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Lessons From 35 Years Of Marriage (Courtesy of my Parents.lol)

August 4, 1984 two lives blended into one. I’m sure plenty of couples were married on that very day, but none as important as George and Sandra Drawhorn.

Okay so I’m biased on this – so what, they’re my parents. What did you expect?

 

My parents have been together over half of their lives. They met towards the end of college and pretty much never separated since then. I have learned so much from them – practically and spiritually – and as they return with stories from their 35th wedding anniversary adventure, I’ve been unexpectedly thrown a few things that have caused me to reflect.

 

REFLECTION #1

Romance is intentional.

My parents have been together a total of 41 years and while it was normal for me to see a loving marriage growing up, as I got older and looked outside my house; I saw that it actually wasn’t as common as I thought. ESPECIALLY in other countries. There are some countries where marriage comes first (function/necessity) then the love comes after (luxury). I realized that it wasn’t a ‘natural’ thing to be romantic or do romantic things. It takes work.

From what I’ve learned of him if you give my dad a bucket of popcorn, a pillow, and enough space for him to sprawl out across my mom’s lap….he is SET! He’s very simple and doesn’t really like a lot of flash and flare – though he won’t turn a pair of NBA courtside tickets if you give them to him. Lol, My mom, on the other hand, is big on experiences and travel. She loves discovering new foods and cultures. On paper, they are very different and define romance in slightly different ways. That’s why when they planned their getaway trip to the mountains, it was intentional. It was a blend of low key relaxation (my dad) and exciting excursions (my mom). This trip was intentionally planned so that both of my parents were able to have a romantic time.

REFLECTION #2

Having a reset button IN marriage is okay.

If you’ve been together as long as my parents have, you get used to a certain way of doing things. A certain way he likes his eggs. A certain way she does the clothes. A certain station he likes on tv. A certain way she styles her home. Shoot, even being at the same job can get routine FAST! That’s why it’s good to refresh and reset every now and again. This wedding anniversary trip for my parents was like hitting a symbolic ‘reset button’.

With the responsibility of helping EVERYBODY else and balancing a full-time job or two, it had honestly been a MINUTE since my parents have had time to actually spend TOGETHER.  This trip was a FULL WEEK of the two of them. They had time to rediscover each other and themselves as a couple. Sure I face-timed them at least once a day, but I left it up to THEM to do it. I tried my best to handle things back here in NC so they wouldn’t have to stress or worry about coming to anyone’s rescue. Having this reset to totally download and clear up space to upload new memories and more love was needed. Some marriages grow predictable, and while a sense of stability IS good/necessary for marriage, LIFE can squeeze out all the fun in the process. INSERT RESET BUTTON. This past week I could HEAR the stress melting off and the energy returning with every call. This is something every married couple should be mindful of. If you take a good inventory of the last time you’ve had QUALITY time to spend with your spouse with no interruptions and draw a blank, you should really look into planning something. It doesn’t even have to be expensive. Maybe it’s sending the kids away for a week or using a few vacation days to go road tripping to the city. Go. Do it.

REFLECTION #3

Young married couples have a LOT to learn.

It seems like every day I hear of someone getting married then someone getting a divorce. I can’t help but hear it because I’m now in my 30s. I can’t help but pay attention to it because I’m still unmarried and want to make sure I do this thing right and do it once. I know on paper there are no perfect people but it’s one thing when you actually have to live life out with them. It’s hard enough at times to stay connected to your BLOOD relatives, let alone meld your life with someone with a totally different upbringing and set of values and habits and goals and dreams.

With the social media culture we are in, I think a lot of people who are married fall for the looks and ONLY the looks. Fall for the money, or subconsciously seek perfection. I can include myself in the last loop because this is something I’ve had to work on throughout my latter 20s. I grew up in a semi-traditional household that was God based/nurtured and I expected everyone to basically agree with that type of lifestyle. As I began dating, I found out that this wasn’t the case. Some people aren’t faithful. Some would never think of cheating. Some people believe a man’s only job is to provide financially. Some people want it to be split exactly 50/50. Some people don’t agree with the husband helping with household duties if needed. Some don’t care. Some don’t believe wives should work outside of the house. Some people are fine with the wife working multiple jobs. Some people don’t want kids. Some say no kids is a deal-breaker. Some people drink and curse – a lot – while some don’t believe in it.

You get my point.

I really do HONESTLY believe a lot of people between the ages of 25-40 look at marriage like a fairy tale or hold their potential partners up to the unrealistic standards of social media. If they’re not going about it that way, they end up settling because they feel like they want SOMETHING rather than nothing at all. Some people will marry people to get ahead in a certain social group. Some people will get married to appease family and stop the seemingly unending pressure of “so when ya gonna get married?!”. Some people will get married to the most attractive person they can find despite their personality being trashy or despite getting cheated on because they want pretty kids. I DON’T WANT TO BE ANY OF THOSE PEOPLE. So I look to my parents as a guide. Sometimes it feels hopeless because half of me thinks I’m being picky but the other half of me says “What’s wrong with wanting someone to love me like my dad loves my mom?” Sure it’s very rare these days but a girl can still hope right?!

I’m basically saying WE as 20, 30, 40-year-olds have to REALLY take a good look at how these older couples have been together so long and realize that we won’t always FEEL in love. Things won’t ALWAYS be 50/50. Outside beauty fades with time. A good, lifelong marriage takes time, understanding, communication, and a TON of intentional cultivating!

I’m not sure what my parents will do to celebrate their next milestone together, but my prayer for them is that they will have a fantastic time and that they continue creating memories that give me great things to blog about!

 

Peace & Blessings,

-Joc

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