Monday, April 26, 2010
17 Years . . .
This Saturday Mary Ann and I celebrate our 17th wedding anniversary. As I tell her often, "If God lined up all the women in the world and told me I could pick any one I'd walk up and down the line and not stop until I'd found you again." She is my bride, my best friend, my "buddy," my pal, my partner. I can't imagine my life without her, and I think she is the greatest wife I could ever have, and the greatest mom our girls could ever have.
This is not to say we have not had, or don't still have (or won't again have), struggles, rough times, disagreements, but with all of that I would do it again in a heart beat. As I look back on these years there are a few things that stand out in my heart:
1) God—not some generic "god," but the Christian Father, Son, and Holy Spirit—is what has carried us through and made us what we are. I can not thank Him and Mary Ann enough for the day when we sat in Pastor Bill Holdridge's office at Calvary Chapel in Monterey. We were engaged, deeply in love, and I was seeking God, but I wasn't a Christian . . . and Bill knew it. He had Mary Ann read the unequally yoked passage in 2 Corinthians 6:14. She got part way through and, with tears, turned to me and said that she would wait as long as it took, but she couldn't marry me until I became a Christian. I can not describe the anger and hurt I felt, nor, for Mary Ann, what a wrenching decision that was for her to choose to love God more than me. But, it was a catalyst to my seeking the truth about the man called Jesus until I found it . . . and it was the greatest moment of my life to date. I can not imagine if I had entered that marriage not being a Christian, and how much we would have missed together at a level it is impossible to share apart from that spiritual union.
2) Time together—making our relationship a priority—has been a rock of our relationship. I grew up watching my folks end each day after work taking an hour long cup of coffee together and sharing and catching up. Mary Ann and I have made our "coffee time" a priority that we don't let a lot get in the way of. I believe that has contributed deeply to our friendship, and I find that it is the time of day I look forward to most. In fact, given a choice with going anywhere in the world, but not having Mary Ann with me, or being with Mary Ann sharing a cup of coffee by our fireplace or on our screen porch, and I would choose the time with her every time (unless we felt God was calling me to go somewhere). In fact, I can't think of really anything that we would rather do apart than doing something together—be it stringing barbed wire on our fence, or going through papers and filing. We just love to be together.
3) Choosing love—by God's grace and help I believe that choosing to love the other over ourself has proven the turning point in many a difficult moment. Love is a force which God is all about and all over. He just comes in to its midst. When we choose to love the other more than ourself or our own flesh or rights or emotions, we have come well past half way in turning a situation around.
I could write for days on end about my marriage to my best friend, but I think I've said enough. Nothing I have written in any way says that other marriages with different choices are any less loving or true than ours—I am just sharing from a joyous heart a little about ours. Mary Ann has loved me, supported me, upheld me, and been God's voice to me more times than I can count—and I thank God for her more times than I can count as well.