Moonlight

"I tend to disappear here and there, so concentrate and you'll feel me everywhere..."

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Let’s Share Nintendo: Passion Beyond Games

So, this is a series to bright up the room a bit more. In here I will share certain personal details with you my fellow reader, friend and gamer.

I don’t know about you but I take my gaming very seriously. I reply some of my favorite games very often, and I am quick to talk or write about them whenever needed. However, there are times where my passion goes beyond just the games itself. As you can see below, I love the art style of the next Zelda game that I could not help it but make it my desktop background and cell phone wallpaper. I just love the Zelda series, and this new take on it just too my breath away, incredibly gorgeous.

Desktop

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Phone

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Music is another part of games that have also landed outside just the gaming media. I have many of my favorite tunes in my phone and I love to listen from time to time. Just recently I got the Mario Kart 8 OST and it is wonderful. And I could not help but have the masterpiece that is the soundtrack for Xenoblade Chronicles, I often play these songs in my car!

Mario Kart 8, love me some N64 Rainbow Road!

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Xenoblade Chronicles, Gaur Plains never gets old!

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Nothing weird to see here….just playing some of my favorite video game music in my car

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And to end this portion of ‘Let’s Share Nintendo,’ I had the pleasure of attending the Legend of Zelda Symphony of the Goddesses concert, and it was truly magical. There was nothing like hearing some of the best Zelda songs in a live Orchestra!

https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?v=799509163409813&l=6337464214176216857

And hey listen! I got to meet Tingle, Navi, Zant, and Link! Pretty great right? Link was shy.

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Let’s Talk Nintendo: Innovation

How do you define innovation?

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Think about this before you continue to read, ponder about this for a moment…

It must be hard in this day and age [to define innovation] when arguably everything has already been done or its on the drawing board waiting to be released. When it comes to gaming consoles, one must ask oneself what route they should take. Go ahead and release a new more powerful hardware of an already established brand, or take the risk and plunge into something new, something that has not been done before in the console market. Risk is a black and white gamble. If it succeeds you might see the fruits of your work and be highly successful, but if it fails the public and media will ignore your product and you might be stuck with something that does not gather enough interest to be successful. It’s a fine line that not many dare cross, for some the reward my not be worth the risk. It is a shame because some of the greater innovations come from people willing to take risk, opening new doors and experiences that did not exist before.

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the unconventional console…

The original Wii is a great example of this phenomenon. Nintendo’s Blue Ocean Strategy was truly moving away from the norm, regardless they went for it and we all know how that paid off. The Wii showed the world that there was still room for innovation and that anyone could have a gaming console and play whenever they liked, yes, even your grandma. That’s not the only thing the Wii did however, the motion controls, weather you liked them or not, had really not been done before. This was a non HD console that achieved almost HD quality with games like Mario Galaxy 1 and 2, and games like Skyward Sword proved that Nintendo’s motion controls worked for a game like that, so much so that I feel like coming back to pressing B to attack will be a step back - but that’s for another time. The thing is, the Wii was a success, and I can already see the argument that in the end that strategy back fired on them because the so called hardcore players moved away from Nintendo. But no matter what way you want to cut it, the Wii was successful, it sold over 100 million units and no one can deny that it had some amazing games in its library, some that are still up there as the best games of all times - and yes, I’m also aware that there was a lot of shovel-ware. The Wii printed so much money that even Sony and Microsoft soon saw that there was a market for these types of games and gave it a shot themselves. Without Nintendo, Playstation Move and Microsoft’s Kinect would not have been born, some wish it had not happen, but regardless this further solidified how much of an impact Nintendo had on the industry with the Wii, the unconventional console. 

Was the Wii innovative? Absolutely.

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even your grandma…

Nintendo is in the console race to give us something different, not to do a copy and paste of what is already there. They seem to understand that horsepower is not everything, and they should bring something new to the table, something new to change the world of gaming. Risk, as I mentioned before is unpredictable, we saw how successful Nintendo was with the Wii, but with their 8th generation console Wii U things did not go as smoothly as they expected. Nintendo once again wanted to innovate with its next console, and the Wii U was introduced. The console would have a controller with a 6’ screen that would allow for off-tv play, touch screen controls, asymmetrical gameplay, and ways to interact with games that were not possible before.

Is the Wii U innovative?  

The Wii U had a rocky start, it did not have the must have games at launch, it was not advertised properly, and was missing a couple of features. Someone that has never touched one will probably wonder how can this thing be innovative? The DS formula has been done in handhelds, and there are games that use cell phones and tablets as a second screen. It might not be initially obvious why the Wii U is innovative, but ask anyone that has one and they will tell you that it is. I asked at the beginning of this post, how do you define innovation? Innovation does not simply have to be the latest piece of technology, or the next new thing that will revolutionize gaming as we know it. Innovation is not defined by how structurally different something is or by how it changes the gaming community, but how it gives us a new experience and method to interact with games.

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Wii U’s greatest feature is easily off-tv play. I never imagined the impact this would have in my gaming habits until I used mine for a very long time. This is someone that spent last generation with only a Wii (crazy, I know) and had not had or experienced an HD console before. Wii U is also the first console I bought myself, and along with it an HD TV for my room, I had not owned one before. You can imagined how excited I was to finally be able to play, not just Nintendo games, but third party games in full HD glory for the first time ever. And although I still enjoy playing Mario Kart 8 on my TV in order to sink in those beautiful racetracks, my gameplay habits have been changing. My little brother only plays on the gamepad, its that simple. I walk into my room after a long day of work and there he is, rested in bed, playing on the gamepad with a show on TV. If we do split screen multiplayer, he plays on the gamepad, I play on the TV. He now has his first HD system yet he is playing on a non HD screen, fully aware that he can turn on the TV at any time and play in 1080p. His habits have been rubbed off on me. I still enjoy my dose of Mario Kart 8 on TV, but I soon find myself to the gamepad in order to play more comfortable and in any way I want. I am not stuck to a TV, a TV is no longer an obstacle. I can take my games anywhere in my house, and I don’t have to bend over to play Mario Kart - which strains my back. This alone makes the Wii U and gamepad worth it, it makes it innovative. 

This notion makes something else very interesting. During one talk I had with my brother, we were wondering how it would be if I bought a PS4, would we now had to buy Call of Duty for example (he is a big fan, and a very good player) on PS4 instead of WIi U and get all the DLC and so on. His answer was very interesting, he thought about it and realized that would mean go back to sit on a chair, stare at a TV and hold a controller in his hand, to which he said “no, thank you.” He would rather have the novelty of the gamepad over better resolution and DLC. And I can agree with him, now more than 80% of the time I also find myself playing off-tv play, even now the gamepad is serving me company as I am writing. This means that no matter how powerful a console might be, if given the option I would rather play on the gamepad. Having the most powerful hardware then would not matter to me, resolution becomes unnecessary, owning a PS4 would only make me wish I could just take the game with me - granted there is the PS Vita but that is another $200 and it does not have all the buttons, makes it rather uncomfortable.

Is the Wii U innovative then? Absolutely. Innovation can be subtle. 

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I hope the Wii U gamepad  does not die and we get another incarnation of it. The rumored Nintendo Fusion could be a handheld/console that could be plug into the TV and taken on the go wherever you like. I really hope the gamepad is here to stay as it is a move forward for games. Not only does it provide the amazing off-tv play option, but it allows the player to clear the HUD and put it on the gamepad. The gamepad itself is a full controller, having all the buttons, rumble, clickable sticks, and so on, all the necessities of a modern controller, Plus the possibilities of extra buttons with the touchscreen, different ways to interact with games, it can be used to draw, have a different view than the one from the TV etc. The possibilities are endless. It really is the army knife of controllers, it absolutely does everything. Here’s hoping this idea stays alive rather than fade away - like the possibility of playing Zelda U with motion controllers. Maybe it can be backwards compatible with the next Nintendo console or at least make it optional. Let me keep this baby Nintendo, what other gaming console has allowed for this?

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Seriously though, Wii U is a great console, and the notion of the gamepad is one that really makes this console so unique. I love everything about it, and I wouldn’t change my ability to play on my gamepad over anything, here’s hoping this somehow makes a return later on. And with more people jumping into the Wii U bandwagon now with Mario Kart 8, I can see people coming around about Wii U after finally playing with it. It is a sight to behold, they don;t know what they have been missing. With great deals, and amazing games available now and many more incoming, it has never been a better time to be a Wii U owner and I am not afraid to admit that Wii U and the gamepad is another piece of innovation that deserves to be praised.

Innovation then, is a matter of how you define it.

Back to my trusty gamepad. I’ve got some Pikmin to find.

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I’ve been struck by inspiration but I need your help!

Let me know what you thought of my new post and check out my previous two.

I would also open this now up for discussion. What do you think so far of ‘Let’s Talk Nintendo,’ what would you like to see different? Any suggestions will help me greatly.

Also, do you have any topics you would like me to touch on? Please give me your ideas, and you never know I might write about a topic YOU suggested on my next post.

Just overall give your thoughts and opinions. I really appreciate all your help and your feedback over my work. Thanks to everyone for the great introduction I have been given here, I feel very welcomed, I am more than happy to be here and I can’t stress it enough. 

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Let’s Talk Nintendo: Good Old Gameplay

I remember watching E3 last month. Such an amazing time of the year for gamers. Games are unveiled, trailers are shown, and a multitude of people gather together to see a spectacle on stage.

Back in the day, games used to be about gameplay. It was exciting. What is this game doing different from the rest? What is the new mechanic or concept that will set this game apart from the rest?

Back to E3, the stage goes dark, and the atmosphere sets in. The Order 1886 is getting a ‘gameplay’ trailer, the main character is walking through a hallway which then leads to a cutscene. A monster soon pops out, our hero is randomly shooting, a quick time event happens and the player has to press triangle. Followed by more cut scenes and the demo ends.

Another dark and gritty shooter? Check
Forced walking? Check
Random quick time event? Check
95% cut scene 5% gameplay? Check.

And the crowd cheers in excitement and the people on youtube videos claim this is one game to be on the lookout for.

Another example, Uncharted 4 only got a couple of seconds of Nathan Drake waking up, standing, and walking away. Yet cheers and applause were everywhere. I have no doubt it will most likely be a good game, but even then, is that all it takes for us as gamers to be excited? Next, Rainbow Six. While it was playing, everyone was completely silent until the end. No cheering, applause or awe, but then something magical happens, the Rainbow Six logo splatters on the screen at the very end and the crowd goes wild - getting excited over a brand and not the game itself

What is wrong with this picture? How do people get excited over stuff like this? Why are gamers so eager to see a ‘cool’ cinematic moment? We expect it, but worse than that, we want it. We want to see that CGI Assassin’s Creed trailer to ‘wow’ us even when we are aware that it has nothing to do with actual gameplay.

Our brains are hardwired this way. We need to disconnect and get wired again.

Nintendo won E3 2014 for me not just because of the great amount of content, quality of games, and the way they delivered the message. But mostly because we got to see games, some real gameplay, as they are meant to be seen.

What a concept.

Gameplay is by far one of the most important things, if not the most important thing about a game. This used to be the general consensus but that has recently changed with time. Games could at times not be so visually impressive but have amazing gameplay and be a must have, now it seems a game must be visually striking first to decide whether it is good or not and then gameplay comes second. However, sometimes these concept of ‘visually impressive’ usually comes first in a trailer, or teaser that has nothing to do with the how good looking a game really is, since many times we are first introduced with CGI spectacles that do not communicate what a game really is like. The idea is to give the player a good first impression of the game, but how can we get impressed when we have not been shown the actual package; its like wrapping a gift with the most luxurious and beautiful wrapping paper but never see what is actually inside. Regardless, this is usually all it takes for modern gamers to be blown away.

I saw the first ever Monolith Soft X trailer (now called Xenoblade Chronicles X) back then in January of 2013. Even though this game was probably in its earlier stages, more so than now obviously, we got to see the game with a view of what seemed to be the main character and the massive and beautiful world around him. Exciting stuff, we were shown a live world and we saw right in front of our eyes what it REALLY looks like. This is an actual taste of what it is to come, an actual introduction to the game, not some CGI battle of mechs and mosters fighting in dubstep. The best part is, that this type of stuff is what is really exciting about a game. Seeing a game in all its glory and what it is trying to achieve. Being excited for a game because of its premise in the gameplay department, not in the spectacle department.

Every Nintendo game at this year’s E3 followed on this formula of gameplay > everything. From games we knew about like Hyrule Warriors and Bayonetta 2, to new IPs like Splatoon and S.T.E.A.M., even Miyamoto’s 2 quirky concepts Project Giant Robot and Project Guard. We got a look to game after game with gameplay in mind, during their Digital Event and even after with their Treehouse Event, something very refreshing to see after a giant dose of explosions, music, and cinematic moments from the previous day.

I don’t know about you but a giant dose of gameplay is what really excites me about a game.



And so, I am pro gameplay. Let me see what a game really is like and don’t try to fool me with vague promises and outlandish trailers that does not represent the final product. Let’s get excited over what really sets a game apart.

Good old gameplay.

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Let’s Talk Nintendo: The Case for Color

         I remember the day I first turned on my beloved Nintendo 64 and for the first time experienced what a video game is like. My 7 year old self was mesmerized, I had not experienced anything like it. I was suddenly this kid in green tunic running around exploring a massive world, and I saw for the first time ever a gigantic face of Mario in front of my TV right before jumping into the Mushroom Kingdom. These memories are engraved in my mind, and I cherish them very deeply. When I look back and think about the words that best described my experience, the ones that come back to me are immersive, fun, and beautiful. Look at these classic games now however, and you will noticed something right away, specially if you were not born around those times. These games I hold so dear look like a bunch of cubes and polygons put together by today’s standard. Yet, I remember the beauty of Hyrule Field when I first stepped foot on it.

            This is one of the things I don’t really like about the current gaming industry, it is all about polygons, pixels, and graphics. We can no longer call something beautiful if it is not 1080p. The ironic thing about this, is that technology nowadays allows for games to look magnificent regardless of platform. You no longer see cubes or polygons, but rather very well polished worlds and the tiniest of details - like the dirt under your soldier’s nail. We then turn our heads to resolution, claiming a certain game is garbage or ugly because of the lower amount of pixels. The irony continues, as beautiful has been labeled to everything that is gray and dark of nature. Post apocalyptic worlds and shooters that rule our gaming industry have become the standards of what beautiful and ‘Next-Gen’ is. These games are all just too similar, if I lived in a world where all I have to play is the next dark, gloomy, M-rated, and apocalyptic world, then I would be very depressed, figuratively of course. I wouldn’t want to live in that world.

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Less of this…

            The similarity of these games leads to no creativity. It makes money, so why not just make the same types of games and repeat the same formula?  People love it, it seems, and it shows in sales. The problem with this ‘beauty’ is that with time games are getting very realistic and almost mimic the real world all too well. I am already here, I don’t want to visit a world I am already very familiar with; rather I want to be a part of unimaginable worlds filled with life and moments that I cannot experience in the real world.

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More of this…

            This, is one of the reasons why I love Nintendo. They have not caved in, they are one of the very few companies that still make these remarkable experiences - all while the general consumer bash them and demand the same experiences everyone else is making from them. This is why, when The Legend of Zelda Wii U was first revealed, and we did not get the realistic graphics the world was waiting for ever since that E3 2011 demo, I jumped with joy. Mainly because I saw yet another world by Nintendo that is unlike anything else in the market right now, but also because I have been craving for some color. Yes, color. When something like the picture above pops up, and it is stacked against all the other games out there, it stands out. Not necessarily because it carries the most polygons or pixels, but because it is different from the rest and carries a unique and lively art-style. The same reason why I had such a sense of joy last year with Super Mario 3D World, and just recently with Mario Kart 8. These games, are beautiful. Not because of the breakthrough in technology but because of the experience they bring to the gamer and the world they set us in. Looking at Mario Kart 8, one must confess the beauty of that game, one that can be perceived without the need of numbers or pixel count - the game just comes to life.

I want more color in my life.

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Nyali

Why do I spend the nights far off shore, thinking of your face with no remorse?

It’s because I can’t stand to be away of such heavenly glow

Why is it then, that I cry if I see you leave my side to be somewhere else?

There’s no greater sorrow than to see thy grace leave my side

How come I feel as if the Earth rotates not around the sun but around you instead?

It is because like magnets I am attracted to your place

And when the flowers gloom and grow into life

I notice there is something missing in sight

For as many time it wants to try

No rose could ever come close to the feeling inside

That of which is engraved in my heart

The love the I have for you tonight

Once my eyes closes I find you hiding

Right under my eyelids as dreams finally find me

And with each breath of every new day

That love would have forever-more been multiplied

So why do I try to make you understand

This of which not even I comprehend?

It is because in this never ending paradox

I continuously try in order to fail

So when the sun shines through my window the next day

I will have more reasons to write again

To tell the world yet again

That I love thee more today than yesterday

Yet as much as I wish I could express it all

The impossible task only more difficult becomes

But I mind not nor wonder off

One look in your eyes and I am already gone

Not too far, not too close

But inside your heart where I belong

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Though you seem quite aware

There’s no telling what you might think

When you look deep inside my heart

and find your name written in green

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Lifetime

Not sure if anyone took notice but I wrote this awhile ago:

Not everything lasts a lifetime, but the most important things in life are those that does - JJV

What got me to this thinking is actually a very funny story. It all started with a microwave - yes, a microwave. Let me explain as best as I can.

One afternoon I was hungry and it was time for lunch, there was only a bit of rice left and so I decided to heat it up in the microwave. As the timer went down, I stared into this machine differently than before, as if I have never been in contact with it. My absolutely crazy mind started looking at the microwave closely and thinking how overused it really was, it’s not the best, not the microwave of the year, not the most expensive one. It has been used by us for countless years and it was now decaying. It was then when a thought came to mind, “this will most certainly not last forever, but it is not an important thing to worry about, nothing lasts a lifetime.” But then I stopped in my train of thought and realize this was not true, “the most important things do indeed last a lifetime.” The combination of these two thoughts it’s what lead me to the quote I posted above.

I have been meaning to write about this for awhile now, but what was suppose to be a short story, turned into an even bigger one. I had one more revelation. Last Monday I went to the beach with my girlfriend and her parents, in the car on the way there (not sure how the topic came about) she said basically the same thing “nothing is forever….well except some things.” When I heard her say this, or something of the sort, I am not quoting exactly how it went about; it was nothing short of outstanding. I knew for a fact that was what I was going to write about, once we made it to the beach I told her personally how she helped me pick a topic for my next entry, and she was the very first person to have a preview of what it was going to be about. It was a sign to me that this should be my next topic.

I deviated a bit to bring forth how this all came about, but now that you spend the last two paragraphs reading about a microwave and the beach, lets get straight to the point.

This could not be more true. Just think about it, all material things fade, all the things in this life that really do not matter falter and ultimately decay, they do not last. But if you stop and think about it, there are some things that never go away. A long lasting, meaningful friendship. A very loving relationship with your parents, your spouse, your kids. The lessons your parents taught you as a kid, the memories of every good moment spend with them. The love that you carry for your wife, the commitment of never leaving her side.

Lessons. Love. Relationships. Memories.

These are only some of the things that have one thing in common, they last a lifetime. They endure forever and continue on to eternity. Yet there is one more thing, more important than all of the above, another guarantee of something else that is infinite. Eternal life. In our Lord Jesus Christ we find just that, eternal life, even what we might think is our final fate (death) through Christ we instead find life. It is through Him that then we can find eternal life, it lasts a lifetime and beyond. As it states, it is ETERNAL, a forever long time in heaven, a guarantee for all that have accepted Him, and this brings to yet something else that lasts a lifetime. Salvation. When we accept God’s gift to us by grace, and accept Jesus as our only Lord and Savior we become saved, and this is something that no one takes away.

What could possibly be better than that? To have our salvation secure and our place in heaven, it just goes to show that we should invest our time more in those things that are eternal and not to our every day silly problems.

Invest time on what really deserves it.

Promise to love her “till death do us apart” and do not give up after three years, keep it forever as you promised. Instruct your kids in the word of God so that they will have life long lessons to remember for the rest of their lives. Make wonderful memories with your loved ones so that you will have these implanted in your brain every day of your life. And most importantly, spread the Gospel of Christ so that others can enjoy and be a part of this eternal place called heaven.

Lets then worry about the important things, those things that last a lifetime.

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Thee

Clouds above the skies

Cover the emptiness of this drought

The sun shines up ahead

Alluring at the place we call Earth

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The transparent blue ocean waves

Crash back and forth beyond the north

Where I finally find you and me

By the fort alongside the sea shore

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The tenderness of the wind

Mimics the love she placed in me

No matter how long the wait

Like a lighthouse I stay in my place

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If only my heart could talk

I would no longer be at lack of words

For I have no way to express

How possible my impossible love for you is

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The tick tack of the clock

Oh how you tease me with the “tock”

If it were me I would drift across time alone

Just to make every second of mine only yours

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The night covers everywhere it goes

The sun faints lending its light to its friend

The moon now accompanied by a thousand others

Gleaming the Earth with its shine of hope

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Yet up above jealously is heavily perceived

Even though they don’t normally get along

All the stars agree on just one thing

The brightest star is down here with me

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And when all is said and done

Nature sure is one marvelous thing

Everywhere in plain sight you can find

A never ending painting being drawn in front of our eyes

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Though God’s creation never comes short

And beauty is all around to explore

Even angels can clearly see

That He outdid himself when he created thee

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The few. The proud.

    I must confess it’s been awhile since I’ve written something, because of school and personal issues I have not had the time, I have been very busy. So do not be too harsh if this specific note is too plain or too dull, I can’t remember the last time I wrote something.

    That being said, I find very hard to believe how someone can break the most important promise they make in their whole entire life. Normally when one promises something they attempt to keep that promise, they do whatever it takes to get it done. I believe one does not promise something unless it is very meaningful to them, unless they know they are willing to keep it, no matter what might lie ahead. What’s the most important promise you could possibly make you might ask? Well, there’s no greater promise to yourself, to God, and to your future spouse than, yes, getting married.

 That’s right, I’m going there.

     I have not watched the news recently but I believe divorce rates are very high, like sky high. My only guess is that it has only gotten that much higher, and here lies my problem. How you can you stand in front of so many people, with the person you want to spend the rest of your life with right in front of you, a ring in your hand; and years later say you can take no longer. How can the spark end so quick to the most valuable promise made in a person’s life? Through better and through worse, till death do us apart, how can people say “I do” through all these things yet leave it for avail?

     It is beyond me, for that matter you should have not gotten married in the first place, once you are there in the altar and kiss the bride, the most important promise of your life has been sealed - do not break it. Don’t say “you are not the person I married” because frankly, you are looking at the same person just not with the same eyes you did years ago. The person in front of you is still the same sinful and faulty person; with mistakes and imperfections all over him/her. As the bible states love never ends/fails, love endures ALL things.

 1 Corinthians 13:4-8 (New King James Version)

 ”4 Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; 5 does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; 6 does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; 7 bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. 8 Love never fails.”

     We see a very prestigious title given to our fellow U.S. Marines and that is “The few. The proud.” You can punch me in the gut but I dare say that the more proud are those that under God’s will have been able to keep their marriage forever, and not to mention they are even less in numbers. Not to criticize our courageous Marines that are out there fighting for all of us, for in fact I am sure that some of them have also been able to keep that promise with their spouse and they are an even fewer number of them and even prouder. My point is, every so often that I would see that slogan I would think of just this, “I want to be one of the very few and proud men that has a lasting marriage for eternity. I want to be one of the few and proud men to keep their homes full of love and safety. I want to be one of the very few and proud men to keep their families honoring God and to teach their children the right path. I want to be one of THOSE few and proud men - a man of God.”

     I know when the time comes and it is my turn there at the altar I will not fail, I will make sure my marriage lasts a lifetime and I will love my wife dearly “till death do us apart” and even then. The task at hand is great and very difficult, where many of the soldiers have surrendered and given up because they cannot finish the mission. I hereby stand and say that I will carry my cross and continue to follow Jesus, and in result I will grow old loving my wife with more intensity and more passion than I did 50+ years ago. I promise that when I make that lifelong promise I won’t back down or give up because only a few men can say that they are…