Jean and I were married August 24, 1986. We started with a bang—with lots of travel, the thrill of being newlyweds, and the dreams of spending a lifetime together. While I cannot pinpoint with any accuracy the date when we reached rock bottom, the dark clouds moved in sometime during our second year of marriage. I remember that night all too well. I had stepped into the bathroom to brush my teeth as we readied ourselves for bed.
During our Christmas vacation, Jean and I packed the suitcases, planned the route, and piled into the minivan. Anticipation filled the air as the kids were strapped into their car seats like astronauts preparing for liftoff. With the house buttoned up, the mail stopped for a week, and a prayer for safety shared, off we went on a thousand mile journey to Jean’s parents’ home in Los Angeles.
Everything was going smoothly for a couple of hours .
As the clock runs out on 2008, just about everyone is assembling a Top Ten list featuring the most popular movies, CDs, books, restaurants, and news stories of the year. You name it, there seems to be a list for it. I figured it might be fun to put together a list of my Top Ten blog posts of the year, based upon the number of comments they generated. Here’s what I found, with No. 1 being the most popular post of 2008:
One of the six pillars that under gird our work here at Focus on the family is the permanence of marriage. We view marriage as a sacred covenant designed by God, one that serves as the basic building block of human civilization. As such, we believe marriage is God’s idea and it’s intended to be a thriving, lifelong relationship between one man and one woman.
Which is why it’s worth pointing out Newsweek’s cover story, entitled, “The Religious Case for Gay Marriage” (12/15/08).
October 14, 1978 is a date forever etched upon my mind. I was seventeen at the time living in Yucca Valley, California. The Village People had just burst onto the music scene with their hit single “Y.M.C.A.” while the Bee Gees were topping the charts with “Stayin’ Alive.” That, of course, is not why this date stands out in my memory after thirty years.
This particular morning I was relaxing at home watching a major league playoff game on television when a loud racket outside of the window caught my attention.
Back in 1985, when I was still single, I had an interesting experience during a church service. In the middle of his sermon, the pastor stopped preaching, walked right up to me and said, “I have a word from the Lord for you. I believe God has your mate picked out for you, and she’s going to have a heart for the things of God. She’ll be your crown.”
Needless to say, I was a bit taken aback.
In 2006, Alex Kendrick and his brother Stephen, both members of Sherwood Baptist church, wrote and produced Facing the Giants, their second family-friendly independent film. While the production values were on par for a low budget film, viewers were drawn to it’s message of faith and trusting God to do the impossible–both professionally and personally.
Last weekend Alex and Stephen, with the help of a few hundred volunteers from church, returned to the big screen with their third independent film, Fireproof.While Giants tackled winning on the football field, Fireproof addresses those who are struggling to win at their marriage.
Yesterday, California’s Supreme Court ignored the will of the people by handing down a landmark decision overturning the state’s ban on same-sex marriage. The 4-3 decision reverses Proposition 22, which defined marriage as being exclusively between one man and one woman. Keep in mind Prop 22 had been passed in 2000 by an overwhelming margin of Californian voters (61 to 39%).
That wasn’t good enough for these justices.
Dr. Dobson reflected, “In 1863, Abraham Lincoln said in the Gettysburg Address that ours is a government ‘of the people, by the people and for the people.’ Well, not in the state of California, where four imperious and unelected justices have just overridden the will of the voters.”
While New Jersey and Vermont have granted same-sex couples many of the same rights and benefits of traditional marriage, California now joins Massachusetts as the second state to redefine the definition of marriage.
One of my favorite movies is the Princess Bride. At one point in this playful story, Westley, a.k.a. “Farm boy” and the “Dread Pirate Robert” looks the lovely Princess Buttercup in the eye and offers this sobering bit of insight: “Life is pain, Highness. Anyone who says differently is selling something.”
Westley was right. Life on this side of the Garden of Eden is filled with pain. Anybody dealing with a terrible two-year-old knows this. Anybody suffering in a bad relationship knows this.
I wish I had met John and Amelia Rocchio.
The Guinness Book of Records honored the couple as holding the world record for staying married the longest – 83 years. If given the chance to visit with them, I would have asked what they did to fuel the flames of romance for eight decades. Did they go on regular dates? Did they take trips to exotic places? Or, did they incorporate simple pleasures like candle light dinners at home, or hold hands on regular walks through their Rhode Island neighborhood?