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.