Two of my best friends from high school were married a year ago today. They’ve been together since either the end of our freshman year of high school, or the beginning of sophomore year, depending on which one you ask. He asked her out at the end of freshman year, but since he went to California for the whole summer every year, she said no until the end of the summer. Either way, it’s been approximately 7 years since then. I told them sophomore year that they’d be getting married. Neither believed me, but I know we’re all glad I was right. I can’t imagine anyone more perfect for someone else than they are for one another. They are so good together. It’s given me something to look up to and wait for since we were kids. Their love is so pure and sweet and simple. I miss seeing their example daily, but am thankful to have it, nonetheless.
Buddy’s and mine is far from simple, thanks to the military, but it’s going to last just as long as their’s because we all have the same mentality when it comes to marriage: there is no out; forever is forever. We all believe that no matter what God throws at us, we’ll make it through it and be stronger for it. The divorce rate in America makes me really, really sad. Obviously there are reasons to divorce (abuse, for example), but I think that the majority of divorces happen because people aren’t willing to put the work in. A relationship is work. At least, it is if it’s a good one. It would be SO much easier for Buddy and I to say “Y’know, you’d have a much easier time if we weren’t married and we weren’t putting up with being separated 290 days a year.” But that’s not what we want, and that’s not what we promised. Our vows were not “Till death do us part… or we get tired of working at it.”
The unfortunate thing is, a lot of America thinks like that. And a lot of younger Americans just aren’t getting married because they think it’s easier that way. That’s not the way it should be. I’m appalled at much of my generation. What happened to values? hard work? family? Maybe it’s because I was raised in a very Southern family (it’s a miracle no one in my family has died of a heart attack yet) and values were instilled in us like crazy. We went to church every Sunday, taught Sunday school, had chores, got spankings, and spent evenings eating supper at the table, not in front of the TV. There was a study recently that said that a child was more likely to be successful if they had at least three other adults in their life besides their parents that acted as trusted adults. I was incredibly blessed to have several pairs of extra parents who helped me when my sister had an asthma attack and my parents were out of town, carted us around to soccer and band, gave me advice on school and boys, and just showed genuine interest in me and my well-being.
I’m not saying you need to be Christian or that families who don’t have dinner together every night are automatically bad families. I do think, though, that there’s something to be said for parents and the community investing time in showing their kids the way they should live and in making sure that they are doing what they need to do to be successful in life, as well as hopefully be examples for what a healthy, functioning marriage or relationship looks like. I was lucky to have so many of those in my life, including a couple who are my age, and I pray that Buddy and I can have the same impact on another child’s life that so many of my surrogate parents did.