Today Denise and I celebrate our 28th wedding anniversary. When I write “28” it sounds like such a long time ago, but the truth is, our wedding day seems like it was just yesterday. They have been the best 28 years of my life because I’ve been married to the best woman in the world who also happens to be the love of my life (a nice combination).
Earlier this summer a friend who was preparing to officiate her first wedding asked a number of us if we had any marriage advice she could use in her message to the bride and groom. Below is my answer, it’s simple but I believe it’s at the heart of why both Denise and I can happily, thankfully and joyfully celebrate 28 years of marriage today.
“Apart from trust, shared expectations about what life should look like and be like is the most important aspect of a happy and successful marriage. It seems when marriages struggle or don’t make it, much of the time (apart from broken trust) it’s because the two people have different expectations about such things as kids, standard of living, life style issues, or where to live (in the city, in the country or the “burbs”). Many expectations also revolve around roles within a marriage. These need to be worked out as early as possible. When there’s different, unstated, or misunderstood expectations then there’s always missed expectations. When there’s missed expectations disappointment, dismay, a sense of compromise and then bitterness can easily follow. It’s important in a marriage to have a clear understanding about each other’s expectations, a clear plan on how to work out the differences, and then grace as you live out your plan.”
Our parents have blessed my brother, sister, me and our families in many, many ways. These blessings have formed us into the people we’ve become today.
This past weekend Mom and Dad blessed us once again as we celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary. Blessed because they’ve become role models of what a marriage should and can be not just in the short-term but over a long life.
As I thought about their incredible accomplishment – 50 years of marriage – I asked myself a question. What can I learn from my parents and their marriage so Denise and I might one day have the same celebration? As I reflected on the possible answers I came up many things but a few that really stand out.
First, Mom and Dad have loved each other. But it’s more than just love because we know many people who’ve love each other but their marriages haven’t lasted anywhere near 50 years.
More than love Mom and Dad trust each other. Trust is a must in any relationship and it has to be trust that’s been built on consistency of behavior and agreed upon expectations.
They have shared values. Shared values are essential if any relationship has a chance of surviving the crazy world in which we live.
Mom and Dad are just plain committed to each other and to their entire family. This commitment lays the foundation that’s helped them over the years weather the storms of life.
Finally our Mom and Dad have faith in Christ and have lived it out through their marriage and their commitment to their family.
Now you see why the Perry family’s so blessed – to have living role models of what a marriage and family can be and to see the impact it can have for generations to come. It’s a gift of immeasurable value.
For over twenty years Michael Perry has made it his mission to bring young people closer to Christ through his Bible study publications, his capacity as the President and CEO of SpringHill, and his recent book, Experience = Everything. Over the last fifty years, SpringHill has changed over half a million lives—proving that it is more than just camp, or a place, SpringHill is a transformative experience.