“This is Us” is a new, wildly-popular television series featuring the Pearson family — parents Jack and Rebecca along with their three children, Kevin, Kate and Randall. Kevin and Kate are the two surviving members of a set of triplets born to Jack and Rebecca. The third child died during childbirth, but that very same day an African American baby was left at the fire station and brought to the same hospital where Rebecca had just given birth. Jack and Rebecca felt that they were supposed to have three children, so they adopted and brought home the black baby along with the other two. The series goes back and forth between the stories of the children growing up and the children as the adults they have become. An overarching theme is the profound influence parents have on their children through their words and actions, both intentional and unintentional.
We, along with millions of viewers, have watched the first two seasons of “This is Us” with keen interest. The writing is incredible. The actors are well-chosen. And the story lines are gripping and believable. For us, it is also compelling that this is another family of 5 named “THE PEARSONS.” How random is that??
With that idea in mind, coupled with the fact that Steve and I celebrated our 46th wedding anniversary last week, I thought it might be interesting to share just a bit about what a Steve and Connie style of marriage looks like from the inside.
Six years ago, on the occasion of our 40th anniversary, I attempted to share our love story in this post on a past blog. Feel free to stop and read it before continuing, especially if you’d like to see some wedding photos from 1971.
I have REALLY been reminded recently of how vital it is for the two of us to find ways to laugh, love and enjoy every day we are given to be together. So many of our friends’ marriages have been cut short because of cancer, heart attacks, accidents or divorce. We are not guaranteed another moment. I have teased the children about what Momma does and does NOT want when it comes to a 50th anniversary celebration, but, in truth, we have no way of knowing whether we’ll be given the privilege of reaching that milestone. But, for now, what factors have contributed to the longevity and utter satisfaction of our marriage? What are the characteristics of “This is Us — Steve and Connie Pearson-style?” I thought of 4 words and being the piano teacher I am, they just happen to spell F-A-C-E, just like the space notes of the treble clef. And, by the way, these are not necessarily in order of importance.
F = FAITH. That’s been our core from the beginning. Our deep and abiding faith in God the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. It has helped tremendously that we were both brought up in the same Southern Baptist denomination with our shared belief in the inerrancy of the Bible. Prayer and the wisdom found in God’s Word have given us our marching orders and the answers we needed for running a business, following our careers, parenting our children and relating to friends and other family members.
A = ADVENTURE. No one can accuse us of being boring. We took the kids camping a lot when they were young, then later we made trips with them to Sanibel Island, FL, Minnesota, Illinois, Washington, D.C., Hawaii, and (they would add) Helen, GA. Ha! Just to name a few places. We wanted them to know there was a great big world out there. Then, Steve and I started going on mission trips and visited Brazil, Guatemala, South Korea, Kenya, and Venezuela before selling everything and moving to Ecuador for 4 years. Now, in my role as a travel writer, we are continuing to travel the country learning about every region’s nuances and specialties. Trips to Ohio, Kentucky, South Carolina, Alaska and Ecuador are already on the calendar for 2017. As long as our health holds out, we hope to keep seeing the world for another 10 years. Woohoo!
C = COMMITMENT. We have had opportunities to flesh out our commitment to each other in recent months. Steve has stood right beside me as I helped with the care of my dad in his final months, and he took meticulous care of me during a recent surgery. I hope I’ve shown him the same level of commitment as he has had success with his writing, taken on roles in our church and in our neighborhood and gone back to work part-time. We try so hard to provide stability and balance for each other.
E = EXCLUSIVITY. COMMITMENT AND EXCLUSIVITY really go hand in hand. When we said “I Do” shortly after 8 p.m. on March 20, 1971, we fully committed our hearts to each other. There has been NO ROOM and no place for any flirting or other romantic relationship in our marriage. I’m talking here about other women for Steve or men for me. With God’s help, there has been an impenetrable fort around our marriage giving no chance for temptation and infidelity to enter. Candidly, let me add that I think one factor in particular contributes to our impenetrable fort. We absolutely prefer each other’s company to that of anyone else. We laugh a lot. We hug a lot. And when we’ve been apart for a few hours, we can’t wait to share what happened when we’re back together. Steve Pearson is God’s tremendous gift to me, and I love the “US” that we are.
Here are a few of my favorite verses on marriage in the Bible:
Proverbs 5:18-19 (Contemporary English Version) — “Be happy with the wife you married when you were young. She is beautiful and graceful, just like a deer; you should be attracted to her and stay deeply in love.”
Proverbs 18:22 “He who finds a wife finds what is good and receives favor from the LORD.” I believe this is equally true for finding a husband.
Ephesians 5:22-33 “22 Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord. 23 For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. 24 Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything. 25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her 26 to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, 27and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. 28 In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. 29 After all, no one ever hated their own body, but they feed and care for their body, just as Christ does the church— 30 for we are members of his body. 31 “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.” 32 This is a profound mystery—but I am talking about Christ and the church. 33 However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.”