Monday, April 11, 2011

Story Time!

Good morning and happy Monday to you. There are so many issues that I would love to cover concerning our role in marriage that I have had a hard time figuring out just where to jump in. Then it occurred to me, First, I need to share my story with you. It might help you understand the lessons I have learned.

So, grab a cup of coffee or some tea and go back over 33 years ago to the beginning.

I had just completed my first year at a small Christian college majoring in Bible. I really wanted to get married and have a family so what better degree to get then a degree in Bible. I had been hired on at a local Christian camp as the waterfront director. Unfortunately the dorm closed three weeks before camp started so I was without a place to sleep for those several weeks. I had been worshipping with a tiny congregation some distance from the campus. I had met a nice couple, Larry and Laura with three children who offered me a roof over my head and a bed to sleep for those three weeks.

This couple was really the first couple I had ever been around for any length of time. Watching how a “real” family interacted was a great experience for me. Laura was amazing in the kitchen. I had my very first from scratch meal with roast, mashed potatoes and gravy (real gravy) at her table. Larry and Laura opened their home on a regular basis which would later become my model for hospitality.

The second day I had settled in Larry and Laura told me that their older son was coming home from the military for a brief visit before heading out to his first duty station. I had no idea they had an older son. All the kids were very excited about big brother coming home. I remember sitting up and waiting till this mystery man arrived. Once we all said our hellos I promptly excused myself and went to bed.

Now, I would love to tell you that it was love at first sight. I’d love to give you this really great and mushy love story. You know the kind; his eyes met her eyes, drinking deeply into her soul….and they lived happily ever after! That only happens in movies and trashy romance novels. Oh, and a few rare birds.

It all started with a huge project for the church, painting the insides of “JOY” buses for the congregation. It took up almost the entire three weeks to get it all done. In the meantime we had tons of times to talk. It didn’t take to many days to realize that our core values were the same. We had the same expectations of roles and we both understood that marriage was a death do we part kind of a deal. We both loved the Lord and wanted to serve Him above all else.

When the three weeks were up I went to the church camp and DH drove to Tacoma Washington. We spent the next 6 weeks writing back and forth. Towards the end of my time at camp he surprised me by flying out and proposing to me. Just a couple of weeks later he flew back again and we got married. Now I don’t know if you have been adding up the weeks but let me just tell you that from the day we met in late May till the wedding August 29th we had barely gone through 3months. Talk about a whirlwind courtship!

Because our time was so limited we knew very little “about” each other. I had no idea for instance that he kept the toilet seat up. He had absolutely no idea that I squeezed the toothpaste from the center and not from the bottom. I had no idea that from the hours of 5am till noon each day any form of talking was frowned upon. Hubby had no idea that I thought that morning was a time to sing, whistle, hum praises to God or just talk incessantly. I had thought everyone wants to whistle in the morning, could I have been wrong? Holidays, how in the world was I supposed to know there was only one way to celebrate Christmas?

The morning after the wedding I awoke and turned and there was my brand new husband, sound asleep. I turned my face toward heaven and said, “O Dear God, what have I done? I don’t even know this man.” The really funny part though had happened just an hour before when my dh woke up and turned and saw me in the bed. “O Dear God, what have I done?” I don’t even know this woman.”

Do you think this marriage ever had a prayer? Absolutely it did and it has. This marriage has thrived for the past 33 + years because of three pillars.

1. God is more important than each other. He is the one to be worshipped. God comes first no matter what

2. Divorce is never an option period over and out. We promised to never even jest about divorcing

3. We both agreed on the roles we each have.

Sounds so simple doesn’t it? The first few years were very rough. There were times when each of us had to remind ourselves of the commitment we had made. It would have been so easy to just give up. After our baby daughter Celeste died I wanted to just run away and never look back.

We have learned a lot over the years. Neither of us would trade the other one in for a new model. Both of us care deeply about the state of marriages in the church today. We see families torn apart. We see children become pawns in custody battles and just weep.

So, saying all of that (I am sorry it was so long) the next few weeks I would like to share some thoughts on Biblical marriages.

Wont you join me?

In Christ Alone,

Jill

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