Love Never Gives Up
I recently had the opportunity to attend a Mass and reception for a couple who were celebrating their 70th wedding anniversary! I found this quite remarkable and rare. God has granted them all these years together; decent health at this point in their lives; the joy of raising seven children; and now, seeing those children raise their children.
I know this couple personally because, for a while, our families lived on the same street. Their first daughter and I were classmates, and I spent time at their home while growing up. But what I remember of the husband was the kindness he showed one summer to a little girl who was in a car accident the day after school ended. The result was a badly broken leg that put her in a heavy cast and kept her on her back until it was nearly time for the next school year to begin.
But instead of recovering alone, away from other kids, he would come and take her up like she was a feather and take her to his house so she could be around the other kids. His kindness for that summer will never be forgotten because I was that little girl.
His wife eventually became the librarian in town. I had my own children by then, and we loved going to the library. She always made it special for us by greeting us with her beautiful smile, remembering what books we liked to read and giving us all the time we needed. It was obvious she had been called to a position that made her so happy.
These are my memories of that couple; I can’t imagine the long list of memories they and their children must have after 70 years!
If we are fortunate, we find at least one person in our lives who knows our flaws and loves us anyway. When we are in their presence, we don’t have to put on a good face if we are hurting or pretend that we have it all together. We can relax, breathe and just love one another.
These people reveal the face of God to us every day. I know this couple experienced both good and bad times, trials and tribulations; but somehow, with God’s help, they managed to work all things out. He speaks lovingly of her in saying they lived on a tight budget with seven children, but she always managed to stretch things and serve delicious meals to them. He looks at her with a special reverence and appreciation.
She supported him in each thing he did and knew she could trust him to take care of her and their children. Truly, the love of God shines through them when one sees what they have accomplished.
In the beginning as a young couple, I’m sure they considered one another perfect, as we all do in those first years of marriage. Then reality sets in, and the real test of love begins.
Marriage vows challenge us to work through differences. They remind us that no matter what threatens to divide or conquer us, we must give our best efforts to hang in there together – loving, honoring and obeying each other. We can’t do that alone, however. The super glue that holds us together when everything threatens to push us apart is the God before whom we made our marriage vows. He can transform us to become more like him. And in that oneness, we become, as Ecclesiastes 4:12 says, “a cord of three strands,” which is not easily broken.
Thank you, Faye and Charlie, for your wonderful example of what marriage should be, as well as to the many other couples who follow their examples. I pray each day that my husband and I are as blessed in striving to make our marriage what God has asked us to be to one another. “Love never gives up; and its faith, hope and patience never fail” (1 Corinthians 13:7).