Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Thirty-Six Years Ago Today

     It was a Sunday afternoon. And it was hot, hot, hot. Those were the days before airconditioners really functioned at their maximum energy efficient cooling capacity and houses with central air instead of window units were considered "deluxe." When we left for the church it was raining but come hell or high water, we were going to have the reception at home. My husband-to-be and I had specifically planned the wedding for a Sunday afternoon so that our friends who had traveled from far and wide would have time to enjoy the beach. The only problem was that it began raining on Friday morning and pretty much rained non-stop until we left for the church. Seven inches fell that weekend to be exact. Not exactly sunbathing weather for all of the college friends and Tennesseans who had made the trek. But we would not be deterred.
    The bride wore white and the groom wore a morning coat with striped trousers. There were pink roses everywhere. In fact there was a lot of pink period. A pink and white striped tent in the backyard. Pink bridemaid's dresses. Pink garden hats. Even pink champagne. I look back and the pictures now and have to laugh. What looks so tacky now was so beautiful to me then.
   But while the dresses and the decor are out-dated and outmoded, the marriage is not. I am thankful for the words that I spoke to my husband those thirty-six years ago while my favorite piece of music played softly in the background. Moreover, I am completely and utterly convinced that my husband and I would be another sad statistic but for the grace of God. These are not empty words. They are the complete and utter truth. Neither he nor I had the wisdom, the grace, the forgiveness, the compassion, the tenderness, the forgiveness, the honesty, the love, the forgiveness, the laughter, the tears, the forgiveness...(are you getting my drift here?!) to make it through thirty-six years of marriage. Oh, we thought we did or we would have never made it to that altar. But the warp and woof of marriage have revealed us to be who we are:  two willful, stubborn, and sinful individuals who each like to be right...all of the time!
     I give God all the credit. He is the glue. Thankfully both my husband and I have a healthy fear of breaking a covenant entered into with a Holy and Righteous God. Neither of us have wanted to be the one to do it, and for that I am so very thankful. That fear of God and the belief in the covenant of marriage are what have gotten us through some pretty tough patches. Times when I have been mad enough or frustrated enough or misunderstood enough to wonder what in the world I was thinking when I married this man. If you are married you know what I mean. It's the worse, the poorer, and the sickness parts of the vows. They are in there because it happens. We all want it to just be the better, the richer, and the healthy, don't we? And yet...and yet here I sit thirty-six years later, and I can honestly say that I would do it again. I got out the wedding album yesterday. I looked at the beautiful young couple who gazed so adoringly into one another's eyes. Their joy just radiated off of the page. I know. I was there. I am still there though not so beautiful, so young, or so adoring in quite the same way. But I love this man to whom I am married. I loved him then, and I love even more the man he has become. He is stronger and wiser and even kinder than he was then. He still has my heart. I would give it to no one else. So today I am thankful. So very thankful for my precious, faithful, godly husband.
  I close with the words from the Book of Ruth I spoke to him those many years ago in that sweet little church:
 Entreat me not to leave thee, 
or to return from following after thee
 for whither thou goest, I will go;
 and where thou lodgest, I will lodge
thy people shall be my people, and thy God my God:
 Where thou diest, will I die,
 and there will I be buried
may the LORD do so to me, 
and more also, if ought but death part thee and me.

They were true then. They are true today. And by God's grace, they will be true tomorrow. 


  1. Beautiful! But why are you having the Ishies over on your anniversary??? Your beloved is very gracious, indeed to share his wife on this special night.

  2. we just celebrated our 4th and I feel this way, we have learned so much! It is so encouraging to know by God's grace we have more to look forward to and much more to learn!


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