Marital faith and commitment in the early 20th Century surely meant more than today’s marital contracts. That contract, though, the legal agreement to live as God joined them, served my grandparents in ways that stuck with all their descendants.
We later generations haven’t all met their remarkable examples of honoring the gift of a spouse as seriously as they did. Their sheer loveliness, though, battling through all kinds of misery and contention with fearless, raw roped-together insistence is most admirable.
Image by Ingrid Felix Victoria
By John Pearring
For this reason, it depends on faith, so that it may be a gift . . . not to those who only adhere to the law . . .
My grandfathers were quiet men. I mean really, really quiet. I remember them as short, stocky, strong fellas. Their similarities of size, demeanor, and physical strength weren’t all that struck me. They deferred to their wives. More than normal deference, mind you. My grandmothers were forces of nature.
You could say overpowering women were the reason for both of these quiet men. I used to think that. The gift of faith, though, explained as God’s intervention into our very existence in Romans, Chapter 4, awakens a different thought. A more true sense of the strangely demure grandfathers and dramatic, expressive grandmothers of mine.
These four men and women loved each other because God introduced them, nurtured them, and remained with them until their dying breaths. I’m not exaggerating. They bought into a stick-to-it philosophy and practice of marriage that went well beyond natural, legal expectations.
Many times they would express various measures of dissatisfaction with God’s insistence that their given spouses was the best God could do. Verbally that came with shocking levels of vitriol from the women, but I sat many times in automobiles with both of my grandpas as they fumed about something their wives had said. One chewed gum and the other chewed on a cigar. Both chewed ferociously. They gripped their steering wheels with the clench of men wondering if God was fully aware of what he’d done to them.
They eventually, and always, returned home. Forgiving hugs and reconciliation weren’t available to grandchildren, but their lives together were never in question.
Such similar personalities and attributes were not accidental. Ultimately faithful to each other, amidst both difficulties and delights, my grandparents believed the gifts of each other was a divine thing. They accepted the gifts of their marriage because God knew more than they did.
Faith and commitment in the early 20th Century surely meant more than today’s marital contracts. That contract, though, the legal agreement to live as God joined them, served them in ways that have stuck with all their descendants. We later generations haven’t all met their examples of honoring our gift of a spouse as seriously as they did. The sheer loveliness of battling through all kinds of misery and contention with fearless, raw roped-together insistence is most admirable.
It’s also a fervent witness of how everything God does needs our constant attention. Laws aren’t going to make us perfect, and keep an even keel in life, business, marriages, family, and national sanity. God asks for faithfulness to him and steady returns to the joyful/miserable mix of life’s experiences. God is our map, our comforter, and the one who keeps us hand-in-hand and arm-in-arm.
We don’t have to be perfect, just faithful.