Sweet Love

Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Galatians 6:9

It's the year of my grandparents' 50th wedding anniversary. Our entire family is getting together to celebrate their marriage and commitment to one another, but I am working at a summer camp in Georgia. I asked off, but they wouldn't give it to me and I gave in. 

I spend my day hanging out with a bunch of kids who I'll never see again and miss one of the proudest moments in my grandparents' lives. This has become one of my biggest regrets.

I was young, a teenager at the time. My perspective was, "Well, my job won't give me the day off and I don't want to make anyone mad...so..." Now I know I didn't fight hard enough. I was too young to appreciate how hard they'd worked on their sweet love of 50 years. I didn't understand how much people who remain faithful and dedicated to one another need to be honored and celebrated in this world that glorifies momentary passion above genuine commitment.

To be honest, deep down I didn't know if I thought marriage actually worked. My parents had both been married three times, so I didn't have a firsthand picture of marriage lasting. However, I did have the gift of grandparents and aunts and uncles who stuck it out through the good and the bad.

I'm sitting at the kitchen table. My granddaddy is no longer with us, but my grandmother talks about him as if he visits her every night before she goes to bed. He is on her mind as she goes to sleep, so she talks to him as she drifts off to sleep. I don't know if he hears her, but it doesn't matter, they're one now and she needs to talk to him. She needs his presence someway, somehow.

I'm an adult now, so she shares something I've never known about their marriage. There was a time when things weren't hunky dory. There was a "rough patch" as she called it, a time when they both wanted to give in and give up. They almost did, but my uncle wouldn't settle for it. He showed up at their house and dragged them to marriage counseling. She tells me of how he begged and pleaded for them to work hard and wait this thing out.

She tells me this with tears of pain, but also relief in her eyes. They didn't want to fight for each other, for the legacy they'd built, but they did. And now she has over 50 children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. She and my granddaddy didn't give up when the immature passion ran out. They fought for each other and when I remember their marriage, their commitment to one another, I see two people who had a sweet kind of love.

They are the ones who gave us a home after a hard divorce when I was 11. She was home when I rode the bus home from school and encouraged me to "play outside because it was good for me." She also told me not to "play so rough because young men don't like ladies with scarred up legs." They are the ones who took me to church week after week and are the primary reason the message of the gospel reached my soul. 

As my husband and I talked over a meal the other day, I said to him, "You know, I believe so many marriages are failing because people are chasing passion. But passion eventually wears off and we have to let our love transform into a deeper, long lasting love. That's when love becomes sweet."

Clayton and I have been married since 1999. We've had ups and downs. I've learned that our biggest downs have almost created our greatest ups. As my conversation ended with my grandmother that day, her face was beaming because she was so proud of the fruit of her and grandaddy's marriage, but I knew there was deep pain and hurt she had to overcome and forgive to get to that day. 

I don't know your story or your future, but I do know short-term vision often blinds us from making wise choices. So I will pray that you would "guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it," (Proverbs 4:23). I pray you would have a wise and discerning heart when making choices about your sweet love! 

© 2016 by Sharie King.  All rights reserved.