Wow! After Mom died, I found a Loveman’s box in the bottom of her cedar
chest. (In Chattanooga, Loveman’s was an exclusive store.) Mom wrapped contents in tissue, and I was thrilled so see what she valued so much. As I eased
back the crinkly paper, Mom’s wedding dress lay on the top. A fancy white
nightgown along with an elegant slip, lacy panties, and matching bra lay underneath. What a treasure. What care she took to fold each just right so it
would fit. Obviously these items held a special place in her heart.
Like those wedding clothes, Mom and Dad’s relationship was
special. Dad adored mother, and she felt the same. They often embraced and
kissed in our presence. At Mom’s funeral, the pastor described my parents as
peanut butter and jelly. You could hardly think of one without the other. They
enjoyed being together and found more in common as they aged. When Mama died,
they had been married almost fifty-six years.
Not that they didn’t have rough spots. Once when mom came
home from the grocery store, a large box of laundry detergent fell out of the
passenger seat and hit the accelerator. She couldn’t stop the car, which
whammed into the garage door. The accident left Dad’s brand new car with a huge
dent and did a lot of damage to the house too. I found her weeping
in the kitchen worried about what my father would say. Dad didn’t like the
damage, but he didn’t react with anger like she expected. I remember him
reasoning with her about preventing such issues in the future.
And I recall when Mom had allergy tests and discovered she
could no longer eat foods she loved. She cried. Dad took us aside and told us
to treat her with gentleness since she had a lot on her mind. That wasn’t
unusual. He often admonished us to look out for her when she felt down.
After watching them for a lifetime, I understand their secret.
They treasured one another “as fellow heirs of the grace of life.” So when
problems come along—and they will—treasure your spouse. Think of that other
person as fine china. You don’t bang your china about. Instead you wash it by
hand with a delicate touch. If you must move, you spend extra time packing each
piece so it won’t break. Just like china, your spouse is special, fragile. Attack
the problem while treating your spouse with love and respect. Nurture that
love, and it will last.