Can I say that my marriage is better than my honeymoon was?
Society extols beginnings: first steps, first days of school, first dates, first jobs; but perhaps the end matters most. We plan weddings: purchase fancy clothes, eat extravagant meals, pose for posh photos . . . and, excuse my realism—many of those weddings end in the husband or wife taking the other to court and years later donning another person’s ring.
Should a 40th wedding anniversary party—or 60th or 80th—be a bigger celebration than the wedding day? Bigger, to celebrate an accomplishment?
We’ve seen the bumper stickers on cars: BABY ON BOARD. I read an article in which the author ranted about the importance our society places on babies—as though babies are somehow more precious than older lives. Society says that the grayer and wrinklier a person gets the less significant they become. Should our sentiments not be reversed to match those of this ranter with whom I shamelessly agree? Babies are beautiful creations and gifts—but society places too much importance on their mere existence. Babies are praised not because they’ve contributed, learned, or taught, but because they exist. Should the end of a life not be more important than the beginning?
God celebrated the end of creation: “By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day he rested from all his work. And God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it he rested from all the work of creating that he had done” (Genesis 2:2). Many of us still celebrate the seventh-day Sabbath—a day of rest. The end of creation. The end of a work week. The end.
In the end, Jesus will come back. We will go home. We look forward to the end because the end offers the best prize.
Athletes celebrate the end. Forty-two motocross racers aim for the holeshot. Of course being the first bike around the corner increases the rider’s chances of winning, but when the checkered flag flies, the first 50 yards after the 30-second board drops aren’t celebrated. We remember the winner. The first to cross the finish line. It’s him we celebrate.
After the first few days of school this year, an administrator asked me how classes were going. “Great!” I replied. “My students are nice—I think it’s going to be a good year!”
“We’re still on the honeymoon,” was his reply.
My question is—why can’t the marriage be better than the honeymoon? Shouldn’t we expect it to be? Isn’t the goal to finish strong?
Teachers, and anyone who works toward a finish line, know that momentum wanes as the last stretch approaches. But the last stretch matters the most. A concert pianist can make a mistake in the first movement of her piece, but if she performs the last few measures flawlessly, we forget her fumble. I can start my teaching day at the top of my game, but if my 7th period doesn’t get the best of me like my first period did, I’ve failed.
On the 6th day of school, I took a class of 29 tenth graders to the library to choose books to read, check them out, then find a quiet place to sit and read. The silence I heard as they read was a teacher’s dream.
About 10 minutes before the end of class, our principal bounded into the library, noticed the silence, and proclaimed, “This looks like a great place to be!” He assumed we were a group of students in study hall.
“Shhhh!” my students responded as they kept their eyes on their books.
He spotted me: “Oh, this is a class, not study hall!”
He backed away, and my students kept reading. When the students tell the principal to be quiet, something is going well.
And it will keep going well for the next 9 months and will only get better. Because why can’t the end be better than the beginning?
Let’s make the marriages better than the honeymoons. Let’s celebrate contributions rather than existence. God created, then rested. Let’s work, then play. Let’s make the last month of school just as effective as the first. Let’s make the ends better than the beginnings.