June 16, 2010

A Wedding Message


On Saturday, June 19, I will be officiating at the wedding of our granddaughter, Lindsey, and her fiance, Alex Bailey. For this current Parable, I am sharing a copy of my remarks for the occasion:


IT IS MY RESPONSIBILITY TO SHARE WITH YOU WHAT I HOPE ARE WORDS OF WISDOM BASED ON THE LOVE AFFAIR WHICH GMA AND I HAVE ENJOYED FOR SIXTY TWO YEARS. HOW HAVE WE BEEN ABLE TO MAINTAIN A LOVING RELATIONSHIP FOR SO MANY YEARS WHEN THE DIVORCE RATE DURING THAT SAME PERIOD HAS INCREASED BY 30%?


I’VE BEEN TALKING A POLL OF COUPLES WHO HAVE BEEN MARRIED FOR A GOOD WHILE, AND WHEN ASKED FOR THE SECRET TO THEIR LONG RELATIONSHIP, THEY WILL OFTEN ANSWER “COMMUNICATION.” IT’S INTERESTING THAT "LACK OF COMMUNICATION" IS ALSO LISTED AS ONE OF THE CONTRIBUTING FACTOR IN DIVORCE. SO WHAT DO WE MEAN WHEN WE TALK ABOUT GOOD COMMUNICATION IN A MARRIAGE. THIS IS WHAT GMA AND I THINK.


IT MEANS A RELATIONSHIP BUILT ON CANDOR AND FRANKNESS, OFFERED IN A SPIRIT OF LOVE AND RESPECT. GOOD COMMUNICATION REQUIRES LISTENING, AND A GOOD LISTENER IS FOCUSED AND WILL GIVE THE SPEAKER HIS/HER FULL ATTENTION. GOOD COMMUNICATORS DON’T LOOK FOR IMPERFECTIONS IN EACH OTHER. BUT IF THEY ARE DISCOVERED, THEY DON’T EXPECT THE OTHER TO CHANGE. AS LOVERS AND FRIENDS, YOU RESPECT YOUR PARTNER AND RECOGNIZE THAT WHILE YOU BELONG WITH EACH OTHER, YOU ARE TWO SEPARATE PEOPLE, AND YOU DON’T BELONG TO EACH OTHER.


A WORD ABOUT FORGIVENESS. REGARDLESS OF THE DEPTH OF YOUR LOVE, THERE WILL BE OCCASIONS WHEN ONE OF YOU DISAPPOINTS THE OTHER OR DOESN’T MEET THAT PERSON’S EXPECTATIONS. AT SUCH TIMES, BE QUICK TO PARDON THE MISTAKES, THE OMISSIONS, OR THE ERRORS AND FORGET AND FORGIVE.


ONE SPOUSE IN A RELATIONSHIP, WHEN I ASKED HOW THE COUPLE STAYED TOGETHER SAID, “I DIDN’T SET MY EXPECTATIONS TOO HIGH.”


LINDSEY, REMEMBER WHEN YOU PLAYED FOR JAMESTOWN HS FOR THE STATE CHAMPIONSHIP IN VOLLEYBALL. CAN YOU IMAGINE YOUR COACH TELLING YOU BEFORE THE GAME NOT TO SET YOUR EXPECTATIONS TOO HIGH?? MARRIED COUPLES HAVE HIGH EXPECTATIONS AND THEY COMMUNICATE THOSE EXPECTATIONS TO ONE ANOTHER.


GOOD COMMUNICATION IN A MARRIAGE REQUIRES PLENTIFUL USE OF THE FOLLOWING WORDS AND PHRASES: PLEASE, THANK YOU, YOUR WELCOME, MAY I HELP?, I’M SORRY AND I FORGIVE YOU, EXCUSE ME AND PARDON ME YOU CAN HAVE THE LAST PIECE, YOU LOOK SO NICE TODAY, HONEY AND LET ME DO THAT FOR YOU.


SOME NEGATIVE ACTIONS AND WORDS THAT CAN DOOM YOUR RELATIONSHIP: SILENT TREATMENT, SNIDE REMARKS, PUTTING DOWN YOUR PARTNER IN PUBLIC, NOT ADMITTING YOU ARE WRONG, RUDENESS AND SARCASM. REMEMBER THIS: SARCASM IS THE WEAPON OF THE INSECURE.


IT’S IMPORTANT TO REMEMBER COMMUNICATION IS NOT LIMITED TO SPEAKING. JOHN WOODEN, THE FAMOUS BASKETBALL COACH WHO RECENTLY PASSED AWAY SAID, “THEY DO NOT LOVE THAT DO NOT SHOW THEIR LOVE.” KISSING, TOUCHING, HOLDING HANDS AND HUGGING ARE CONSTANT REMINDERS OF YOUR AFFECTION FOR EACH OTHER. CUDDLING AND SNUGGLING SHOULD ALSO BE IN YOUR MARRIAGE PLAY BOOK. UNEXPECTED GIFTS ARE EXPRESSIONS OF LOVE AND ADMIRATION. COMPLIMENTS AND THOUGHTFUL WORDS OF APPRECIATION ARE A WAY OF COMMUNICATING YOUR LOVE. AND MY PERSONAL FAVORITE: A KISS ON THE BACK OF THE NECK EACH DAY.


HERE’S OUR CHALLENGE TO YOU, LINDSEY AND ALEX. MAKE TIME EVERY DAY TO COMMUNICATE WITH EACH OTHER, AND MAKE CERTAIN WHAT YOU COMMUNICATE COMES FROM YOUR HEART. THAT ONE CAME FROM COUSIN JENNY.


FINALLY, IT IS AN UNDENIABLE FACT THAT MARRIED COUPLES WHO REGULARLY WORSHIP THEIR GOD IN A CHURCH OR SYNAGOG HAVE HAPPIER AND LONGER MARRIAGES THAN THOSE WHO DON’T. AND THAT IS THE TRUTH. IF YOU ASK GOD TO BE PRESENT IN YOUR RELATIONSHIP, HE WILL BLESS YOUR MARRIAGE, STRENGTHEN YOUR MARRIAGE, AND HEAL YOUR MARRIAGE IF THERE ARE PROBLEMS.


EARLIER I SUGGESTED THAT ACTIONS SPEAK LOUDER THAN WORDS. A MORE CURRENT PHRASE IS, YOU CAN TALK THE TALK BUT CAN YOU WALK THE WALK? NEXT, I’M GOING TO ASK YOU TO DECLARE YOUR INTENTION TO WED AND TO TAKE YOUR VOWS. THAT’S THE TALK. GMA AND I CHALLENGE YOU TO WALK THE WALK AS WELL SO ONE DAY YOU CAN LOOK BACK ON YOUR LIFE TOGETHER AS WE HAVE AND SAY “THANKS FOR THE MEMORIES.”

June 4, 2010

A Sixty-Two Year Love Affair


It was October 24, 1947 when a high school junior who turned “sweet sixteen” the previous March asked a boy in her class to a party. According to an entry in her diary that evening, she had a “swell” time.


A few days later, they dated again, but during the next six months the boy is only mentioned occasionally in the diary, and they were never together as a couple.


Then on February 17, 1948, the seventeen year old boy and girl danced with each other three times at the local teen canteen. The diary entry that night read:

“The last time we danced together I was just getting ready to go. I even had my coat on. He held me real close and kept his lips on my forehead the whole time.”

Something happened that night to the boy and girl. The spark that was created on their dates six months earlier burst into flame, and on April 17, they dated for the third time. From that night on, they were going steady, dating throughout high school and college until, on May 30, 1953, they stood before a congregation of relatives and friends and pledged their love for all time.


Last month, Nancy and I, who first dated in October of 1947, celebrated fifty-seven years of marriage and sixty-two years of being in love.


Among the factors we credit for our long and loving relationship is our commitment to our church and to our faith. God has blessed and strengthened our marriage, and we give thanks to Him for both our physical health and the spiritual nourishment we received through our years together.