We Are What We Do — SheLoves








I’m over at SheLoves today, with a small story celebrating how well my parents did marriage. You can begin the piece here and then just click here to read the rest . . . .

All my life, my parents lived out what it means to be married well. Each of them came from homes that were dysfunctional in different ways and they worked hard to create a life that made space for one another, and for each of their three children. They provided room to grow and flourish, to laugh and cry, to ask questions and to live without finding all the answers, a space in which to live out the faith that brought them together and kept them together.

They were, however, very different people. My mother was (and is, even in her increasing confusion) highly social, quick to speak, and emotionally more volatile. Dad was quiet, almost to the point of shyness, very slow to speak and he usually kept his emotions to himself So, of course, they adored each other! And they brought out the best in one another, too. Most of the time.

No marriage is perfect and theirs certainly was not. But they worked at it, with a deep sense of commitment and a daily decision to hang in there, even when things got difficult. I will be forever grateful that theirs was the home into which I was born and that theirs was the marriage I got to see up-close-and-personal during the twenty years I lived with them.

I don’t use words like ‘devotion’ very often. Something about it feels old-fashioned, maybe? But as I think back on their 63 years together, that is the word that rises to the top: they were devoted to one another. In many ways, I think they saved one another. I know my father felt that way about my mom’s vivacity, her beautiful laugh and her sharp sense of humor. And my mother was astounded by dad’s deep intelligence, his musical skills and his genuine kindness. Somehow, they filled the holes in one another’s personality and together, they built something beautiful.

My father has been gone for almost ten years now, and when she remembers that she was married, my mother misses him very much. In fact, I would say that she never quite got over his death.

The last three years of dad’s life were difficult, and as he spiraled downhill from Parkinson’s disease and chronic atherosclerosis, I watched as my mother tenderly cared for him. Yes, she was impatient at times and she was exhausted most of the time. But she completely embraced her role as caregiver, helping dad to bathe, change clothes, eat. It was both painful and beautiful to watch.

They lived about three hours away from us during those years and I drove down as often as I could to visit. Ten days before he died, my father had to be taken to the nursing facility at their retirement community and I stopped by to see him on the way home from a pastor’s conference. If there is one thing making pastoral calls helps to teach you, it is what death looks like. When I walked in that door, I knew he was not long for this earth. . .

Please join the conversation over at SheLoves today . . . 

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  1. Your parents gave you a gift that would give to you your entire life. Not many have such a wonderful heritage. And your marriage continues that gifting…
    Thank you for sharing peeks into the wealth of your past.

  2. Diana, I,too, am forever grateful that I was born into the home with a good marriage. My parents truly loved and respected each other, and that is the greatest gift parents can give to their children.

    • It is an amazing gift, isn’t it? So sorry this went out with the link in place because there’s a little bit more to this one over at SheLoves . . . you can click from here now.

  3. “They saved one another,” you say. Such a simple, four-letter verb, “save,” and yet it captures what happens in a deeply devoted relationship between husband and wife. They preserve each other from harm or loss. I’m thinking of the way my parents supported one another and were the biggest fans of each other. Just like your parents, my mom and dad built something incredibly beautiful and enduring (66 years also). Their example of faith, perseverance, and integrity deeply impacted my life as well as hundreds of others they have known over the years. The legacy now continues for future generations. Praise God!

  4. Beautiful!

    This mirrors my own experience with my precious parents. I am grateful for their example.

    • How blessed we are – several of us – to have had this be our story. Thanks for stopping by, Susan – and please, go on over to SheLoves and read the rest and join the conversation over there, too.

  5. Such a touching story of devotion and what it means to love someone with all your heart. As Susan said above, this so reminds me of my own parents’ journey.
    Blessings, Diana!

    • We are blessed, are we not? Thanks, Martha, for your words of encouragement. And please read the rest of this over at SheLoves.

  6. Cassandra M. Stewart says

    Beautiful tribute to your Mom and Dad’s marriage. How blessed to have such an example of what true married love really is.

    Today is my parents’ anniversary, the first since Mom passed in April. Reading your post gave me sweet peace today. Bless you for sharing this.

    ~ Cassandra from Renaissance Women