This is a post our dear friend Matt wrote about our 25th Anniversary celebration. I am humbled by his kind words. He is such a blessing in our lives. He and his wife, Jolynn, have shared an inner city dormitory with us, shared laughter and tears, and he honored us by conducting Tonia’s funeral service. Matt and JoLynn have two wonderful kids who we have enjoyed getting to know.
Thank you Matt!
MONDAY, JUNE 20, 2011
You did. But would you again?
That’s the question now isn’t it?
Twenty-five years married is a milestone.
Some couples, struggling through, can’t imagine making it 25 more days let alone 25 years, and sadly, marriage as an institution has become filled with so many caveats and qualifiers, that for practically any reason they choose, they don’t have to.
Well several Friday nights ago, in spite of and in contrast to this modern marriage malaise, there was an hour of clarity, celebration, and commitment. My friends, Rick and Kathy, in front of family and friends, and before God, renewed their wedding vows after 25 years of marriage.
Christian marriage was held up as the honed and hammered treasure, the sterling and sparkling gem that it is. It’s every brilliant and glorious facet on display.
Christian marriage shined. Let me share 5 reasons why it shined so brightly…
1. Jesus was made much of.
I came away with the distinct impression that had Jesus not invaded the lives of Rick and Kathy, their marriage would be as the debris on a shoreline, sadly like so many marriages. Instead, Jesus transformed each of them individually and both of them together. Jesus did this. And He got the credit. Who is the couple doing marriage in yourself and for yourself? Press into Christ. In marriage as in all things. He must be preeminent.
2. A son heaped praise upon his parents.
Marriage usually produces children, and Rick and Kathy’s is no different. Their son Sean, blessed his father and blessed his mother with words of laughter and love. For most of us this only happens when we are dead. What an honor for Rick and Kathy to hear Sean speak these words over them when they are alive. Parents, what ways are your children walking in? How will your example become the fodder for the words they use to call you blessed some day? What a great thing to not wait until the grave for these words. To hear them and be humbled by them was tremendously honoring.
3. Everyone knew that twenty-five years of marriage has been happy and hard.
We heard about the seasons of fighting, fear, and failure, times when either of them could have walked away. And I wonder…Are you, perhaps young in marriage, looking down the road, wondering what will come? Here’s truth: It will be a happy road, but it will be a hard road. And I saw two people who faced and embraced each season, learned to run to God, forgive each other, and arrived together with joy in Christ.
4. Passionate love was on display.
I saw embrace, emotion, twinkles in eyes, a loooooong kiss, raw, romantic love. Rick and Kathy love each other. Who is the couple that will make it twenty five years gritting it out for convenience or necessity…for the kids or for financial reasons? Becoming merely roommates or strangers. Hear this. Keep love alive. Arrive in 25 years as Rick and Kathy have. In love.
5. Christian community is an obvious and integral part of marriage.
Rick and Kathy were surrounded by the people like Jolynn and me who have lived life with them. Some there have known them for a much longer time than Jolynn and me, and some for a much shorter time. We were all there. We…The church was there. The ceremony could have been a church business meeting minus the arguing and voting. We, the church, are Rick and Kathy’s spiritual family. We’ve sung and studied the Bible together, been to picnics with each other, walked through the valley of the shadow of death holding on to each other, laughed hysterically together, reared our kids together, shared our prayer requests with each other…held them accountable and have been held accountable by them…Rick and Kathy live in the community of saints, so of course they would celebrate their marriage with the “family”. Couples, you need each other. But you need the church just as much.
Thanks Rick and Kathy for a great display Christ’s faithful love for the church. In a few fast years Jolynn and I will reach this milestone. We cannot wait, and Rick and Kathy reminded every couple: we can do it. We can make it…thriving! With Jesus Christ at the center and love very much alive.