Today would have been my parent’s 64th wedding anniversary. They were married in 1957, on February 16th. My mom and dad knew each other, even though they went to different high schools and lived-in different towns. They hung out at the “lake”. My Dad was one of the famous, “Archer” boys– one of four boys, who were good in every sport, and movie star handsome, although, they had troubled backgrounds. Their parents were divorced, (a rarity at that time), and their mom had remarried an abusive alcoholic.
My mom says that she dated a lot. (She was a pretty, happy, laughing girl—she still is—and boys swarmed around her like bees swarm around honey.) She would tell her beaus that she wanted to have 12 children someday, and my dad was the only one who seemed to think that was a good idea.
My parents were a team, and their mission was to raise godly children. They ended up having a family of six children, 4 girls and 2 boys. I have memories of so many family activities: camping, swimming, sledding, skating, horseback riding, (we had a pony for a while, but no one could ride it without my dad there—as it was a really mean pony.) We had a garden that we all worked in at one point or another, and we all had chores to do around the house. My Dad would check our room cleaning every Saturday morning, and he had pretty high standards.
After Roe vs. Wade, in the early 70’s, my parent’s mission included working to overturn Roe vs. Wade to grant the unborn the Right to Life. My Mom is still actively involved in this mission as was my Dad, until he died.
My parents were industrious, thrifty souls—remodeling the Victorian farmhouse that is still the family home. They made sure the kids who needed braces, had them. My Dad’s job as a State Trooper, paid for all the bills and mortgage. My mom always had a part time job but I remember her being at home when we were little and then when we were all in school, she worked in the schools helping children learn to read. Her job provided wonderful gifts at Christmas and great vacations, and probably a savings for my parents. They worked together to keep a beautiful, clean, organized home.
They were married for 52 years before my Dad died of a stroke. The last 5 years of my Dad’s life, my mom was his caretaker. He had had a major stroke that left him without the ability to talk and use his right arm. His walking was unsteady. My mom took him to all his appointments, and never stopped trying to help him regain his abilities through music therapy and art therapy, and physical therapy. Her older sister, (already a widow), moved in with my parents during this time to help my mom. My Aunt was a nurse and was a great comfort and help to my mom during this time.
My parents were my example of what marriage and family looked like. They were not perfect people, but they were persevering people. They kept going. They kept loving, even when they were angry; they kept forgiving, even when they found it difficult; they kept living, even when it would have been easier to give up. They kept faith with each other, and with God. They pulled together in the yoke that bound them together. They were a team.
My Dad knew from his parents, what it looked like to not keep faith with each other, and he did not want that for himself and his family. Sometimes, a negative example can be motivating.
I share all this because I want you to have hope. Perhaps, you want to give up on your marriage. Perhaps you need some hope. Perhaps you do not believe in marriage at all, having too many examples of bad marriages. My parent’s marriage is a beacon of hope for marriages.
I have been married for 31 years, and I believe the fruit growing in my own marriage is part of the fruit my own parents bore from their marriage. I pray my parent’s marriage encourages you as it has encouraged me. I also pray, my mom is encouraged as she sees the “fruit” of her life. Love you Mom!! xxxooo