The gentle kiss on her forehead.
The strong squeeze of his hand.
Gestures exchanged when no one is looking.
Her crooked laugh following the exaggerated mimic of his contorted face.

Keep on keeping on.
These are the things that make up their marriage.

In marriage, sometimes we just need defer to the science. Occam’s razor is a hypothesis for problem solving explaining that among competing hypotheses, the one with the fewest assumptions should be selected. In short, the simplest answer is most likely the best answer. There are hundreds of books that will walk you through marriage, or how to save your marriage, or how to know the love languages of marriage. But sometimes, the easiest answer is always the best answer. Keep at it.

Over copious amounts of pasta, bruschetta, and osso bucco, we celebrated the life, love, and legacy of my parent’s marriage. They have been married for longer than the period of time they were single, produced five children, and raised a church, but the most notable achievement has been their ability to not give up on each other.

At the dinner table, we went around affirming our parents for almost 40 years of marriage. Before I could even start my words, I broke down and cried as I watched my parents lean into each other, supporting each other’s weight on each shoulder. It was the perfect image for what marriage should be; leaning in, pressing in, supporting the weight of each other with each other.

When my mom had brain cancer, my dad bravely shaved her head, and then his, so they would have matching haircuts. He nursed her for years until she was restored to the fullness of the woman she once was. But it took a toll on him and several years later, he fell into a deep depression. In this eight year span, the pendulum of commitment and covenant swung wide, cutting through the issues of the heart.

But at their worst, they fought to be the best for each other.

My first year of marriage was the worst year of my life. I would sob on the phone to my mother and she was sooth me with words far too simple to solve my problems. Just keep working at it. It gets better, she would say. That’s too easy. That’s a quick fix. That’s too simple.

Four years into my marriage, her wisdom is proving Occam’s razor right: Sometimes the simplest answer is the best answer.

I didn’t sob at dinner last night because I was happy. I didn’t cry because I was sad. I wept because love is never simple, but we can make relationships easy by never giving up. If there is no way to leave, you create ways to stay. Both of them admitted that were it not for the saving grace of Jesus, their relationship would’ve ended a long time ago. And though I want to give credit to divine grace, I also want to honor my parents for teaching me and so many others that marriage is a vow for better or worse, sicker or poorer, happy or sad, full or empty. This is love.

Love [mom] is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love [dad] does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love [mom + dad] never fails. 1 Corinthians 13:4-8

Happy anniversary to the people who constantly make marriage a science. Keep it simple and you’ll always be right.

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