The Legacy of Marriage

5 years ago we promised to love each other no matter what for the rest of our lives. Marriage is the most beautiful and terrifying commitment you will ever make to another person, and I can finally understand why people cry at weddings. It really is such an honor to witness the beginning of a legacy on that day!

Filling in the details between moving to three different states, settling in Florida and welcoming two beautiful children into our lives, there were joys and hardships I never imagined on our wedding day 5 years ago. But my love for Matt is stronger than it would have been without the changes and twists in the story line that I never saw coming. Those always end up being the best parts in movies, don’t they? Who wants to watch a film without any conflict or obstacle to overcome, yet many of us want lives that are perfect, (boring) happily-ever-afters. Our prayers are consumed with minimizing anything unpleasant. Yet, it’s the battle scenes that capture us, and they sharpen our character and faith when we find ourselves in the trenches.

Love can’t be summed up with a Hallmark card or chick-flick. As I scanned the aisle for an anniversary card this year, many of them focused on happiness, “I’m happier than I’ve ever been!!!! Happy anniversary!” I couldn’t help but find these words to fall flat (cue the crickets) and a bit of stretch for any relationship. Maybe continual happiness is what we hope love and marriage will boil down to, but the focus just can’t be on our own happiness, inward focused love can’t last. I think this subtle theme in all the anniversary cards has a lot to do with why many find their marriages aren’t working, and why celebrating another year is truly a reason to clink your glass.

While I don’t feel happiness is the major focus in our marriage, I’ve found that traveling through hard places, coming out on other side, and receiving the sweet reward of a stronger, deeper and more lasting love is worth sacrificing some shallow, happy moments. This has meant confronting my short-comings and sin first, which gives perspective and paves the way for grace when dealing with my husband’s sin. While most of my days look nothing like the happily-ever-after of a chick-flick romance, the work of rubbing to polish the jewel that is our marriage, proves to sparkle and shine more with each passing year.

Marriage is about more than just loving each other and making each other happy, God had more in mind when He created marriage. While we are to leave our father and mother and become one, loving each other selflessly, we are also created to “be fruitful and multiply,” to create a legacy for God’s glory, whether that’s with actual or children, or making disciples, there is a bigger purpose to marriage than just the two of us. The world has dumbed-down marriage to being about happiness, but whether the marriage is Christian or not, eventually we are meant to do something more with our marriage relationship that is outside of ourselves, or I think marriage has a hard time flourishing.

A marriage is the foundation of a family pyramid, pointing up towards God, and the impact stretches well past the nuclear family relationships, whether for good or bad. It’s no secret that many issues are caused by broken families, and while there are good reasons for divorce, (infidelity, abuse, etc) there are plenty of divorces that simply stem from an unmet expectation of happiness.

Marriage is selfless love between two people, but its function is giving to the next generations, building a legacy that glorifies God.Of course I’m not only speaking about biological children, there are many ways to build a legacy for God married or not. I think the desire to make a difference with our lives is instilled in everyone beause God put it there when He created us.

This year the legacy aspect of marriage really hit home for me as I reflected on our beautiful and messy job of parenthood. The clock has turned; I am now the mommy and life is much less about me, or even us, and much more about imparting everything I’ve learned to my children. Those stages of life being more about me as a child, teenager, college student, and young married person where it was more about us, were all important, but eventually the time comes for us to give back and to build something with our lives, and in our case, through the avenue of our marriage.

My prayer is that Matt and I will never cave to the happiness lie and abandon our marriage, causing a huge crack in the foundation of our family legacy. Happiness is something you can’t pursue head-on, it is the product of living out a selfless love, which takes work. Even though true love is not based on circumstances, gifts or exciting experiences, you need to sprinkle those in too! I pray that because God first loved us, we can model a lifestyle of love, inspiring our children to passionately love God and others, and that the impact of our family legacy is felt in generations to come.

Marriage is a beautiful joining of two souls together, and when our love is found in God and focused outward, there is no telling how happy we truly will be on our 60th anniversary!

This year on our 5th anniversary we went out for a night on the town, downtown Tampa!

Lots of “happiness was sprinkled in” and we even teared up when we read each other’s cards beause of what we both had to say. Our love is deeper and richer than any year yet and I am truly thankful for this amazing, handsome man whom I admire and respect so much.