I just spent 5 glorious days on a sailboat in Southern California with some long-time, dear friends.
The beauty was breathtaking: incredible sunrises and sunsets, gentle breezes, clear turquoise waters. Such tranquility. Such a sweet time of refreshing.
But as I have reflected back on those memorable days, what impacted me most about the experience was not the beauty of God’s creation. It was the beauty of the marriage relationship between my friends, Barb and Pete Wayman.
They’ve been married for 42 years. 42 Years. Nearly half a century.
How many couples do you know who are crazy about each other after 42 years? Well, now you know one.
We’ve been friends for 25 years. Barb gave my daughter her first bath because I was too unsure of myself. They’ve loved me through some very hard seasons of my life. I love their daughters like they’re my own. And I’ve seen the way this couple has treated each other for many years.
Yes, they both are committed Christians. Yes, they both have easy-going, encouraging personalities. But what inspires me most is that they are intentional about keeping their marriage their #1 earthly priority. They are intentional about turning into the prevailing winds of the world and making unorthodox choices to benefit their marriage.
Nothing proved that more than when they took up sailing 10 years ago. They were looking forward to the retirement years, wanting to cultivate shared interests. Golf held no appeal. They loved the idea of living on the water, but thought that oceanfront real estate prices were unreasonable.
After having several delightful sailing experiences with friends, they decided to explore sailing as a way to satisfy their long-term desire to be near the water. Course by course, certification by certification, their skill level, confidence, and love for sailing increased.
But what was really amazing was what happened next. Talk about intentional. They decided to sell their beautiful, large home in Dallas, dramatically downsize, and buy a high-rise condo in the Dallas area and a sailboat, which they keep in L.A..
Pete is still working, using his skills serving as a CFO for an impactful and growing Dallas-based ministry. He just does his work from the sailboat for about 1/3 of the year.
At the season when many people of their age and socio-economic level are either buying bigger or additional homes, Barb and Pete chose to sell their home, downsize, and pursue a shared interest. Talk about intentional. Talk about turning away from the tide. Talk about making a decision for their marriage. Talk about wise.
Maybe you aren’t in a financial position to make the same choices that Barb and Pete did. But whether married or single, here are 7 great lessons from these marriage mentors:
1. In a world where the divorce rate is high, and fewer couples are even choosing to marry, know that great marriages are possible.
2. Coming from a broken home does not destine you to a bad marriage. Both Barb and Pete came from divorced parents.
3. The gravitational pull of life causes many couples to drift apart. Raising children, pursuing careers and developing hobbies can cause marriage relationships to whither. It’s like exercising. If you do nothing, you will atrophy.
4. Put feet to your commitment to your marriage. Be intentional. Find hobbies that you enjoy together. Schedule time to be together. It won’t just happen.
5. Practice kindness to one another. I witnessed that again and again during my time with my friends. Simple, beautiful acts of thoughtfulness.
6. Maintain a rock-solid commitment to the essentials of life and stay open to changing the rest. Their shared faith in Christ is the cornerstone of their marriage. And it shows.
7. Making your marriage your top priority doesn’t exclude other relationships and service. Barb and Pete are devoted parents and grandparents and great friends, and they are always serving others in various ways. Their life is not all about them.
Whether you are married now or hope to be some day, I pray you’ll be inspired by this beautiful example of marriage as God designed it to be.
And thank you, Barb and Pete, for a wonderful week.
I’m pretty sure I was thinking…”Hmmm…there must be a blog post here somewhere.”
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