My parents have been married for almost fifty-five years. Growing up, my sisters and I watched as they held hands in the car, gave each other hugs, stole kisses when they thought we weren't looking and even gave the occasional playful swat on the behind much to our horror. They will be seventy-four this fall and they still do all of these things...much to our horror. They were and still are an inspiration to me and my sisters as well as to their eight grandkids.
When I was in seventh grade I started attending the Youth Group at our church. It was there I met the Beckers who I soon began calling Mama and Papa B. Their marriage mirrored that of my parents with their open love and commitment to each other. Unfortunately, Papa B passed away a few years ago but Mama B's love has never faltered reminding me of the love my grandma had for my grandpa who died before I was born.
As I started collecting my thoughts for this post I realized, as a child, I was surrounded by many more solid and inspirational marriages. I didn't grow up on a normal street. My husband calls it the beachside version of Mayberry. We were a very close knit group of neighbors often vacationing together, hosting various parties for the grown ups and holiday parties for all of the families. The parents are still friends to this day and most still live in the same houses. Many of us kids have reconnected on Facebook. We were surrounded by parents who openly showed their love for each other providing us with exceptional role models for our future marriages. We knew then that they weren't perfect and we know that now as we've seen a couple of them break apart.
This Thursday I will be celebrating my twenty-first wedding anniversary. We, too, are able to show our four children a positive marital experience. It's not all happiness and roses. They hear us fight on occasion and see that love is not perfect. But they also see us hold hands in the car, give each other hugs, steal kisses and don't care that they're watching and the occasional playful swat on the behind much to their horror.
I wanted what my parents had. I wanted what Mama and Papa B had. I wanted what my neighborhood friend's parents had.
And I got it.