Monday, October 27, 2008

I AM 26 :: THEY ARE 28

A testament that it works. And is always a work in progress.

28 years of marriage and, to an outsider, it appears that they like and love each other with a deeper understanding and commitment to acceptance than they did when I first started noticing my parents' relationship with one another. (I’m abashed to say that it wasn’t more than eight years ago; prior to that I was only concerned with their relationships with me.)

It’s a testament that we need. We being Me and Mine. Around him, my husband has too many examples of failed marriages. He needs, we need, an example of one that’s working. And continually being worked on.

I hope it doesn’t embarrass them if I say so, but I remember some fights that my parents had when I was little and they were in the throes of learning. I remember worrying about the D-word, although I really didn’t have a good understanding of what it meant. When, through tears, I asked my mom if they were going to get a D-word, she told me that No, of course not. Mommy and Daddy are mad at each other right now, but they still love each other and would never get a divorce. When she told me that, she was comforting, but she said it as if it were a given, a fact, something I should never doubt.

Since that time, I’ve seen many a divorce. And I’ve considered how my mom could tell me that they would never get a divorce. How could they know? I wondered. How could they know that something wouldn’t happen in the future to dissolve their relationship?

And I’ve learned that they couldn’t. They couldn’t know what the future held. They could only know of their commitment to their temple marriage. They, Jack and Sue together, are in it for good. For bad. For happy. Ugly. Silly. Sad. And on.


One of them might make a terrible choice that makes the other dreadfully sad or angry. But they are eternal, and I’ve watched them learn how to be married to one another. Being married to Jack is nothing like being married to my Mister, but I learn so much from watching Sue get better at being married to Jack.

Once, Mom told me that your marriage is the relationship in which you'll learn and practice the most Christ-like attributes: most certainly charity, humility, love, diligence, faith, knowledge, obedience. And of course, hope. She's right; it's in this relationship that I'm going to learn the most and grow the most.

For what I’ve learned, watching my parents and during my own six years as a wife, is that being married is learned effort. Effort every day. Effort to remember to remind my husband of what I love about him. To remember to remind myself of what I love about him. To remember to remind myself that not only is he different than when we made our eternal commitment, but so am I. And to remember that we are eternal. One day may be ugly. The next sunshine and roses. But there is certainly more sunshine and roses than ugly. And that was a choice.

We choose for efforts at “better” every day. We choose forever. We choose each other.


Jaime Stephens said...

That was great... Thanks, Happy 28 to your parents

cat+tadd=sam said...

Very thoughtful. I wish I could put my thoughts onto paper the way you do. It's just lovely. See you this weekend my stister dear!

jenica said...

this is really fantastic. we all need this type of example, "I learn so much from watching Sue get better at being married to Jack"