I’m becoming quite addicted to the Sturgis Journal’s “Marriage Matters” column. In it, authors James and Audor Burg share very intimate and heartwarming details of their own long marriage and give readers like me some real food for thought on what makes a happy marriage stay that way.
In their latest post, “Snapshots in Time“, they very gently and warmly explain how the pictures of their children which line their walls also provide pictures of their marriage at different stages.
It all started when Aurora opened a framed picture and found several other, older pictures, most of them studio portraits.
She was putting in a recent portrait of their newest baby and found several other portraits of their older children that provided an interesting contrast and told an interesting tale.
She was surprised to see not only our children, but also bits of who we were reflected in those studio pictures of our children, with their outfits carefully coordinated to match the others in color and style. By contrast, this photo of Paul is so different: it is a candid shot of him, sitting on a blanket, playing with his toys. Unlike the images of his siblings, he is wearing the romper of the day rather than a specially-chosen outfit; behind him is the ordinary background of the cluttered living room rather than a fancy backdrop; and the toys in the image are truly his and not merely studio props.”
Looking at how much their parenting style had changed, the couple also realizes that marriage and child-rearing have something in common; both make us very conscious of the passage of time and both beg us to enjoy each moment and each stage as it comes.
Raising children is much like being married, in terms of the joy inherent in sharing the adventure and journey of life.”
As we look at the portraits of our families and our children, we are also looking at the various stages of our marriages.
We’re picture-taking, picture-hanging fools, Ed and I. The stairway and upstairs hall are lined with framed pictures both professional and candid. Most of those pictures bring back very happy memories of raising our kids and building our marriage.
There’s one picture, though, of our son’s middle school graduation. It was taken during a very rough time in our marriage. In the picture, Ed and I aren’t hand in hand, but standing somewhat stiffly, separated by our son, our daughter and even our son’s best friend. That picture used to make me somewhat sad, but now I look at it and think, “We were having a bad time, but we were still together and we loved each other enough to work through it.” I look at those fake smiles that hid stress and distance and I think,
You guys, an awesome, passionate, healthy marriage is right around the corner.”
I appreciate Ed for sticking with me and I know he appreciates me for hanging in there, too. That rough part of our marriage was very hard, but it led to the wonderful marriage we now have.
As the Burg’s say,
In both child-rearing and matrimony, some stages are easier than others, some may be more enjoyable – but all work together, forming, changing, and developing our ‘Us’ and our selves.”
Make more memories. Take more photos. Let them tell the story of your “Us”.