Shortly before his death in April of 1955, the renowned theoretical scientist Dr. Albert Einstein famously quipped that, “Compound interest is the eighth wonder of the world. He who understands it, earns it; he who doesn’t, pays it.”
Compound interest is the mathematical reality of earning interest on top of not only the principle invested, but also the interest earned. With a little bit of money and a lot of time and patience, it’s been known to make investors very wealthy.
In so very many ways, a good marriage is the social equivalent of compound interest.
A young man and a young woman meet on an ordinary day – perhaps at the college library or a Sunday School class at church. Pleasantries are exchanged, phones numbers are traded, and a friendship and then a romance soon blossom. The excited couple cobble together what little they have and then get married.
There was nothing overly dramatic about the meeting or even the courtship – but that initial investment (the principle) will soon take root and begin earning interest, first a little and then a lot.
I thought of this earlier today when I saw a Facebook post from our friend Michael Farris.
Founder of the Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA) as well as Patrick Henry College, Farris most recently served as CEO and general counsel for Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF). ADF is a topflight Christian legal advocacy group committed to protecting religious freedom.
But this morning, Michael Farris was wearing the hat of proud grandfather.
“Our 30th grandchild was born yesterday to our son Joe and his wife Mercy,” he wrote. “Isaiah Ojochonu Farris born 4:20 PM at 8 lb 6 oz. Ojochonu means ‘God is king.’ Baby and mom are both doing very well.”
Michael and Vickie Farris have been married for 52 years. They have ten children. “The Lord has allowed us to walk on very interesting paths, but our greatest joy is to see our children and grandchildren walking in the truth,” Michael recently said.
Children and grandchildren are undoubtedly part of the compounding effect of a healthy and strong marriage. But not surprisingly, marital stability greatly benefits the initial investor.
“When it comes to the most basic goods in life, what we find is that men who are stably married earn more money, have more assets,” states Dr. Brad Wilcox, Director of the National Marriage Project at the University of Virginia and Professor of Sociology at the University of Virginia.
Like the wise money manager, making even small daily deposits into our marriage adds up and exponentially multiplies over the years. It can be a smile, a kind word, a loving and encouraging text message. It doesn’t have to be some grand gesture – but it does need to be heartfelt and sincere.
C.S. Lewis stressed that “little decisions we make every day are of infinite importance” – and few more so than how we treat our spouse and nurture our marriage.
At 72 years of age, Michael Farris has been granted, by God’s grace, the opportunity to see the blessings of a faithful and fruitful marriage. May his and Vickie’s happy union encourage and inspire you and your spouse to keep making daily deposits into your own marriage.
Image from Michael Farris.