Today is my parents’ 46th wedding anniversary!
Forty six years. What a beautiful thing to celebrate and aspire to (one day).
I wanted to do some sort of post tonight to honor them and their love, so in true Caralyn fashion, I decided to brainstorm ideas…while scrolling Instagram.
And what do I open up to first? But a glamor shot of the current Bachelorette in a wedding dress, looking daringly at the camera, with the caption, “Marry yourself first.”
I read that, and my initial gut reaction was, “Wow. That’s an absolutely terrible perspective to have about the sacrament of marriage.”
But then, I’m not surprised, given that this Bachelorette – Katie – is known as [PLEASE EXCUSE THE VULGARITY!!] “The-Girl-Who-Brought-The-Vibrator-On-Night-One.” And yes, you read that correctly. Her “limo entrance” – (where she meets the Bachelor for the first time) – was presenting him with that.
Wow. What a gal to crown as America’s “sweetheart”…
And all of the promotional material for this season has just been milking that, with puns like…”See what all the BUZZ is about!” And “Good VIBES only.” Pathetic. So yeah…I’m not watching Katie’s season. Which, coming from someone who had never missed a Bachelor/Bachelorette episode in…eleven years…I just couldn’t support the show anymore, not just for elevating that filth, but also after the way they ousted Chris Harrison during that whole scandal…I just can’t give them my viewership anymore.
But I digress.
“Marry yourself first.”
This is just so contrary to, not only my parents’ beautiful example I’ve been blessed to witness my entire life, but also everything they’ve taught me about marriage.
And so I sent them Katie’s post, and asked them what they thought.
I was keen to see what their reaction was, because clearly, they’ve found the secret sauce to a healthy marriage.
My mother’s initial reaction was, “Wow. Selfishness in a marriage is a one way ticket to disaster.”
Amen to that.
Now, I can maaaaybe see what Katie was trying to communicate with this — kind of like the whole, “love yourself first” concept that you can’t give from an empty cup. Which, true. Granted, your love for yourself should be a direct result of Christ’s love for you, but that’s something that mainstream culture just doesn’t understand. But marrying yourself first? — that’s a whole different beast.
My mother so beautifully sums up the truth:
“You grow together as one.”
And isn’t that the truth.
Over the years, my parents have taught me a lot about marriage, and two of my mom’s best tips:
- If you go into a marriage thinking about what you’re going to *get* out of it, you’re going to end up unhappy and dissatisfied. It’s not what you get out of it, it’s what you *give.*
- A Christ-centered marriage is the key to a long and happy marriage.
And it’s no surprise, that both of these are completely contrary to “Marry yourself first.”
But I think my mom’s advice is so beautiful. And so true. So I’d like to offer an alternative caption for Katie’s Instagram post:
In marriage, no one is first: you’re a team, and Christ is the coach.
When I called my mom this morning to talk about this, she said – “Care, you want to see your father ‘walking the talk?’ He woke up extra early this morning to go to the store to get me the ingredient I forgot for the meal I’m cooking for a sick friend. He knew I needed to make the dish this morning, so he took it upon himself to help me out.”
My father, ladies and gentlemen.
It’s little things like this that I witnessed every day: little acts of service that demonstrated that they were on a team, and putting the other first.
And my dad’s top marriage tips?
- Physical affection matters.
- Listening – especially active listening where you seek to understand – matters/Open communication
- Compromise is essential so each person feels shared ownership in the marriage
- If you’re thinking nice things about your wife, say them to her.
I mean, wow. Truth bombs right there, am I right?
Obviously, I am not married yet, so I do not know, nor have I experienced the ups and downs that come with every relationship. And I’m not naive enough to believe that it’s a walk in the park, all the time, every day.
But I pray that one day I can have the same beautiful love my parents have. That is my heart’s deepest desire.
Which leads me to my question….
What is the best marriage advice you’ve ever received, or have experienced first hand?
I would love to know!
Mom and dad, happy 46th wedding anniversary! I love you! I love your love! And I love the family you’ve created!
“This is what the Lord says to these bones: I will make breath enter you, and you will come to life.” Ez 37:5
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