Psalm 127:3 “Children are a blessing and a gift from the LORD.”
Just like you, I adore my children. Pictured from left to right, they are:
Joseph, 24, Benjamin, 19, Samuel, 17, Jonathan, 22, Trent (son-in-law) 36, Elizabeth, 27 Stephen, 26.
I asked them to write either three sentences or three paragraphs about our marriage from their perspective. Here is what they wrote:
“There is no question that the marriage your parents have influences their children- and I am certainly no exception. By watching my mother treat my father as the “king of the house”, I have learned unconditional respect, submissiveness, encouragement, and wisdom. My father always put my mother’s happiness and her desires above his own, and made sacrifices so that she, and we, could have a better life. I know they don’t have a perfect marriage-no one does- but growing up, it sure looked that way to me. Happily, I can say that my own marriage is one beyond what I could have imagined, and the example of my parent’s love definitely gets the credit. Of course, my own husband is pretty perfect too, but that’s another topic.”
“As a son-in-law, I have been able to view David and Julie’s marriage from somewhat of an outside perspective, and their marriage exemplifies oneness, understanding, and love. I am amazed at how they always operate as a seamless and cohesive unit while maintaining their own very distinct and strong identities.
“I am challenged when I see how gentle they treat each other. Such gentleness breeds the deep understanding they have for each other and not only is a reflection of the fact that they are best friends, but also is the ingredient that keeps the friendship deep and strong.
“I am encouraged when I see how deeply they love each other and how they grow deeper in love even after many years of marriage. At bottom, the oneness, the understanding, and the love that I see in David and Julie’s marriage is without a doubt a blessing they have received from God due to their even deeper relationship and individual surrender to Jesus Christ and His Word.”
“Looking back, it wasn’t that Mom and Dad had a perfect marriage, it was that they were just plain devoted to each other. At the end of every long day of providing for, educating, and caring for their brood of six, Mom was pulling for Dad, and Dad for Mom. They respected one another and valued each other’s gifts. Sounds a lot like good old-fashioned teamwork, but it made way for something deep and beautiful that goes on with me forever.”
“In my early teenage years I noticed something astonishing to me. My parents’ relationship was remarkably different than nearly all of my friends’ and classmates’ parents. My parents are both givers and love selflessly. Their relationship has been a model and guide for me because it became apparent that their willingness to sacrifice and make the other one happy is the only way to achieve a happy marriage and peaceful home.”
“To say my parents’ marriage is exemplary would be an understatement. Defined by their service, the two have sacrificed great lengths for each other and those around them. Setting Christ at their center has truly set them apart. In our culture today this is rarely found in households. It isn’t tough to see their commitment to each other with a common goal: glorifying the Creator. If my marriage is half of what my parents has become, I will consider myself lucky.
“During the seventeen years of my short existence, I am most grateful to my parents for one thing more than all the others. It isn’t the private school that they generously pay for. It isn’t the great advice that they readily offer. It isn’t even the awesome car I received on my sixteenth birthday. In fact, what I appreciate most has nothing to do with me; it’s the way they my parents treat each other.
“I think the chief contributor to the health and happiness of their marriage is to focus on each other. Not the kids or their careers, but each other. Neutrality is absent in relationships. Either strengthen or weaken, move closer or drift apart; you can’t stand still. My parents have never been ones to stand still, always eager to strengthen their marriage. Countless times my parents have gone to marriage seminars or retreats and I would ask, “Really? You haven’t had a fight or argument since I was 7 years old. Is this really necessary?” They would simply respond with, “There’s always room for improvement.”
“I got lucky. When I was born, my parents had already been working on their relationship for nearly 15 years. Their blissful marriage didn’t happen overnight. It took time, effort, and most importantly, commitment. Through their marriage, my parents have imparted so much wisdom to me for which I am eternally thankful. Is anything in the world worth more than seeing your father love your mother or seeing your mother treat your father with respect and appreciation? I certainly don’t think so.”