An example of a lifetime

Nicole Daughhetee

Nicole Daughhetee

Life As I Know It

By Nicole Daughhetee

I’m not sure if I’ve ever told you much about my maternal grandparents. Growing up, they were a big part of my life, and I spent a great deal of time with them — especially after they relocated from Colorado to Bartow, Fla.

If they were still alive, they would be celebrating their 76th wedding anniversary today, May 15. I like to imagine them together in Heaven, loving one another more with each passing day of eternity.

My grandparents met when they were in the third grade and were friends throughout their grammar and junior high school days. In high school they became sweethearts, went to the same college and, after graduating, got married.

In this earthly life they were married for 63 years, and I’m certain that their relationship wasn’t blissful all the time, but it endured until my grandma died in 2000. After she was gone, my grandpa kept her urn on her side of the closet and draped one of her favorite sweaters around the “shoulders” so she wouldn’t be cold.

He died a year later. He was in the early stages of throat cancer, but more than anything else, I will always believe he died of a broken heart. He was never quite himself again after her passing.

When I was a little girl, my grandparents were the only example of marriage I had to study. Even as a child, who didn’t completely understand love and relationships, I always knew — I could always feel that their love for one another was genuine.

My grandpa never left the house without kissing my grandma and telling her he loved her. Summers that I spent with them, I watched them act like a unified front at all times. They were a team — true partners in everything they did: volunteering in their church, yard work, cleaning, banking and traveling.

In my mind they epitomized what a marriage should be — the type of marriage I have always dreamed of being a part of.

As an adult, I can understand that their marriage took work and effort on both their parts. I know that relationships require give and take and that that give and take isn’t always equal. Love, genuine, true, unconditional love, is what evens out what isn’t always an equitable distribution of the give and take.

First and foremost, my grandparents’ marriage had a strong foundation in Christ, which enabled them and their love to grow in ways that was pleasing to the Lord.

This does not mean that they didn’t face struggles, but they faced life’s challenges together.

We live in such a disposable society today. When something doesn’t work, we toss it out and purchase a replacement rather than making the effort to repair what might be broken. This translates into our marriages as well.

When things are difficult, we throw our hands up in the air and walk away. We count hard times and disagreements as irreparable damages that can only be “fixed” by checking them off in the live and learn column, washing our hands and moving on to the next relationship. Very few of us are really dedicated to making our marriages work — through the not so happy or pretty moments — when these are the times we need to dig in the deepest and fight the hardest. And that saddens me terribly.

I’ve been without my grandparents for the last decade; however, I would like to wish them a happy anniversary and thank them for showing me what it takes to make a marriage work. I refuse to give up hope that someday God will put the perfect person in my path so that I might experience a relationship every bit as amazing as the one shared by my grandma and grandpa.