When I saw this video, I was, like most anyone who watched it, moved to tears. What a wonderful display of deep, true, heartfelt – lifelong – love.
It is just overwhelmingly powerful. I think it is one of the most beautiful things I have ever seen.
As I watched it, it made me wonder about this couple – Howard and Laura are their names. About their lives. The years they had together. 73 years of marriage – WOW!!!! That’s such an unbelievably long time…
What was it like? How long did they know each other in total? I mean, were they childhood sweethearts? How did they get through those lonely years, ripped apart by a cold world war?
How many children did they have together? All the memories they must have made…
We all know relationships are very challenging, to say the least. When you have two people trying to meld their lives together, it brings a tremendous butting of heads, twisting and pulling and stretching of wills and personalities. Its not easy. If you’ve been married for five minutes, you know that it is just not easy…
I watched the video again and again, and I wondered, did they always get along? Did they fight often? Did they have scores of joyful moments? Did they have a dark, terrible period in their marriage? A period where they didn’t think they’d make it? Did they ever think of quitting?
I wonder what was their happiest moment? Their deepest regret as husband and wife?
Did she always know he loved her? Did he ever think she failed him? If they were to give advice on marriage, what would they say? How did they handle things like the financial stress that so often affects marriage? How did they work through the pain and sadness of hurt, disappointment and loss that often comes our way in one shape or form?
How did they survive the bad times that invariably hit, and come out, still so in love, all these years later? If you could see into their lives in truth and not as some played out TV reality show – wouldn’t you want to know what it was really like?
Was it just ordinary? Is love like this ever ordinary?
What does this video make you feel? About yourself? Your own life?
For me, I have been married for 23 years. We have had some amazingly good times. We have had some tough, gut-wrenching, trying times. That is part of life. Its part of being married. I know some of the ways I have been a good wife to my husband – and some of the ways I have failed miserably. I know my husband loves me – I know he does things that hurt me sometimes. We have loved each other truly – and we have failed each other terribly, at times. Its what happens when two people try to live as one…
For me, this video gives me hope. I remember when we got married, we chose as one of the Scripture readings for our wedding service, this reading from the Book of Tobit:
The Prayer of Tobias
When Tobias and Sarah were alone behind closed doors, Tobias got up from the bed and said to his wife,
Get up, dear. Let’s pray for the Lord to be merciful and to protect us. Sarah got up so that they could pray together and ask God for his protection. Then Tobias prayed:
God of our ancestors, you are worthy of praise.
May your name be honored forever and ever
by all your creatures in heaven and on earth. You created Adam and gave him his wife Eve
to be his helper and support.
They became the parents of the whole human race.
It is not good for man to live alone.
I will make a suitable helper for him.
Lord, I have chosen Sarah because it is right,
not because I lusted for her.
Please be merciful to us
and grant that we may grow old together.
Tobit 8: 4-7 GNT
This video gives me hope that no matter how many amazing, awesome good times we share and no matter what bad times we face – it IS possible for us to come out strong and grow old together.
We may have to work hard to deal with adversity when it comes, we may have to be strong for each other at times, and we may have to learn and relearn many lessons and things about each other in order to make it through – but this video shows me that love and friendship are more powerful than hardship, trials, failures, mistakes and whatever else life throws at you.
So what can I take from this today? This testament to marriage. This testament to the fact that marriage was meant to last forever – and that it does all the time, contrary to what we read in the news.
I take FRIENDSHIP. These two show that they are friends in a way that underscores daily life and supersedes tough trials. They are friends in the middle, when everyday life is just, well… everyday life.
I take UNDERSTANDING. They must have had a great understanding of each other that gave them strength to overlook and overcome flaws and hurts, and to always know who they each were and that they were committed to each other, despite the rattling of their cage.
I take PATIENCE. They must have had incredible patience over those years. Patience that prevails even when understanding fails.
I take COMMITMENT. There is a glue that holds marriage together and it is a blend of love and commitment. Commitment to a thing even when it looks like the ship is sinking or, even when it seems that the ship is just sailing along with a lot of nothing special to mark its way.
I take FORGIVENESS. They must have had millions of moments where forgiveness was undeniably hard and yet, forgiveness was the only choice to make. Forgiveness that is real, true and lasting – not just words spoken to try to turn the page – but real, deep, heartfelt release that is forever.
I take STANDING BY. They stood by each other in the face of mistakes and hardship and God knows what else… In good times and bad – they had each others’ backs. In the face of her illness – and her imminent passing from this life, there they are, each trying to be strong for the other.
I take LOVE. Oh my gosh, the love… “I love you.”, she said over and over again. “I always was your sweetheart.”, he said. They demonstrate love in the way they look at each other, the tears that stream down his face. The way they smile and laugh easily together, the way he strokes her cheek. They show us a love that we all hope to have…
I don’t believe that anyone has a perfect marriage. I am not sure if such a thing exists. What is a perfect marriage, after all?
I certainly don’t have a perfect marriage. But I hope to build a love and friendship that perfects over the years. I hope to have a love that survives. I hope we have a marriage that is so centered on God and on our friendship and caring for each other that we can each be strong for each other, and when one of us is not strong enough, we can step in and stand by the other and be strong enough for both of us.
I pray we have a marriage that teaches us to strive to understand each other and to step back and sacrifice where sacrifice and compromise are needed, and to step up and stand strong and firm when strength and commitment are what is needed.
I pray we have the ability to be teachable, and to be givers of grace. To recognize our own mistakes when we make them and to be truly sorry and repent of them.
I pray we learn to never, ever take each other for granted, and to value each day who we are and what we have. I pray we never let a day go by that we don’t show each other what we mean to each other.
I pray we learn to talk and to fight with purpose – a purpose to hear and listen and understand so that we can work though and grow through things. I pray we will learn to support each other always, to build each other up and to speak truth to each other, in love, at all times.
I pray we learn to bring out the best in each other – to make each other better people, by being better to one another.
I pray that we always recognize that every single day, our marriage is a work in progress, just as we are works in progress. And that we never stop trying to work on our relationship and fighting for it to be good, better, best.
I pray that we always look ahead at the promise of things to come and leave the past behind, having learned from the good and the bad, and that we always apply those lessons to our todays.
I pray that we have the crazy, good, incredibly amazing blessing of growing old together, so that one day, when the time comes, we will stand by and support each other into the next life, as we have shared and supported each other through this one – together…
The Bible teaches many, many things on marriage. Many incredible truths and lessons and ways to live that, if we incorporate them, will strengthen and bless our marriages beyond measure. Here are some of my favorites:
“When you are angry, do not sin, and be sure to stop being angry before the end of the day. Do not give the devil a way to defeat you.” Ephesians 4: 26-27
“My dear brothers and sisters, always be willing to listen and slow to speak. Do not become angry easily.” James 1: 19
“When you talk, do not say harmful things, but say what people need—words that will help others become stronger. Then what you say will do good to those who listen to you. Do not be bitter or angry or mad. Never shout angrily or say things to hurt others. Never do anything evil. Be kind and loving to each other, and forgive each other just as God forgave you in Christ.” Ephesians 4: 29, 31-32
“Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers a multitude of sins.” 1 Peter 4:8
“Be completely humble and gentle; Be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the spirit through the bond of peace.” Ephesians 4:2-3
“Wives, yield to your husbands, as you do to the Lord, because the husband is the head of the wife, as Christ is the head of the church. And he is the Savior of the body, which is the church. As the church yields to Christ, so you wives should yield to your husbands in everything.
Husbands, love your wives as Christ loved the church and gave himself for it to make it belong to God. Christ used the word to make the church clean by washing it with water. He died so that he could give the church to himself like a bride in all her beauty. He died so that the church could be pure and without fault, with no evil or sin or any other wrong thing in it. In the same way, husbands should love their wives as they love their own bodies. The man who loves his wife loves himself.” Ephesians 5: 22-28
And if I tried I still couldn’t hide my love for you
You oughta know for haven’t I told you so?
A million or more times you went away
And my heart, my heart went with you
I speak your name in my every prayer
And if there’s some other way to prove that I love you
I swear I don’t know how
You’ll never know if you don’t know now
You’ll never know
Vera Lynn, 1943