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julie portrait3BW[From Julie]Recently Noel and I were talking to a mentor of ours about big changes in our family and wondering if our family and marriage was up to the challenge.  She looked at us and said our marriage can take it, she wasn’t worried about us at all.  That was encouraging news.  I’m so grateful for the marriage we have.  I know it is only possible by the grace of God and tons of prayers offered on our behalf.  We each have come so far since our early years together.  We owe everything we have to God and the people He put in our lives to guide us along the way.  I think it’s good to know how you got to where you are and who you have to thank for that.  When you think about how others positively affected you than you have a starting point to know how you can help those around you now.  I wanted to take a minute to talk about a few of my ‘guides’ in the hope that it will help all of you to think about those who influenced you.

Of course my parents were my primary example growing up.  I was blessed to have a wonderful example of Godly marriage.  From a young age I knew that my parents were deeply committed to each other and that they would always love each other.  There was just something rock solid about their relationship.  It never occurred to me to wonder about their love and commitment to other.  My dad is an exceptional husband and my mom was “his bride.”  He called her that occasionally…along with a few other gems like ‘the old cripple’.  I wouldn’t advise that by the way but my mom seemed to just take it in stride.  My mom told me once that I should try to find a man like my dad.  I watched my dad take care of mom and love her right to the day that she left this earth.  We have since welcomed our step mom into our family and we get to see dad love on her just as he did my mom.  He is a wonderful example of a man who takes his God given role of husband seriously.  Those are some pretty big shoes to fill as the son in law of my dad but Noel does it great.  My brother in law is pretty awesome too.  🙂

Another of our mentors is the man who married us and his wife.  Steve was ministering at Tintern while Noel was growing up in that church family.  Both he and Phyllis were wonderful examples of Christian marriage.  When Noel and I got engaged Steve did our per-marital counseling.  I remember one session specifically where Steve asked us to prioritize our roles in marriage.  I had listed wife above parent and Noel had those two roles reversed.  Noel and I talked about this for awhile and couldn’t appreciate each others point of view.  Steve listened to us both and then said to Noel that the best way to be a good father is to love the mother of your children well.   The marriage has to be the first priority or everyone involved suffers.  Noel listened to Steve and really took that message to heart.  I don’t know if Steve even knows what an impact that had on us.  That was one of those conversations that changes the course of your life.  Instead of being in competition with my kids for my husband’s time and affection we are bonded together to give our kids the best family life that we can provide by loving each other well.  They see Noel providing and caring and encouraging me.  They know that they are loved deeply by parents who love each other above all others.

We have been blessed with some wonderful friends who’s marriages are about as old as ours and have been an encouragement to us.  A few of these friends have done guest posts for us and Noel and I really value their thoughts.  It’s often not even their words but their example that has been the most beneficial.  Watching another couple navigate the years of small children while loving each other well has been a great encouragement along the way.  Just to know that others are dealing with the same frustrations and having the same arguments and still have an intact marriage is a blessing.  Friends are wonderful.  Pick positive and encouraging ones.

I hope that this little walk through my memories has been helpful.  We have been so blessed with so many terrific people and I hope you have too.

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