Sacred Marriage

SCAN0021Fifty years is a long time for anything, but 50 years of marriage is special, and these days, rare.

My parents celebrated their 50th Anniversary in October, and I am so proud of them. Through their 50 years together, they have taught me three important lessons:

1. COMMITMENT. Commitment to anything takes hard work and desire to finish. My parents taught me that marriage is not, and should not be, feeling-based. When united in marriage, two become one, and this bond no man can break.

My parents stuck it out through some really difficult situations, and early on were even close to divorce. They fought for their marriage and didn’t allow their emotions to dictate their relationship.

They taught me agape love – unconditional, no-strings-attached love. This love is not feeling based like pathos and eros. It sticks it out for better or worse, just like our wedding vows recite. My parents reflect what commitment truly means.

DSC_02242. DREAM BIG. I’ve always been a dreamer, and I have to give a lot of credit to my parents because they never doubted me or told me my dreams were too lofty to attain. They encouraged me to pursue the desires of my heart. They were my biggest cheerleaders. When I was playing basketball in high school, I remember they were always in the stands cheering, and even though I wasn’t the best, I was the next Lindsey Whelan in their eyes.

They also never said no when opportunities arose for me. Looking back, I see just how much time and money they sacrificed to make sure I could pursue my passions. I said yes to opportunities like traveling around Europe, interning with New York News 1 at the Democratic Convention in Boston, and studying at the World Journalism Institute in New York City. Every opportunity gave me a chance to grow a little more into the woman I was created to be.

My parents gave my dreams a chance to be nurtured and flourish, and I am still a dreamer today.

3. STRONG FAITH. My parents have strong convictions and are not easily swayed. I learned it’s important not to waver and to make my faith my own.

“Train up a child in the way he should go; and when he is old, he will not depart from it” (Proverbs 22:6). This verse rings true in my life, and I’m sure I was a big part of my parents’ prayer life – I probably still am. I had my years of rebellion against my parents and against God, but midway into my college years, I changed and developed an unshakeable faith like my parents reflect day after day.

My parents’ deep-rooted convictions helped me to see the importance of believing in something bigger than myself. When it wasn’t forced, I had the desire for a relationship with my Heavenly Father. Thank God my parents never gave up on their convictions – or me.

DSC_0215My parents are two special people with their own love story – trials and victories alike – that shaped them into who they are today, together, as one. Their life is a reflection of commitment, big dreams, and strong faith. Because of them, I am a better wife, mother, friend, and daughter. I am a reflection of what 50 years of marriage produces. Thank you for saying yes to the call of a life-long commitment to each other.

 

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First Kiss

Wedding 3In our lives, there are many firsts – first step, first word, first birthday, first bike, first day of school, first scraped knee, first loss, first best friend. But one first that seems to stick with us is a first kiss. There’s something about that moment, that place, that time, that person. It’s a rite of passage moving us from childhood into adolescence and then into adulthood. It’s the feeling of euphoria knowing someone longs to be intimate with you – the first kiss.

I’m not talking about my first kiss ever. That would have been on the playground while I was being chased by the cutest boy in my first grade class, which I get teased about to this day by my family. I’m talking about the first kiss with the man I would commit to spend the rest of my life with. My soul mate. My best friend. Our first kiss is memorable, and there’s no forgetting the exact date – Jan. 28, 2006 – our wedding day in front of 400 of our closest friends and family. What?!

Yes, we waited to physically kiss on the lips until we said, “I do.” Call me crazy because it was my brilliant idea. I had been in and out of several relationships, some serious, some playful, but all ending with a piece of me missing. I knew the next relationship I would be in was the one I would stay in. I wanted it to be crystal clear that it would be my last romantic relationship, so I became a content single woman on an adventure of a lifetime!

Everything changed midway through my junior year of college when I came home for Christmas Break. I was volunteering at a high school conference with a sector of the Campus Crusade for Christ ministry. My friend, Josh, was volunteering too. I had always known I’d marry someone just like Josh, a patient, caring, passionate, straight forward man. However, I also knew it wasn’t him I was to marry; it was just supposed to be someone like him.

God had other plans though. That weekend God hit me with a bag of bricks, and I finally caved. I saw Josh through different eyes and in a different light. I suddenly found myself attracted to him in a more romantic way. This was simply frustrating to me, as just a couple months back I was completely content being single and independent, a free bird living life as I determined!

Well, things progressed. Josh felt the same way about me, and we began our courting relationship. The day I said yes to dating him was the day I knew I would marry that boy. However, I had made a commitment to myself that the next romantic relationship I’d be in would remain as pure as it could until our wedding day. I wanted my husband to have all of me and not just the leftovers. I had made other decisions in past relationships, but there is grace and forgiveness, and God made me pure once again. And that is how I intended to remain until I said, “I do.”

Wedding 2That didn’t mean it wasn’t a difficult year for us because it was. There were always temptations to cross the boundary that we had set, but on Jan. 28, 2006, when our lips first met after saying, “I do,” I can say it was well worth the wait. At that moment, we were united as one flesh, and it physically felt that way.

In the year of dating, we were able to form such a relational connection without the physical expectation. We grew to not only love each other but also to like each other, which would benefit us in the years to come. We knew we were together for more than just the physical attraction we had for each other because we had trained ourselves to dig deeper into an emotionally intimate relationship without the physical pressures.

Do I recommend this for everyone? No, each needs to figure out her own boundaries. But for me, it was worth it to be able to cherish a first kiss with the man God prepared my heart for. My wedding day was truly special, and it was the perfect last first kiss.