I often say that the greatest gift we can ever give to the one who will marry our child is a stable and healthy upbringing. In the early days of ministry, I knew the importance of family’s upbringing through books that I had read. But now decades later, I know how important one’s upbringing is through real life experiences.
I have seen how devastating and debilitating it can be; and I have seen how strengthening and blossoming it can be. I have seen how much pain one can inflict on his spouse because of what he went through in the hands of his parents. And I have seen how much blessings one can be to her spouse because of the rich and fulfilling life she enjoyed while under the love and care of her parents.
Having said that, I must also say with sympathy that we never chose our parents—and for that matter, they never chose us, either. So, the conclusion of the matter is how fortunate we are if we were raised by godly and healthy parents who enjoyed a stable and fulfilling marriage. Consider us, blessed, as told by Proverbs 20:7, “The righteous man leads a blameless life; blessed are his children after him.” Our righteous life is the best wedding gift we can give.
But life is not perfect; rarely do two people come into marriage with this kind of wedding gift; some don’t even bring any gifts. In that respect marriage becomes a construction site, where we, with tears and sweat, build our marriage one brick at a time. As aptly put by Gary Thomas in his book, Sacred Marriage, we can, in fact, define marriage by the language of perseverance, “the maintenance of a long-term relationship.” We, who persevere, who keep trying and don’t give up, will, in the end, unite our souls. But it must begin with a righteous life—a life that is right with and blessed by God.