Jesus celebrated weddings with his friends, as we are reminded at marriage ceremonies. Yet he never married, never had children, never saw his grandchildren grow up. We assume that he was part of an extended family of brothers and sisters, that his home life was normal, at least until Joseph died (he is absent from the story of Jesus' adulthood).
Families are the safety net and the pressure cooker in which character is formed. We had dinner with my brother last night, talking about families. He's sells homes, so has a front-row seat at the interactions of blended, scrambled, and occasionally whole, families during times of stress and negotiation.
"Our family is like (pause) ...maybe one in fifty," both he and his fiance said. When I pressed them on what they thought was different in other families from our own, they didn't hesitate:
- families don't eat supper together
- everyone goes their own direction and does their own thing
- siblings act like strangers coexisting in a house
- it's rare to have one mother and one father
- few families get along, where there's not at least some tension and competition between siblings.
- some siblings haven't talked to each other or their parents for years.
They and our newlyweds can learn from people like the anniversary couple. Over fifty years, they, their children, and grandchildren have borne good times and hard times. Faithfully, carefully, they have tended and nurtured their own family as well as many friendships. They'd be the first to say marriage is very hard work, that they're still imperfect spouses and parents. But they are still in love and have build on a foundation of trust. Because of their persistence, we all look forward to celebrating with them. Those of us at the party will congratulate them: "Well done, good and faithful lovers! Your relationship is a good model for us."
Turning to my own husband, I affirm, "Life together gets better and better."