“Love doesn’t just sit there, like a stone, it has to be made, like bread; remade all the time, made new.” ~ Ursula K. Le Guin, The Lathe of Heaven
Today is a special day on my calendar. It is my parent’s wedding anniversary. They would have been married seventy-eight years today. Their marriage, from the perspective of an outsider, was very rocky at times. My father had a really bad temper and was very impatient. The two of them, at times, fought like cats and dogs. It was wise of us, their four boys, to stay out of the room when they were getting loud as we would end up in the fallout.
Then, there were times when they seemed to be the best of friends and the perfect couple. Everything was peaceful and they would talk about their plans for the future. They would bundle the family up and take us all out for celebrations. Everything would be wonderful.
Tension to celebration. Stress to joy. We would swing back and forth between the positive and negative poles as a pendulum swings back and forth on a clock. That was their life. They seemed to understand that all their days were not going to be wonderful just as all their days were not going to be stressful. The one thing that they did know was that they made a commitment to each other on October 15, 1941 and they were going to stick to that commitment as well as to one another.
Don’t get me wrong. I think they had many more good days than bad. I’m just saying that it took a lot of work for them to stay together. Just as it does for most married people. Each day, when a couple gets up, they need to say to themselves, “I’m going to be married again today.” They have to renew the commitment that they made to each other at the beginning of their marriage. If they do not, that marriage will fail at the first negative moment.
That, sadly, is what often happens to marriages that break up. They forget about the commitment that they made and, instead, focus more upon a negative moment rather than upon the entire picture. I know that some marriages might not last. Sometimes those negatives can be quite drastic and, perhaps, even violent. Some people have to do what they need to do in order to remain safe and that might mean leaving a violent partner.
Aside from those rather dramatic examples, though, the typical marriage will have ups and downs, good and bad, joys and sorrows. Marriage is kind of like the stock market. A couple has to be in it for the duration, not for the moment.
FAITH ACTION: Pray for all married couples — especially couples who may be experiencing rocky relationships at the moment — that they have the grace to renew their commitment to one another day by day.