Please welcome Guest Blogger Claire...
When I think of a successful marriage, one that can stand the test of time, trial, adversity, happiness and love, I think of my parents. They were married for just 51 short years before cancer took my father away, but those years were as close to perfect as any can get. They epitomized the verse which tells us that the "two shall become one."
Mom and Dad had a partnership in every sense of the word. She would never have made a large purchase without first talking it over with him and he'd have never made a life changing decision without first discussing it with her. They did everything together, always putting the other person and what they felt, wanted or needed first. I saw my parents argue on occasion but I never saw them fight. Dad had his own business so of course there were times of struggle and financial hardship but that was something they worked through together, just as they enjoyed their success and the good life together. They were a very traditional family, she stayed home and took care of the house and children and he provided for the family. Both were happy and content in their roles, and, while one would happily help the other, those roles were clearly defined. There was never any competition, I never heard my mother say she "wasn't her own person" or worried about "finding herself". My father and mother truly respected each other. One would never have denegrated the other or made light of their contribution to the home. Both felt that without the other they could never have survived and that, in turn, gave each one a sense of importance to the marriage.
Faith played a very important part in our home. On Sunday, we children went to Sunday School and the entire family always went to church. Religion was an important part of our upbringing and was always part of any family decision.
The example they set for their four children was something that each of us has taken to heart and learned from. In all the years I was growing up, I never once feared that my family was in jeopardy and divorce was something I never even thought about.
Today many young people get married without any real committment or sense of lifetime. Many come from families of divorce and have lots of friends who are divorced so it's "easy" to use that avenue of escape rather than working at making it work. No one will tell you that being married is easy, but most who've been married for a long time will tell you that it is very worth the effort. Marriage is a sacrament and should be treated as such. When the storms come, and they will, a partnership which includes God, love, and a committment to one another will thrive and grow.