What My Parents Have Taught Me about Marriage

It all started with a product description. As a lark, and because my dad asked me, I wrote up a product description, a “Get your Gary!” sort of thing. But then I started thinking about it. I had written a few pithy lines about Gary’s selling points, but what got me was what I didn’t see: everything else.

In a normal product description and depending on who you’re writing for, you have 25 to 35 words to make your selling point. If anybody knows my Dad, that’s not enough words. I added the big obvious things that his friends and family (his fan club, really), would recognize. Big hugs. Jolly personality. Cuddliness. But there’s so much more that I neglected: service, love, devotion.

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Most importantly, I didn’t point out that Gary Weber is only half of a set. Without Karen Weber, he’s all these good things, but lacks something. Mom could have her own product description. It would describe her love of family, her gentleness, her service.

As I read what I had written about Dad, and what I thought about Mom, I realized that this sweet older couple is something special. And maybe it’s just because they’re my parents, but as an adult child, I’ve been able to see in them what my child eyes never could: a true marriage.

Separately my parents are special, but together they are more than the sum of their parts. The 1 Gary and 1 Karen don’t equally 2. They equal eternity. Infinity.

You see, their idea of fun is baking bread or cookies and taking them to the neighbors, gardening together and sharing the bounty, drawing a community around them of warmth and love. My parents aren’t an island, unless the island is the world and everyone in it is their best friend. My parents didn’t just grow old together, they grew better together, and the center of this world is love toward each other and others.

My parents are totally different people, but in their differences they perfectly complement each other. Together they make the perfect missionary team comprising of both love and vigor, hugs and sweetness.

So although this post is completely about my parents, it’s also not about them at all. It’s about what they have taught me about marriage just through their example:

  • It isn’t about growing old together, it’s about becoming better together.
  • If you grow together, then no matter how different or how similar you are, you’ll complement each other
  • Together you’ll grow into the perfect whole, the true purpose of marriage
  • It’s not just enough to spend a lifetime together, you have to want to spend time together
  • Because you love each other, you’re not just content as a duo: you want to spread that love to others

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