short fuse.

He takes his good old time working on projects. I want to hurry up and get them completed ASAP.

He loves all things historical and pertaining to the military and reads just about every display card in museums. I am more fascinated by the personal touches of history and am not interested in movies, books, or displays about wars or the military. I also am way ahead of him while making our way through museums.

He would love to go on a cruise someday. I am terrified of the concept.

You might say we have enough differences to prove we are not compatible at all. But you would be wrong. Our differences aren’t what define us. Our shared history together makes us who we are. And we are not totally mismatched; we do have several things in common.

We are a married couple who have spent the last 43 years together – dating for three years before marriage and this fall will mark 40 years since we said “I do” in front of family and friends.

We’ve endured separations when Papa was obligated for military duty far away, many moves, job changes, health scares, and difficult circumstances during our time together.

We’ve experienced grief and sadness, but we have shared so much joy and laughter as well. And through it all, we endured together. Ours isn’t a perfect relationship but it is one cemented with commitment, love, and respect for one another.

You might just say we are a good match after all (which happens to be this week’s photo challenge).

“It’s not about having the perfect relationship. It’s about finding someone who matches you and will go through everything without giving up.” ~ Unknown

©2017 mamasemptynest.wordpress.com

One year already

Yesterday was a milestone.  A year ago, our youngest, our only son, stood at a church altar and took a beautiful bride to be his wife.

The second such celebration in our family last year…

A day to remember…

And another member added to our family in love.

weddingscan2

weddingscan

Happy First Anniversary to son and daughter-in-law! 

May God bless you on your anniversary trip and in the years to come.

“Love is the master key that opens the gates of happiness.” ~ Oliver Wendell Holmes

 ©2013 mamasemptynest.wordpress.com

Take a walk with me

blogtaking a walkThirty-four years ago today, a young man, who was so nervous he was sweating buckets, took the hand of a young woman, who was equally just as anxious because her stomach was turning flip flops, and the two of them took a walk down a church aisle.

Thus began their journey into married life, a commitment they made to one another that day over three decades ago.  They’ve chosen to honor and stay faithful to that commitment through the years past and for the years to come.

Their journey together hasn’t been smooth sailing.  They’ve encountered hills to climb, valleys to stumble through, rivers to cross, even chasms to bridge.  Life is never perfect and that certainly includes married life.

Those two commenced a life with white lace and promises and then ventured west into the sunset to live happily ever after.  They made their way alone without family nearby then faced an overwhelming challenge of being apart for an entire year while the young man served his country in a foreign land.

Their trek together has taken them to different areas of the country with twists and turns here and there.  Along the way, they’ve made adjustments, had their fair share of quarrels and disagreements, experienced disappointment, uncertainty, and even fear together.   But their love for one another endured on the journey producing great joy and building up of faith in the God they serve.

They’ve been blessed with three amazing children and continue to cherish the privilege of being parents.  They’ve watched those three grow, mature and, in the blink of an eye, become adults.  And now from a different perspective, they watch their children, in adult bodies with mature minds and spirits, find mates of their own.  Soon this couple will occupy a front row pew and witness another young couple in love, middle daughter and fiancé, take a walk down the church aisle.  It appears their other children will also take that walk in the near future.

This man and his wife find themselves amazed and a little dumbfounded that they’ve arrived at this season in life so soon.  They watched with heartache as their own parents grew elderly, succumbed to illnesses, and passed from this life.   And now, with a bit of sadness, they realize they have become the older generation.  However, there is still much love and joy to anticipate when their family expands with husbands for their daughters, a wife for their son, and hopefully a bevy of grandchildren.

The joy after all is in the journey.  And so they clasp hands once more, grateful for 34 years past and hopeful for more to come.

That couple is my husband and me.  Happy 34th Anniversary to my beloved, who stands by my side and yet always has my back,  picks me up when I’m down,  takes care of me in sickness and in health, and loves me no matter what.   Take my hand, my husband, and walk with me as we journey into the future on this first page in Chapter 10 of my book called Opportunity.

 ©2011 mamasemptynest.wordpress.com

The Glory of Love

Someone once wrote,  “Love isn’t love til you give it away.”

Love.   A myriad of works of literature, be it poems, plays, essays or novels, has been written on the subject of love.  

It is the theme of countless musical lyrics and the angst of many a late night discussion.  I’m pretty sure that there are close to 700 references to love in my guidebook for life — God’s Holy Word, the Bible.

In the English language, we only have one word for this emotion, which is such a shame because there are so many manifestations of love.  But before I digress from the idea swirling around in my mind,  today I want to share thoughts on romantic love and weddings.

I haven’t read much Shakespeare since a class on his works way back in college, but one line from his play, “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” found a permanent little niche in my brain.   “Love looks not with the eyes, but with the mind….”  There’s more to the line, but that’s the part I remember.

When I think of romantic love, this quote personifies true love to me.   True love is as deep as the fathoms of the ocean and is vastly different than infatuation, which is like the shallow edge blogIMG_2005of the shoreline, where the waves rush in and knock you flat on your can, then just as quickly rush back out and leave you sitting in a pile of quickly shifting sand.

True love takes time.  True love involves mind and soul, not just body.  True love is precious, something to be revered and guarded and cherished.   And true love lasts for a lifetime.

It’s been my privilege to attend a couple of weddings this past year, one just yesterday.  My son was a groomsman in the first and best man in the recent one.  I marvel that both of these grooms, close friends of my son,  are now mature men, with college degrees in hand, careers already initiated, goals planned, and now each has chosen a lovely partner for life, a wife.

Both of these young men have lounged in my family room over the years, engrossed in video games; watched tons of movies on our TV; played games with our family, and slept on our couch.    The groom in yesterday’s wedding has been a part of our lives for quite some time; he’s like another member of our family.

In my son’s best man toast, he even joked that the two of them have been like twins.  My son and the groom have shared a friendship since 7th grade.  They’ve gone to school together, played sports together, celebrated and commiserated with each other,  and were college roommates.

So it was with great happiness my husband and I watched this particular young man exchange his wedding vows with his beautiful bride yesterday.  Wedding celebrations are naturally joyful.  I’ve attended several weddings in my day, but never have I witnessed more meaningful nuptials than these last two ceremonies.

What made both of these weddings so very special was that both young couples are believers in Christ and they made their relationship with Him a vital and integral part of their wedding service.  Jesus Christ was definitely at the center of these two weddings.

Yesterday, it seemed like Jesus was standing in the lovely, flower bedecked gazebo with the bride and groom, nodding His head in approval, exuding His love to these beautiful children of His, and showering His blessings on their union. 

And that made an amazing difference.  The marriage rituals were sacred; it wasn’t just two young people repeating words, saying “yeah, yeah, I do” so they could run off to live together legally.

Amid overcast skies and even a rain shower, love radiated like sunbeams from these two betrothed.   I am positively convinced the two of them are experiencing true love, the kind of love that looks not just with the eyes, but with the mind and soul.

There’s a reason a wedding is called holy matrimony.  God created marriage.   Jesus told us in the book of Mark, chapter 10:  “But at the beginning of creation God made them male and female.  For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.  So they are no longer two, but one. Therefore what God has joined together, let man not separate.”

He desires that we put Him at the very center of this sacred relationship.   Wise married couples do just that.

So I don’t just offer words of congratulations to this special newlywed couple, I offer prayers of thanksgiving because they know Jesus personally, prayers of hope that they continue to put Him first, and prayers of blessing for love that lasts a lifetime.

Yoked in holy matrimony with a fellow believer in Christ,  Jesus at the center of that relationship, and love that lasts for a lifetime — that’s my prayer for my own children as well.   And that’s the glory of love. ♥

©2010 mamasemptynest.wordpress.com