This Friday night, June 29th, my siblings and I and our spouses will gather for a very special occasion. It is our parents’ 60th Wedding Anniversary. Gary Pagh and Betty Ford were married at age 19 at Luck Lutheran Church in Luck, Wisconsin. Their long and happy marriage has been a testimony of love and faithfulness to us all. I can assure you that it has required much more than just good luck!
On a recent Alaskan cruise they won the prize for the couple “on board” who had been married the longest. They were interviewed and asked about the secret to the success of their marriage. Their testimony is simple:
1. Make Jesus the center of your life together.
2. Always put the needs of your spouse ahead of your own.
3. Make your marriage relationship your #1 priority.
Colleen and I have benefited tremendously from this wisdom! We just celebrated our 35th Wedding Anniversary on June 11th and have been passionate about modeling these same priorities for our kids, including our daughter, Sarah, who will be married this August 18th here at Christ Church.
Priority #1 reminds us that God is the source of true love. We have found that our love for one another stays fresh and fulfilling in direct proportion to our love of Jesus and a growing relationship with him.
Priority #2 combats our tendency towards selfishness and self-centeredness. The goal is to love and serve each other every day in dozens of practical ways with the love of Jesus.
Priority #3 counters the tendency for life to pull us apart… even through good things like kids, family, work, hobbies etc. For Colleen and I this has meant making special time for each other even during the busiest days and seasons of life.
I praise God for the testimony of my parents’ long and happy marriage. I thank them for their faithfulness to keep working at it through the “for better and worse” of life. This is the legacy that I want to pass on to my children, grandchildren and generations to come. I encourage you to embrace these same life-giving priorities for your marriage relationship today!