Recently, my husband and I celebrated 50 years of marriage! Marriage is a good idea. Marriage is Gods idea.
The best decision I made was marrying Jonas Beiler at nineteen years old. You may wonder how a teenager could even begin to know that getting married was a good choice.
I grew up in an Amish community where it was common for most to marry in their late teens and early twenties.
My mom and dad had modeled marriage and also taught me how to be a wife, mother, and homemaker. I never thought I was too young or that I missed out on anything life had to offer.
I had no college debt and no career to chase when we got married. All I wanted was to be a wife and have my very own family.
As is the custom of the Amish community dating is not allowed until the age of sixteen. I didn’t waste any time because I began dating Jonas in April of 1965, just three months after my 16th birthday.
We were married three and a half years later. On our wedding day, I was young, innocent, and knew nothing about the hardships of marriage. I thought we would live happily ever after. We promised in our vows to stay committed for better or for worse.
On my wedding day, I believed “better” and never thought about “worse.” My happiness was complete as we became husband and wife.
Within three years we had our first baby girl, followed by two more. I was living my dream as a wife and mother.
Fast forward to 50 years later. I cannot comprehend how that much time has passed so quickly and how much life we’ve experienced!
I’ve prayed, journaled, and written two books about my life that chronicles many of our successes and struggles as a married couple.
We’ve experienced the lows and highs, the sad and happy, the struggles and victories, the losses and gains, and times we were so distant from each other emotionally I thought we would not survive.
I remember times when I knew I did not want to grow old with Jonas. I couldn’t bear the thought of being stuck in a marriage I didn’t want to be in.
Those were dark and troubling years brought about through the disappointment of losing our second daughter, Angela.
But we survived and today I love Jonas in a way that far exceeds my expectations. As Jonas and I talked about our 50 years together as a couple we asked the question, “What was the key to staying married?”
His answer was simple. He was committed to marriage and worked hard to maintain it. He wasn’t willing to give up. He wanted our children to have parents and grandparents that loved each other.
My answer to what kept us together was different than his.
I stayed in our marriage out of sheer determination. I use the word determination because at one point I was faced with the choice to leave Jonas and my family because of my own failure to be faithful. When I decided to stay, it took sheer determination.
I began counting the cost and realized the price of leaving was too high. I remember telling Jonas that if he would still have me I was willing to stay and make our marriage work again.
He told me that he put too much time, energy, hard work, and prayer into our family to give up.
We were living out our vows, for better or worse.
We began the hard work of commitment and determination. This combination along with marriage counseling, lots of prayers together and unconditional love became our journey toward a completely restored marriage.
Our marriage is a miracle because we defied the odds. 95% of couples who lose their child as a baby or toddler end up in a divorce.
But our marriage is also a success because we worked tirelessly to become “one” again.
We experienced the miracle and success by helping each other, and depending on God when we were at the end of ourselves.
Jonas is the reason I had the determination to make it work because he loved me in a way I had never experienced from any other human being.
I believe we are married 50 years because Jonas loved me when I hated myself. He loved me when I felt unlovable, unchangeable and unforgivable.
The kind of love every marriage needs to survive is not flimsy, fickle or fault finding.
True love will love when everything falls apart.
True love will love when there is no loving response.
True love will love without expecting anything in return.
True love will love when everything says to give up.
True love remains a mystery to me. I have been the recipient of that kind of love and I’m still amazed by that.
Jonas will tell you that it takes two to work together to make a marriage successful. It’s what both of us did and that’s why we’re still one.
I am eternally grateful.
Marriage is a good idea.
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