In this day and age, I am a minority. Seriously. Yes, I am a (naturally) blonde-haired blue-eyed girl who loves big t-shirts and Nike running shorts just as much as the next college girl. I love going on random Starbucks trips with my friends for a pumpkin spice latte. My last name is “White” for crying out loud. But still yet, I am a minority. Why? Because my parents are still married.
I come from a home that is still intact. My biological mom and my biological dad are the same people I call “mom and dad.” I cannot express how blessed I feel to be able to say that because I know so many others cannot. I’ve always had parents who drove three hours for a high school ball game just to sit in the pouring rain to watch me march with the band. I’ve always had parents who sat down together and listened to me when I had concerns. And I have never experienced a divorce first hand. I am a minority.
My parents have taught me many lessons over the years. However, one of the biggest lessons I learned from them is not something they could have simply told me or disciplined me into understanding. After years of observing, my parents taught me how to love. Yes, this sounds cheesy, but I don’t mean they taught me how to love myself or puppies (though they do love both of those things). My parents taught me how to love another person.
My best friends have been married for nearly 27 years. In that time they have faced a lifetime worth of sorrows and joy-- and stuck together through it all.
One of the things I have found in my parents’ marriage that I hope spills over into my own one day is that they are best friends above all else. They run errands for each other when the other one forgot for the seventh time in a row. They laugh not only with each other, but also at each other (as best friends do). They always take care of each other when they’re sick. They will always be early and late together no matter what (but mostly late). They have uncontrollable giggling/snorting fits together in public places. They say, “Remember when…” at least three times a week. They will defend each other until the end of time. And, most importantly, they will always be there to pick each other back up.
Another lesson I have learned while observing these last 19 years is that to love another person, you must be patient. My parents are a perfect example of what 1 Corinthians tells us love should be. Patient, kind, selfless and unending. No one in the world sees different situations the exact same way you do -- not even your soul mate. I have watched my parents learn more from each other and with each other than any amount of classes or degree ever could. They are always willing to listen and learn-- even after 27 years.
To love another person, you must have Christ in the center of your relationship. No one taught me this lesson better than my folks. Proverbs 16:3 says, “Commit your work to the Lord and your plans will be established.” Essentially, this means that if you give your all to God, He will take care of the rest. I firmly believe that my parents’ marriage is what it is because God is in the middle. My parents are not perfect. They have their misunderstandings, their Monday’s, and get frustrated just like every one else. The waters are not always steady in their corner. The difference is that they always know where to turn.
I can only pray that I find this genuine kind of love one day and that all of these lessons spill into it. There aren’t enough thank you’s in the world to thank you, mom and dad, for truly showing me what real love looks like. But I guess I’ll start with one-- thank you.