My Wife and I Celebrate 31 Years

In A Christian Life, Family, The Pastor's Blog on April 10, 2009 at 9:57 PM

My wife and I celebrated our 31st wedding anniversary a couple of days ago on the 8th of April. There have been plenty of bumps and bruises along the way, but we can honestly say it has been exciting; I can’t recall very many dull moments. Has it been a perfect marriage? No, but who has been so blessed as to have a perfect one? I don’t know anyone, but maybe you do.

You know, we use a lot of salt and pepper in our lives as we eat words many of us have spoken. For instance, here’s some of the words I’ve had to season so they would go down easier. These are in no particular order:

  • I’ll never get married.
  • I’ll never join the military.
  • I’ll never have children.
  • I’ll never have anything to do with religion.

What’s that you say? What do I hear coming from your lips? Don’t tell me you’ve said some of the very same things. I think we have all said things we regret later; it’s part of being alive. I don’t say we should make a habit of saying things and not keeping our word, though.

I met my wife at church on December 17, 1977 at 7:05 PM in a little country church above Panama City, Florida. I was in the Air Force and she was working in town. After moving to Tyndall AFB, I had gotten involved with this same country church and was narrating the Christmas play that year.

There was a plot going on in the background; the pastor’s sister was plotting a meeting between my future wife and me. The young lady didn’t want to have anything to do with meeting a single Air Force airman who just happened to be attending that little country church in the woods. Obviously, she finally consented and a date was set.

After the Christmas play the people were just mingling outside in the parking lot. My future wife was talking with some of her friends, then some of the men pulled me around to the side of the building. They told me the man she came to the play with was her cousin and that I should introduce myself. After some persuasion, I did, and asked to take her home. “It’s too far out of the way,” she replied. “No, it’s not,” I answered. Off we went.

I can still remember stopping for coffee and a donut before taking her home that night. We began seeing more of each other and a relationehip began blossoming. Remember, I’m not about to get married!

Something began changing in my life as my prayers began to take on a different tone. I actually began asking God for just the right wife, and knew he would provide her for me. People, God knows exactly what we need and will grant our desires if we put our trust in him.

For me, I knew I had fallen madly in love with my future wife when I was walking across the parking lot at the Air Force base and a song appeared out of nowhere. Now, don’t laugh and throw rocks at me, but the song was “I think I love her.” Corny? Perhaps. Sometimes you just know something and you go with what you know. I had fallen in love with the woman I was going to spend the rest of my life with.

We only dated for a few months before tying the knot at that little country church above Panama City, Florida. Some people say a marriage won’t last if the people date for only a little while. That has definitely not been the case with us. I believe people have to be intentional in their relationship with each other. Marriage is not easy, but it is rewarding and can be full of life.

Our favorite places happened to be either at church or at our friends house in Panama City. This couple was so full of life, and we would hang out with them and their children for hours at a time. It was funny, though. He and I would stay up all hours of the night talking about God and the bible; my future wife was always right there. The lady of the house would often say “I’m leaving it with you guys, I’m going to bed.” We’d take off for another round or two of bible debate and learning. That couple was a major influence on our lives.

My wife and I went to a nearby town the night before our anniversary to eat at one of our favorite restaurants – Logan’s Roadhouse Restaurant. It’s not the fanciest place in the world, but we like it. The food is good and you get to throw peanut shells on the floor. That alone is worth the trip! We couldn’t go Wednesday because we had to pick up our grandchildren from school. Wednesday is our midweek service, and that would be out of the question to go that night, so we spent our anniversary night teaching at our local church.

How long have you been married? Where did you meet your spouse? If you’re not married, are you planning on getting married?

I know there will be some reading this post whose wife or husband has already died. If that is you, I am sorry for your loss. During the course of many years in the ministry, I have had the privilege of preaching a number of funerals. One of the things I like to remind people of is this: death is part of life. One day Christ will conquer death ultimately, and there will be no more death. One day.

If the Lord tarries for another 31 years, I hope to still be married to my sweetheart, my bride. Thanks for letting me share a little of my joy with you today.

  1. Happy Anniversary, Ron. It’s good to know that not all marriages are breaking up. As for Tammy and I, we will be married 20 years on October 20. I was married to Sherry for 2 1/2 years before the Lord saw fit to call her home. I knew who Tammy was and had actually commented that I wished she could meet my twin brother, Gary. A couple of months after the funeral, I was in a gas station after Sunday church and as I was walking in, Tammy was walking out. I felt the Lord speak to my heart very plainly and say that she was the girl that I would be marrying. Later, she told me she felt the same thing at the same time. It took us a few months to get together, but it has been working for almost 20 years. There is a reason I sign my emails with the signature “My best friend is my wife!”. It’s true and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

    Congratulations on your 31 years together.

  2. Happy 31st wedding anniversary Ron. Reading your post today brought tears to my eyes. I love it when men brag about their wives and their love life unashamedly.

    Isn’t it mazing that if my husband were alive today we would also have celebrated our 31st wedding anniversary last March 18.

    I did write an anniversary post though, and gave myself the freedom to write about our last anniversary together, in Chiang Mai, Thailand. May I invite you to read about my beautiful love story? It is a testimony to a good God. I praise God who makes beautiful marriages beautiful and full of warm memories, imperfect as they may be. It is a beautiful picture of how Christ loves His bride, the church.

    If you want, you can read about my 31st anniversary post at:

    Have a blessed Resurrection week…


    • Larry and Lidia,
      Thank you both for your kind words about my wife and me celebrating 31 years together. No doubt about it, I am a blessed man. We’ve all seen couples break up after just a short time together, and that’s sad to me. We all took vows during our wedding ceremonies, and those vows were important to us.

      One of the great sayings young people have now is people do or don’t “match.” Well, my bride and I match pretty well together. We even think alike in so many ways.

      Lidia, I am definitely going to check out your anniversary post, and know ahead of time it will be full of your grace and love. Thanks for the invitation.

  3. I think celebrating birthdays and anniversaries is so important. As has already been pointed out too many marriages break up today. Congratulations on your 31 years together.

    As for my wife and I? We have been married between 6 or 7 years depending on which wedding date we use. Which is a story that should probably be told someday.

  4. My husband and met online in 1998. I lived in Illinois and he in South Carolina. In 1999 I got a job with the state health dept in SC and moved me and my elderly parents there (I was their caretaker, so if I went, they were part of the package). We married in June 2000, two months before my 40th birthday. My first (and last) marriage. My husband’s second (and last) marriage. Hannah was born in December 2001. The journey over the last year or so has been difficult, but we are still working together and will always do so.

    • Kerry,
      That’s a great story; thanks for sharing it. There is a young girl in our church whose name is Hannah, too. You know, there will definitely be rough spots in the road of life, but the key is to keep doing what you alluded to – working together. It’s interesting how you two met online.

  5. Happy Belated Anniversary!

    My wife and I will be celebrating 16 yrs in September. We met on my 21st birthday at a party for a friend who shared the same birth date. She had run into another friend a week earlier who invited her to this party. I was playing pool when she walked in and that was all it took…funny how God works sometimes.

    • @Tony: 16 years in this day and time is a great accomplishment. Congratulations. Thanks for dropping by; come back often.

      @Linda: Good to see you again. You and John and my wife and I do have similar lives, don’t we? Pretty amazing, to say the least. Yes, if we become malleable in the hands of the Master, our lives can certainly take on new meaning. I like where and how you two met; very similar to our situation. We must be kin!

      May all of you have wonderful anniversaries when they arrive.

  6. Happy Anniversary!! What a beautiful and wonderful testimony!!

    John and I will be celebrating our 33rd this year (May 1at), meeting much the same as you and your wife–in Pensacola Florida, late 1975 through a fellowship near the Navy base at which we were both stationed.

    Isn’t it beautiful that the Lord changes our heart along the way–I was never, ever going to marry a “Sailor”, and I didn’t want to be a teacher or a nurse– both which full-time occupations required of a mother! I’m so glad the Lord didn’t heed my vain desires!

    God Bless you both and may the Lord grant you many, many more years together on this earth! I’m thankful the Lord brough you into each other’s lives!
    Blessings, Linda and John

  7. Happy, Happy Anniversary!

  8. How long have you been married? Where did you meet your spouse?

    39 years next month. We went to our high school prom together in 1966, then went off to our respective colleges. Started dating again around junior year during vacations (we lived about 2 miles from each other in the home town) got married right after graduation. Unlike you, I joined the USAF after we got married, not before. Came back from our honeymoon trip to Canada to go to basic training, even. The whole thing is a bit like a true odyssey – after many years, we end up back in the place where we started. Actually about 90 miles north of where we started, but after living all over the country, close enough.

    Congratulations on your anniversary. Wishing you many more.


    • Steven,
      Thanks for sharing your story with us; it sounds like a very interesting life. My wife is from the Florida panhandle and I joined the service in Miami, but am a central Florida native. We are both way more than 90 miles from where we met.

      Thanks for the kind wishes.

  9. Pastor Parish, I have a question for you: How has your perception of what love really is changed over the 31 years you have been married? You know, the world give us one picture of “love” or so it’s called, and God gives us a very different picture of it. I’m eager to hear your view on this.

    • Jason,
      That’s a very good question. When Sister Parish and I got married, we thought we knew what love was, but have learned something much deeper over the years. To me, love is something that grows as two people get older together. Love is something that can flourish and become quite a bit larger than each of us individually.

      Love is accepting the other person’s faults and failures even though they may be on opposite ends of the spectrum from our own ideas. My wife and I are different in so many areas of our lives, but on those matters that really matter, we are more in line with each other’s thoughts and beliefs. It means even accepting the fact we don’t like the same things. She likes to shop and I’d rather be on the computer. She likes those little round green peas, and I would like nothing more than for them to be left out of all foods.

      I think, for the most part, the world’s idea of love really is lust. There is a huge difference in the two concepts. Love overlooks shortcomings, but lust mostly doesn’t.

      Hope this answers your questions.

      Pastor Ron

  10. So would you say that a synonym for real love is commitment? That no matter what happens we commit ourselves to the success of the relationship. I’ve heard so much that love is not a feeling. However, it seems that all the world can offer is feelings…fairy tale that women want. You know, the Prince Charming & Cinderella love story. I think those cartoons can be nice but it’s not reality. The only Prince Charming we have is Jesus. Thank goodness ’cause that’s a real load off my shoulders. Lord knows I can’t fit in that white uniform and I don’t ride horses much so I’ll leave it to Jesus. LOL.

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