I like Fridays around these parts. We usually do something fun and exciting and call it a Top 5 Friday. Well, I’m gonna do that today too. But today is extra special.

Now, I’ve never been married. But that ain’t for a lack of tryin’. [Can I get an amen from my single sistas out there?] I’m not worried about it. I look forward to the day when I’m a Mrs., but until then, Ms. will do just fine.

So even though I don’t KNOW personally, I think it takes a lot of courage to walk down the aisle.

I think it takes even more courage to live the things you say down there once the dress is packed away and the bills are due and two years later baby Annie comes along and she is darlin’ but she is loud.

Today is my parents’ 33rd anniversary. I can’t even begin to tell you how much I like my parents. I love them, sure, but I actually totally like them too. I mean, we all have our teen angst years when the road with the ol’ parentals gets a little rocky, but luckily, we’re past that. [Especially since I haven’t been a teen in approximately 11 years.] And now, I’m fairly convinced they are cool.

And apparently, Mom thinks Dad is cool and Dad thinks Mom is cool.

I’ve really been pondering this, thinking about the things I’ve observed in my parents’ relationship that I will want to cultivate in my own marriage. And though nobody is perfect, I think I’ve found five areas of courage that have helped them last this long.

[With the hugest caveat that I AM NOT MARRIED and this is only my observations of what has appeared to work in this one Godly marriage. Now that we are all prefaced….]

 

TOP 5 KEYS TO AN AWESOME MARRIAGE as displayed by my Mom and Dad.

 

1. Courageous Commitment …. Mom told me a long time ago that when she and Dad decided to get married, they decided on forever. And even though it hasn’t always been easy or fun I am sure, they’ve stuck it out. That takes guts.

2. Courageous Love …. I try pretty hard to hide my mistakes so that people will love me. When you live with another human 24/7 for 33 years, it probably gets hard to hide your mistakes. And yet they still love each other. Like, so much. Like, it grosses us out sometimes.

3. Courageous Communication …. I remember being about 10 and watching my parents argue. Mom was sitting in a chair and Dad was sitting on the floor, leaned back on his hands. And it was the first time they looked like PEOPLE to me, instead of PARENTS. I remember watching them argue [they didn’t yell, just were talking seriously] and I remember thinking that they must be friends. My parents are good communicators- with us and with each other.

4. Courageous Planning …. I don’t think strong relationships just happen. It takes planning and sacrificing and investing. And that isn’t always easy. One of my Dad’s favorite sayings is “Prior Proper Planning Prevents Poor Performance” – which is why we children were taught to keep at least 1/4 of a tank of gas and cash on us at all times. 🙂 But in marriage, I think this saying is true too. Throughout the Downs family history, Mom and Dad have planned things that are fun for them and for us and that isn’t always cheap or easy, but it is brave to put your family first.

5. Courageous Trust …. In God. In each other. In the institution of marriage. I’ve watched my parents, time and time again, stand together in trust. Even when things looked like they were going to fall apart [and trust me, things have definitely almost fallen apart], they stood together. And trusted.

So today I honor them – for loving us well, for loving God well, and for loving each other well. They are brave people. I want to be like them someday.

. . . . .

What other kinds of courage does marriage require?

[And say a big HAPPY ANNIVERSARY! in the comments, if you wanna.]