Sep 112013 4 Responses

What 9/11 Reminds Us About Marriage

A day known for terror should be remembered for love.

It’s the phone calls I remember the most. In the days that followed 9/11, grieving loved ones released the last messages which the victims left on voice mail, answering machines, and with emergency operators.

They contained a common theme—a desire to make sure their spouse knew they were loved.

The messages were a heartbreaking glimpse into the reality of terror, impending death, and grief. Yet they also were a wonderful testimony of what was most important in those people’s lives. In the end, everything faded into the background and many people used their last moments to communicate their love.

It was a tremendous gift in the midst of horrible terror—a chance to say goodbye. Many people don’t get that chance, but some of the victims of 9/11 did. Their words should change our lives.

It’s easy to get caught up in the ebb and flow of daily life and miss the big picture. Days can pass without a meaningful conversation. Small frictions can be blown out of proportion. Love once communicated with great frequency can go unstated.

Yet on a nearly monthly basis, I interact with families who suffer sudden tragedy. Another normal day begins, but it ends with a tragic accident, a sudden illness, or a shocking death. Without warning, last words and last moments are wasted on trivial matters instead of the things of most importance.

It could happen to any of us. No one is guaranteed tomorrow and every careless word has a chance of being our last word. We can’t prevent that reality, but we can live in such a way that the important things never go unsaid or the important things never go undone.

We can live so that if we never make it home for dinner, our spouses, children, friends, and family will know exactly how we felt about them.

This is what I think about on 9/11. I have this day to say what needs to be said and do what needs to be done. I may never have the chance to plan my last words or actions, but I do have the ability to remove all doubt from those closest to me about my feelings toward them.

Marriages would be stronger if we lived in light of the fragility of life. If we remembered we aren’t guaranteed tomorrow. If we put every issue in the context of the bigger picture.

Small fights wouldn’t be blown out of proportion.

Minor differences wouldn’t be taken personally.

Gratitude and love would influence our marriages in a deeper way.

We would more quickly, and more often, say:

  • I love you.
  • I’m sorry.
  • Please forgive me.
  • I need help.

Far too many marriages suffer from apathy. Living in denial of how little time we have been given on this planet, we waste months, years, even decades without fighting for what is important, improving ourselves and our marriage, or appreciating what we have been given.

A last-second phone call is nice, but a lifetime of love is better.

Tragedy has the ability to shake us and wake us to the things which are really important.

Why wait until the tragedy hits?

Why not be shaken by what could be?

Why not awake before it’s too late?

We have been given today. We are not promised tomorrow. Embrace it, use it, and appreciate it.

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4 Responses to What 9/11 Reminds Us About Marriage
  1. Lori Lyon Reply

    Beautifully said

  2. Christina Schoeppey Reply

    I love your message today! A very dear friend of mine gave me this same advice, after she lost her son. It has become a habit in our house to tell each other I love you on a daily basis.

  3. Diane Fagan Reply

    Kevin, you are in your element!

  4. […] What 9/11 Reminds Us About Marriage Gratitude is one of my favorite topics and 9/11 was a perfect ... kevinathompson.com/septembers-top-posts

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