My parents celebrated thirty-nine years of marriage on Saturday. When I talked to my mom that night, I thanked her for her and my dad’s commitment to each other for all of these years. I realize that I am likely in the minority of my generation with regards to still-married parents at my age (not sure exactly what the stats are but simply by experience, this would seem accurate) and while I only have six years of marriage under my belt, I understand that staying committed through kids, job losses, illnesses, financial challenges, and family conflicts is no small thing.
On Sunday I preached from John ten which describes Jesus as our shepherd, and the passage goes to great lengths to assure us that he is not a hired hand: he will not run away when the wolves come; he will not flee at the sign of trouble. In fact, he will lay down his very life for the sake of his sheep. There can be that hired-hand mentality to marriage as well: when the hard stuff comes, it can be easy to choose self-interest over sacrifice. Our culture permits us to run, and so it takes a fierce commitment to stay and face the wolves.
I am grateful for the example my parents have given to their kids and to my kids. I celebrate the ways I see them delight in each other, seek out new adventures, take on challenges that make other people shake their heads, and continue to build a life of love and faith and generosity together.