Saturday, May 9, 2009

Mike and Bethany...They've been married five years

It seems almost like it was yesterday but in reality it‘s been 5 years since Bethany and Mike took those wedding vows at the botanical gardens here in Fort Wayne.
It was a day I will always remember because of the beauty of the gardens and the heartfelt love that was expressed between Mike and Bethany at their wedding ceremony.
For all those who attended you can’t help but remember that there was the unexpected “torrential rain” and we were all drenched before we got into the building, and then the roof began to leak as the song, “at last” was sung. It was almost like God himself was participation in a wedding shower.
Like most weddings the on lookers, (like you and I) admire the beauty of the bride (but on this day it was special because this was my daughter). It was really happening and yet this day came so fast and I soon had to remind myself that this was my little girl who grew up so quickly and was soon to be turned over to a young man who I have grown to love and respect.
Bethany to me was like a shadow. If I went to the shop she went along with me and she learned about woodworking and learned how to make things for her school projects. She learned how to operate a wood lathe helped gather eggs from the chicken coop and helped raise the pets. She was a good listener and always had plenty of energy and creative ideas.
During the evening I would read from the scripture to my kids and she always participated in the discussion.
When she and I got in the car we had a list of songs we would sing out loud. Sometimes we would get carried away and would laugh our heads off. Bethany was an entertainment package that we all admired. One evening we were all gathered around the kitchen table back in the day, I told the kids to bow their heads to pray. Then Bethany screamed, she had sunk her forehead into the hot split pea soup!
As for Mike I’ve observed how he has had the courage to stepped up to the challenges of going off to the war in Iraq and then returning home only to be called up the second time and having to leave his new bride to answer the call of the military. Mike has shown to be dependable and honorable as he has had to juggle his responsibilities as a husband, of military, college and his job.
As onlookers we tend to make assessments of the bride and groom and wonder if they will make it through a year or two or for a life time. From the beginning we all knew that Mike and Bethany had what it took to start down the path of marriage. It was something we always knew back when Bethany was in high school that she had met her future husband. She was locked on to the idea of marrying Mike from the beginning of the relationship. As parents we could not help but have the confidence and support that sometimes fails to occur between parents and children.
As I have grown older I have developed awareness that Marriage is a daily commitment to your partner. Neither one of you are alike because men and women are truly wired differently. As an example, a man and his wife could have a disagreement about some small but important issue and the man can go to bed and sleep well and be determined to talk about it in the morning whereas a woman will think about it all night long. Women are about relationships where as men tend to be task oriented and getting the jobs done.
I have found that in marriage you must continue to have mutual respect for each other and at the same time a since of humor.
My hope is that Mike and Bethany will continue to give and to show your love and dedication towards each other even though you will see that there are no guarantees and marriage is whatever you want it to be. Even though we as individuals tend to be somewhat like sheep I can tell you from what I’ve observed in other marriages it isn’t greener on the other side of the fence when the chips are down. Just like everyone else you must continue to work out your differences and look for ways to mend those broken hearts. There are many things which I could observe about marriage under the magnifying glass of life to compare and to scrutinize what is good or bad for a marriage; however a year from now the same list could change. However one thing I have had to realize is that a home that is focused on God and His word will be able to withstand the unexpected storms of life. If you want stability in a marriage know that God’s word is truth and is stable and doesn’t change but mans words can change just as fast as they have been spoken.
There are many serious economic and political issues that we are faced with today in our nation and we as a society are under a great amount of pressure to hold our families together. My hope for you is that you as a couple will continue maintain a sense of humor in light of the difficulties that you will face in the years to come. My desire is that you will face problems with the knowledge that God cares for you and is always with you no matter what the circumstances may be.
As believers in Christ, my hope is that you will continue to recognize that the scripture is actually the word of God and that it is to be read and consumed daily so that whenever you go through difficult times you can go to God’s word and find the answers to resolve your differences, or to be encouraged, or to deepen your relationship toward each other. Yes it’s been five years but the next five will become more difficult as bigger challenges arise. The question is how you will handle the new challenges that you face.
A year ago I got a phone call from my sister asking me if I would like to go with her to visit my younger brother up in Wisconsin. It was in the evening that we started out and the skies were somewhat overcast, it was freezing cold outside but as we approached Chicago I noticed that a few cars and trucks were stuck along the road. Then the snow began to fall and the intensity of a snow increased to the point where we were in a full blown blizzard, I could not believe my eyes!! Traffic started to slow down to a crawl. Cars started slide off the road and bang into each other and others were stuck in the snow drifts, tractor trailers were jack knifed and down in the gullies and you could see the headlights pointing up into the sky, police cars and wreckers were everywhere trying to help those who were the casualties of the storm.
As my face was pressed against the window, Visibility became so bad that we could barely see the front end of the car let alone the edge of the road. Then the car came to a halt and the headlights behind us came closer to our car my reaction was, “Don’t stop!! Keep going”!!
I was afraid that someone would rear end us or we would go off the road into the deep ditch. Then my sister slowly moved the car on and I would instruct her to go left, go right, or to slow down, and speed up until finally we made it through. As I looked back on that day it reminded me of what married couples go through and how there are many casualties of marriage during the storms of life. It is inevitable that you will face the storms of life even though you start out with good intentions. I can tell you from experience that with God’s word and your perseverance and determination you can make it through the storms of life without giving up or becoming a casualty along the way.

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