This post is an excerpt of an article I wrote in 2008 called “Love that Lasts”. It was published in Lookout Magazine from Standard Publishing. The entire article can be read here.
The article discusses the importance of staying faithful to one’s marital vows. I’m including it here because of the respect I have for Dr. Wes and Mary Gerig and their Christian influence on the lives of so many people. Sadly, Mary Gerig passed away in February 2012. We pray for Dr Wes and his family and friends as they mourn her death.
(excerpt from ‘Love that Lasts’)
Listening to the words of Christian couples who have been married for many years can help the rest of us understand the importance of this sacred union and learn to implement this reverence in our own marriages.
Dr. Wes and Mary Gerig from Fort Wayne, Indiana were married in 1952. He has taught Bible courses at Taylor University-Fort Wayne for 51 years.
It might seem easy being married while living in a Christian atmosphere, but the Gerigs admit they have had challenges during their five and a half decades together.
Raising four children on a professor’s salary was not easy. Wes often earned extra income by filling in for area ministers who had to be away from their pulpits on Sundays. To create a regular routine for the children, Mary stayed home and took them to the same church each Sunday.
During the week when the whole family was together, Wes and Mary involved the children in family devotions each morning after breakfast. “It was brief because everyone had to leave to go places,” says Wes, “but we read from a children’s Bible and prayed together as a family.” Today the kids are grown and have their own families, and Mary says they still call to ask for prayer.
The Gerigs advise couples who come for premarital counseling to consider the value of having similar backgrounds. “We both came from mission-minded families and that helped us believe the same about tithing and serving,” says Mary. Wes’ father had been a minister and Mary had grown up on a mission field in Peru, South America.
Another similarity the couple shared was a love for travel. After the children were older, Mary accompanied Wes when he was asked to preach at churches around the world in countries like Israel, Haiti, Jamaica, Ecuador, Philippines, Taiwan, and the Dominican Republic. The Gerigs have also made several trips to Japan and Russia where two of their children serve with their families as missionaries.
The important thing, they say, is to have fun together and respect each other’s differences. “We consider ourselves a team,” says Wes. “God is the central part of our marriage. We live by the Bible and its principles and encourage our children and grandkids to do the same.”
My husband John and I have been married 31 great years. We’ve had some hard times, but divorce was never an option. We are each other’s best friend and will continue to stay together until the Lord calls us home.
Tell me about your marriage. What makes it special?