Last night my husband and I went to the opening of Fireproof. While it was sold out several weeks ago at the theater near our town, we were fortunate in that it was also playing at other theaters in the area and we were able to get tickets.
Never leave your partner. These words burned into my mind. As I watched the movie, my mind went back to that day 27 years ago when my husband and I made our marriage covenant between ourselves and God. We were very young and still in college. I was 20 and my husband would turn 21 the next day. It was 1981 and economic times were not the best. We had both worked low-paying jobs the for four months. Since that was the best we could do, we took on part time night jobs as well so we could save some money. I lived at home with my mom. Since his family wasn't from this area, he moved in with a couple of my cousins. We worked incredibly hard that summer because we wanted to get married.
We quit our jobs two days before we got married. The same day we found out we were now off the waiting list for an apartment in married student housing. We now were going to have a place to live when we moved back down to Tennessee.
We had no money for a honeymoon so we spent one night at a moderately priced hotel and the next night at a much more modest one. It didn't matter to us. We were together. We spent a day at the Renaissance Fair. That was our honeymoon. The next day, we packed up all of our belongings in a little U-haul. Early the following morning, we headed south to our new home which was over 1,000 miles away.
The odds were against us...at least as far as the world was concerned. We didn't have jobs and I would be student teaching so I was barred from holding other employment. To take a job would mean I could be kicked out of the program. Fortunately, we did have the money to pay our school bill so that would be taken care of. I also got income during the school year from the VA since I was the daughter of a deceased 100% disabled veteran. My social security ended since I was now married. That provided about 50% of our income. My husband got a part time job right away but was laid off after three weeks. Times weren't very good. Suffice it to say, God provided during the time of unemployment and provided a better job a few months later.
The one thing we did have was our love for God and each other as well as our determination that we had no choice but to make this work. Even then we understood the seriousness of our vows. I'd seen my parents go through the hard times together. His dad had abandoned his family. We knew that if we were going to make it, God had to be a part of our marriage and we made God a part of it immediately.
No marriage is perfect. Every marriage is going to be attacked. The enemy absolutely hates marriage! When a marriage is strong, it seems like you can endure anything. The waves of trouble may rush over you but when the storm subsides you are still standing there hand in hand. When problems come as a result of the actions of one of you, the blame game is not played. You extend your hand toward them and say, "We're in this together, now what can we do to work our way out of this mess?" You must never forget you've messed up too. You must never forget you are a part of your spouse and they are a part of you!
Don't ever leave your partner behind. My eyes filled with tears as I looked at my husband sitting beside me. I slipped my hand into his and whispered "Thank you." I truly do not know how I could have ever gotten through the past nine, no almost ten months without him. He was the first person I called when I learned I might have cancer. He was sitting beside me holding my hand when I learned that I did have cancer. He walked with me to every appointment and walked with me to surgery. He was at every chemo treatment except for one when he had no choice but to be gone. He ensured that others were there to take his place that time and called me while I was in treatment.
He cooked and cleaned for me. He held me and prayed for me when I cried in pain and held me when I was sick. He'd affectionately rub the bristles on my head and I'd see the love in his eyes and feel beautiful. He never tried to tell me cancer would never come back. Instead he told me that as long as we were together on this earth, he'd never leave me behind.
Marriage isn't about flowers and candy, music and romantic shivers although all of those things can certainly be a part of it. Marriage is about doing life together no matter what life looks like. Marriage is about attempting to do what God does for us. He never forgets that he loves us, even when we are unloving and hateful towards him. He forgives the unforgiveable. Impossible? Under our own strength, it probably is but with God's help I truly believe all things are possible.
Never leave your partner behind.
Awww, what a sweet story! :) Sounds like you have a wonderful husband! My church is getting a group together to go see Fireproof next weekend. I've always liked Kirk Cameron...I got to hear him share his testimony and story one time at a youth conference. He seems like a wonderful Christian guy and the movie looks fascinating. Can't wait! :)
that was beautiful. AMEN.
Why do my comments keep getting posted twice?
thank you for your words. they truely blessed me.
Thanks for your story. It is an inspiration! My hubby and I are going on year 26. We got married in 1981 too! But am older than you lol. We also went through some hard times financially, physically and emotionally. Before we got married my husband said....promise me if either of us fall out of love with each other, we will stay together. I said of course, still being in the swooning stage and never thinking that would happen. Well it did and we vowed to work it out. We are here today because of our vow to God and our promise to ourselves.
thank you for your blog, me and my wife heard about the movie form 2 ministries, focus on the family and familylife and also the ad on the hompage of our local christian radio station and christianity.com.we plan to see it today as our annual month date....be encouraged and blessed my sister.....
Thanks for this encouraging blog, sister k
After 36 years of marriage I also have had good times and bad. We married in 1972, the year of a great gas crunch. No marriage is without trouble for in this life we shall have trouble.
WOW, you all blow me away with your 26 years, 27 years, and 36 years. I've been married for 13 years this month and been through a lot of times where it almost ended. After the last bad separation (only 2 days) I've decided I will never give up on my wife. Like you said, we have made vows before God and must keep them.
Your story touched me deeply. Thanks for sharing it. Before I got married for the second time, I had a friend who went through chemo and I was there for her at that time too. She still thanks me for being there for her at that time in her life even though we are not a couple today. I think we need to be there for our partners through whatever life deals us.
I recently had a scare that I might have prostrate cancer since my dad has had it. I had the PSA tests done and it was normal praise God. Yet my wife was right there encouraging me and praying for me. Two are better than one, for there in their midst is the Lord Jesus Christ.
Bless you sister.
Congratulations on 13 years! I'm also glad your test results came out well. Praise God!
Far too many people enter marriage thinking what am I going to get out of it. I think a critical step in a happy marriage is when you come to an understanding that a marriage cannot be about "you", it has to be about "us". Instead of asking what marriage will give to you we should be asking ourselves what we are giving to the marriage. We're not going to do this perfectly all of the time but practice makes perfect!
We must strive to become selfless rather than selfish.
Many will claim they have tried this to no avail. Perhaps this is true, however, I would challenge them to examine exactly what their motives were at the time. Were you trying to be selfless because you wanted something back in return such as their love? If this is true, then were you truly being selfless? Or were you trying to be selfless because you truly love them so much that you place them above everything except God. I may get criticized for this but may I even suggest our spouse must be placed above our own children and parents? Yes, I believe this is true for we are not one flesh with our children. Many a marriage has crumbled when the children leave home because the children and their needs were placed above that of the spouse.
May God heal and bless all of our marriages and help us to love our spouses as Christ loves the Church! Unconditionally.
Thank you so much for this post. It reminded me of a few things I'd been overlooking and praying about. God always answers.