The past few of months have seemed like a roller coaster. I don't even know where to begin. I guess I'll just lay out what's on my heart right now...
First of all, you need to know I love my family. All of them, no matter how crazy they are. I am very loyal in that fact. So, my little sister, Kimberly got married back in January to a wonderful man who is a 1st Lieutenant in the U.S. Army. He is a Blackhawk pilot and not long after saying their vows was stationed to Korea for a year, possibly two. South, not North thank goodness! My sister stayed behind until recently. She left yesterday. We all knew the day was coming but it was still a rough day. We are a very close family that loves one another to no end and unconditionally. That's how families should love, right? Needless to say, we will miss her terribly and are counting the days until they are able to come for a visit!
But, she is where she needs to be. With her husband. Supporting him and being the wife God has called her to be. Hopefully they will only be gone for a year. If it's two, then my prayers for safety over them will extend until they are back home. The funny thing is, she's only 21 and seems to know more about marriage than most couples I know who have been married for years. And I do too. We can chalk that up to our parents. Love my parents! They have been the prime example to me and my sisters. Back when I was young, about 7, my parents got divorced. I don't remember much about it, only that me, my mom and older sister Angel lived in a small apartment for a couple of years. And every other weekend my dad had us. That's really my only memory of it, and I'm glad of that. I don't like to dwell on that time of my life. Neither does my mom. I'm a lot like her :)
After years of being divorced, my dad calls my mom one night and tells her he loves her and wants to work things out. That's what I was told, I wasn't on the other end of the conversation ;) So not long after that, we moved to GA and my parents were remarried and me and Angel were the bridesmaids. It was a good day! I do remember that! It wasn't too long after that my parents started having some problems again. Of course, they had made their commitment and were going to stick to it this time! Our family was sticking together! So, my dad did a TON of research on what causes couples to have marital problems and wanted to help others who were being effected by marriage problems. Plus, and I think this was one of the main components, he wanted to help families stay together. I think he saw what it did to me and my sister that he (and my mom too) wanted to keep that from happening to other families. So, they started a marriage ministry.
During this "2nd" marriage, they had my little sister Kimberly. They called her their "celebration child" because she was the product of them getting back together. Kimberly and I are 12 years apart so she wasn't always such a celebration to me, but that's another story! ;) So with her learning, and growing up around parents who's main focus in life is saving marriages, I think she would have picked some stuff up along the way! Of course, I have too. A couple of years ago, my husband and I almost called it quits after two kids and 7 years of marriage. I felt guilty about it knowing what my parents, really our family, stand for. So, we worked on it and are still together today! We made our commitment one beautiful January day 10 years ago and I think now we are more determined than ever to stick to it. I think my sister and her new husband are too. They know the in's and out's of marriage. They know, and have seen that it's not always going to be wonderful. There will be days they will wake up and think "WHY?!?!?!" Like we all do occasionally :) But all in all, we know what's right. We have two wonderful parents that have given us something to model after. The night before they were married, my parents, my husband and I and Rob's parents sat around and we all gave them our "words of wisdom" on what we have learned on our journey's through marriage. Most people don't do that these days. They just assume their kids will be happy and if they have problems then they'll try to help them out then. And if it doesn't work out then... We believe in fixing the problems before they start. And having as much knowledge as possible before you start your marriage together. If only more people would educate their kids about marriage...there would be a lot less divorce!
That marriage ministry still exists today, and my parents are the center of it! I do believe if it weren't for my parents and their heart to help hurting couples, that there would be hundreds of thousands of marriages that would have ended and families torn apart by divorce over the last 15 years. My parents are my heros! I know they're my sister's hero's as well. And those day's when I think "I don't want to be married!" I always think back to my parents and the example they have set for me, Kimberly and Angel. But not only us, for my boys and Kimberly's kids (when they come along:)). And for generations to come. And I know not only our family will reap the benefits. All the other families who have been helped or touched by my parents will also carry it on. At least, that's my hope. I know if we ingrain it into our children the importance of commitment and sticking it out even when it's tough, then they will be so far ahead of the game when they decide to step up to the plate and say their vows. That's how I know Kimberly and Rob will be ok. I know they will have their fights, everybody does. But when the rough times come, and they will come, I know they both have the rock of what they know and the examples that have been laid out to look back on and work through it.
MadamJ is a pen name for a woman who studies marriage relationships. For those of you who need serious marriage help she recomends http://www.marriagehelper.com.