A Marriage Worth Remembering

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carlellieoldOn Sunday, Husband and I took our coupons to Arby’s for a fancy Sunday dinner consisting of roast beef and curly fries. After we finished eating, we were on our way out and we noticed an older gentleman walking a little slowly toward the exit, so we waited so that we could hold open the door for him. After thanking us for “waiting for an old man like him,” he stopped and smiled and said,

“How old do you think I am?”

Husband and I both politely guessed a younger age, then he beamed and declared,


We complimented him on how good he looked for his age, then my big mouth got ahead of my brain and I blurted out,

“Why are you here all by yourself?”

The smile faded from his face as he responded,

“Well my wife died a year ago so I do most things alone now. We were married sixty-three years.”

We offered condolences, then his eyes got a little misty and he smiled again and said,

“Do you know what she used to do? She used to wake up just as I was getting out of the shower and she’d walk in singing the Miss America theme, then she’d say, ‘I want my coffee and I want it now!’”

He chuckled while shaking his head and said, “I’d always get it for her though.”

He then started to reminisce about the old days (all while we’re still standing in the Arby’s parking lot), and we were happy to listen. He told us of their first date, a night at the movies, and about how she always teased and said that the only reason she went on that first date with him was because he was the only boy she knew who had a car. It didn’t matter that we were strangers. I think he could have talked to anyone who would listen.

As we were getting back in the car, I said, “He’s cute” and Husband replied, “He’s lonely.” I thought about what the old man was going to do now. I wondered if he was going to go home and just sit and think about her…if he was going to talk to her, pretending she was in the room with him. If he maybe, hopefully, had plans with other people later that night, or the next day, or anytime this week. I felt sorry for him. But then I thought about the alternative lifestyle, which is what most people are going to be experiencing when they’re 86, if they live that long. There will be a day (it’s getting closer and closer) when meeting someone who was married to the same person for 63 years will be a rare find indeed. In our culture, the moment you stop feeling the butterflies you felt while you were dating, it’s time to find someone else. Marriage is just a piece of paper and a shared bed. It’s not a lifelong commitment, but just something new to try.

Who would I rather be when I’m 86? Someone who was married three times because I cared more about personal satisfaction than about selfless commitment and family values or someone who shared love and devotion with the same person for 63 years? The answer is obvious. I pity the man for the emptiness he feels now that his beloved has passed, but I envy him for the 63 years of committed adoration they shared.

I want that. I want to have that kind of forever and always marital bond with my husband. I want my kids to see that no matter what life throws at us, one thing is certain: Mom and Dad are staying together.  Their commitment to Christ and each other will always make it work against all odds. I want my kids to be totally grossed out by how in love we still are after many years of being together. I want my kids to see what a happy, godly marriage looks like just by watching their parents every day.

I often tell my husband that when we are old (if God allows us to live that long), I hope I go first. It’s completely selfish and unfair, but I really don’t want to think about living life alone without him. I also tell him that it’s okay if he marries someone else, even if I die tomorrow. I don’t want him to be lonely.

If you’re a Christian and you’re married, make it a goal to do more hand-holding this week and less eye rolling. Do more of reminding yourself why you married that person, and do less fault-finding. Do more assigning of pure motives to his/her mistakes rather than always assuming the worst. Speak in complimentary terms of your spouse to others instead of casually joining in the husband/wife bashing sessions with your worldly friends (and unfortunately, sometimes your Christian friends). Do more intent listening this week than staring at your phone while your spouse is talking. If you’re a husband, treat your wife in such a way that she will be counting the minutes until you come home at the end of the day. If you’re a wife, treat him in such a way that makes coming home to you the very best part of his day.

Make it a point to picture yourself at 86 years old more often. Ask yourself regularly if you’re making your marriage something that you will love reminiscing about even after your spouse is gone, or if you will be filled with bitter regret.

Make today with your spouse, even if it’s just in small ways, one you will love remembering.

On that note, I’m off to fold laundry and count the minutes until my man comes home for lunch with me, just like I hope he’ll still be doing when we’re 86.





ON TAKING A CHILL PILL (in addition to all the prenatal vitamins)

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sweatI worry about stuff a lot. And that’s funny because it annoys me when other people worry incessantly about things they can’t control…probably because it reminds me of how silly it is when I do it.

Lately, I’ve been worried about a bunch of stuff while my husband and I were in the process of deciding to take a new job. I worried mainly about Baby G—that we’d be moving when I was bound to go into labor at any second, that I would have no idea who my baby doctor was going to be, no idea where delivery would take place, no idea if we would possibly have a nursery ready in time, no idea if we’d have time to baby-proof the house in time, no idea if I’d find a pediatrician I liked in time, no idea when maternity insurance would come into affect after the move, no idea whether we’d find a house in time to move or if we’d have to rent meaning we’d have to move TWICE with a newborn in the picture…I could keep going.

And those worries were on top of the ones that EVERY pregnant woman has, especially with her first baby—What if something goes wrong? What if I trip on my own shoelaces and fall on my stomach? What if I ingest secondhand smoke and give the baby dirty lungs? What if I don’t eat enough greens and drink too much caffeine and baby ends up having a mental disability because of me? What if all this stress about moving affects baby’s health? What if I realize after the baby comes that I registered for all the wrong stuff and not the stuff I actually need? What if I give the baby diaper rashes because I’m too lazy to use cloth diapers? WHAT IF I DON’T KNOW HOW TO BE A BLOOMIN’ MOM?!

Don’t pretend, moms. You’ve wondered all those things too.

Just today in the car with Husband, I was venting about some of the stuff about moving into the unknown while seven months pregnant (I don’t complain about stuff with everybody, but I do with him from time to time because he’s my other half and he gets me). And he just sighed and said in an infuriatingly calm tone, “First-world problems, Dear. We just kinda have to take a deep breath and deal with the little stuff. And it’s all little stuff.”

It was infuriating because I knew he was absolutely right.

Good grief, are we blessed. We’ve been praying for God to use us as He sees fit for His Kingdom, and he’s not only blessed us with an opportunity we’re over the moon excited about (read about it here), but it just happens to be in ALABAMA. That’s my home state, people! We’ll be living 2 hours away from both of our families, 2 hours from my beloved Piedaddy, as well as 2 hours from my brother who is moving to Smyrna, Georgia. We will never want for babysitters or, more importantly, Godly influences for Baby G from people who will endlessly adore him.

Notice I said him? That’s because we just recently found out that our perfectly healthy Baby G is no longer a nebulous he or she or it (the “it” thing makes me cringe, but everyone does it when they don’t know the gender—it’s an innocent “it.”). WE’RE HAVING A SON, PEOPLE!!! We were able to discover that news surrounded by our closest friends and family at our gender reveal party. It was a beautiful moment that I’ll never forget when Husband and I cut into that cake and exclaimed, “It’s BLUE!”

As I’m typing this sentence, I can feel his sweet little kicks letting me know he’s in there and boy, is he active. I can’t wait to hold him in my arms. I can’t believe God has given me this precious gift of becoming the mother of this precious soul. And even though it wouldn’t be any less of a blessing if this weren’t true, I’ve had an easy breezy pregnancy so far. Very little sickness, very little pain, very few complications.

Sometimes I have to make myself just stop whatever I’m doing and ponder how rich I am. I’ve already gotten so mad at myself when I hear myself complain about things like swollen hands and feet, endless fatigue, discomfort when trying to sleep, and other silly little things when I know there are so many women out there who would give their right arms for a child. Couples who have been trying for years to get pregnant with no success, or couples who obtained the ultimate elation of discovering they were pregnant only to lose that precious child to miscarriage months later.

And when I worry about things about the baby and moving to a different state, I have to make myself think about my missionary friends like the Evans family and the Gaines family, living in Tanzania with little children. I don’t know how many of you readers have ever been to Tanzania, but let me clue you in: There’s no such thing as registering for baby gifts. People don’t worry about nurseries there—most people have never dreamed of having a separate room for a crib. Or any extra room. The concerns with pregnancy there are not about making sure you’re eating enough vegetables, but making sure you’re getting enough to eat. Period. Nobody has opinions over there about which newborn travel system is the most convenient. I didn’t see a single stroller, and I certainly never saw a car seat, because I rarely saw a woman, much less an infant, in a car. When it gets dark, they don’t worry so much about making sure they’re on target with the baby’s sleeping/feeding schedule, but about hurrying to get inside and under a net so that baby doesn’t catch malaria from the disease-carrying mosquitoes.

I, on the other hand, live in a world where trustworthy medical help is available fast no matter where I am. I live in a world where I can jump in a car and drive on paved roads to get wherever I need to go quickly. I live in a world where deciding what to cook for supper is the biggest worry I have about food—never about having enough. I live in a world where my greatest concern about clothing is being cute and comfortable, never about making sure I have clothes at all. I live in a world where I never have to worry about needs being met for my family—only wants (which are often unnecessary wants).

And then I think about people like Paul, who, not knowing if he’d live to see another day, wrote while rotting away in a prison cell,

“Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through him who strengthens me. And my God will supply every need according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:10-13,19)

When I think about things from that perspective, the stuff I worry about, and the stuff that most everyone in this country worries about is, as my husband reminded me, all little stuff.

If you, like me, worry about little stuff, it’s time to take a chill pill. It’s time to trust that our God has a plan and He’s going to take care of all the little stuff we worry about, if we just allow Him to work in our lives (Proverbs 3:5-6, Romans 8:28).

God is so good. When you forget that, take a moment to think about someone who has a harder life than the one you have. I promise you’ll immediately feel silly, because if you’re reading this, you, like me, are so very rich.