Thirty three years ago today, a 22-year-old woman named Ruth Rains married a 21-year-old man named Michael Crouch.
Those people are my parents. Today is their 33rd anniversary.
Recently, I picked up a book to read entitled, “The Power of Home: Taking Charge of Your Faith and Your Family” (by Ted Cunningham).
As I began reading the first chapter, it began to move me deeply. The opening chapter spends a lot of time discussing the family trends of the 21st century. Most of which are not positive. Trends like the kid-centered home, prolonged adolescence, delayed marriage, and greying divorce (divorcing after the age of 50).
At 25 years old, I’m thrilled to say that none of those are the least bit of my worries right now.
One thing in particular that really stood out to me in the first chapter was this passage:
“Early in the morning when my son was eight years old, we listened to one of my favorite pastors from California, Greg Laurie. He preached from a series called ‘Happily Ever After.’ The message fit perfectly with what we believe about commitment in marriage and leaving a legacy and inheritance to your children. I leaned over to Carson and said, ‘Carson, I just want you to know something. I plan on leaving you a little something when I die. I just want you to know that I’m giving all of it to your mom. More than money, I’m leaving you the legacy of a mom and dad who loved each other and enjoyed life together. You’ll appreciate that way more than money.'”
This quote registered deep into my heart. Especially the end: “You’ll appreciate that way more than money.”
I began to reflect on my parents’ relationship. I began to reflect on how much I appreciate them and the upbringing the provided for me, but most importantly, their love for one another.
I realized that more than providing for me, more than a nice house to grow up in, more than my mom and dad supporting me in attendance at anything I was a part of – baseball games, soccer games, music performances, and even now when I preach – the thing I appreciate most about them is their love for one another. The greatest gift my parents have given me is a great marriage.
A new unfortunate trend today, as mentioned above, is greying divorce – divorce after the age of 50, after the kids move out. Never once have I worried that when my brother and I moved out that they would struggle. In fact, they might have even looked forward to it a little bit. They took advantage of the empty nest 3 years ago and spent 10 days in the Florida Keys.
Have they been perfect? Definitely not. Far from it at times. But in those moments, it was their commitment that prevailed. The arguments withered, and their love rose back to the top. There were disagreements. But even more importantly, there were resolutions. They were willing to work things out when they weren’t perfect. Never giving up on one another.
As a youth pastor, one of the things that breaks my heart most is seeing so many students who have not experienced the legacy of family and marriage as I have. I always do my best to paint a positive picture of family and marriage as I can. Hopefully through that, they will be able to see that marriage is a great thing. A Godly thing. A blessed union. It is tough, but it is so worth it. I teach them that it is less about finding a perfect match, and more about the commitment you make. Did you really mean what you said at the altar? Or were you just going through the motions.
So many people have gone through the motions. My parents did not. They meant what they said when they said “I do.” And I am forever grateful for that.
So THANK YOU Mom and Dad for loving each other. Thank you for setting a legacy of strong marriage for me and Jessica, and for our children. Thank you for not just teaching me principles of love and commitment, but modeling them with one another.
Thank you for loving my wife, Jessica. You prepared me for her, and you embraced her when she arrived.
Thank you for being amazing Grandparents. I was only really able to have a strong relationship with one grandparent, but it’s safe to say my children will have 4 amazing grandparents, and even great grandparents!
I know Jasen is a true joy to you, and I trust you completely for his care. Cool thing is, he adores you too. He looks up to you. He will look to you for guidance. And I have no worries in the world of what you might teach him, because I know what you taught me.
So here’s to 33 years. I hope you reflect on some great memories today. And I pray God continues to bless your marriage for many years to come!
I love you Mom and Dad!