We were 17 years old and had been in class together for several years, yet never really paid much attention to each other. Somehow (by divine appointment, I’m sure) we ended up in the Guidance Office together 4th period of our senior year. He was dating someone else at the time, but began to flirt with me more and more…the silly kind of “flirting” you do in high school……….stealing the ribbon from my hair, crushing crackers and dumping them in my purse. Since he LOVES to tease by nature, I really didn’t get it right off the bat, but at the Valentines dance that year, it finally clicked! And on March 7, 1970 we had our first date. Three years later, March 3, 1973 we became man and wife.
Today we celebrate our 35th wedding anniversary!!!!!!!!!
35 years is a long time to be married to someone these days so I am SO grateful to God that He has blessed us with each other and with a strong marriage. HE alone deserves all the credit. He is the only one who can bind two hearts together for a lifetime. He is the only one who can make two one. He is the third cord that binds a couple together and holds them together.
I am so blessed to be married to this man! How do I love him….let me count the ways!
He is the hardest working man I know. He has been working and supporting himself since he was in high school. He has an incredibly strong work ethic and there is nothing…absolutely NOTHING he won’t tackle (and usually succeed at)! He may not have ever tried it before, but he will give it his best shot. He can’t stand to pay someone else to do what he can do himself and seldom does. He can fix anything, build anything, and put most anything back together again. He does not have one lazy bone in his body!
He is an excellent money manager. He has had to be. His dad died when he was in high school and he was the last one at home. He felt he had to do for himself so as not to be a burden on his mother. We did not have a lot when we started out, but with his good business sense and his strong self-discipline, we did ok. I have never had to worry if we would make it, or if our bills would get paid. I knew he’d manage every penny so well that he would see to it that we did.
He started out to be a builder until the building business went bust in the 70s. He found himself out of a job in the construction business, but he never stopped working. He would get side jobs, doing additions for people, putting up fences, or cutting cordwood to sell. He did whatever he had to do to support us. I was working at the time, too, so we were ok. But he felt like he was not doing his part because he did not have a “real” job. Yet he worked constantly and we never missed a payment on a bill or ever got behind.
We had only been married 3 months when he found us a house to buy. It was a modest house, probably 700-800 square feet, but we could afford it and he did not want to waste money on rent. So we bought our first house. At this time, he was driving a used 1966 pickup truck, which we affectionately called Old Blue, and I was driving the car he had bought just out of high school, a little green used Chevy. Both of which were now paid for.
We fixed up the house, painting and decorating it with “early attic” pieces and a few new pieces we bought when we married. I can remember being so excited when our stove and washer arrived!! (You know you are really grown up when you get excited over a washer!) No, we did not have a dryer…except for the clothes line in the back yard and the one in the attic where we would later hang diapers to dry.
We looked back at what we were making back then recently and were amazed that we survived! But, times were different. We had the basics and we were happy. We did not feel deprived or left out or behind everyone else. Some drove nicer cars, but ours was fine. Some had newer houses and more appliances, but we were fine. We seldom ate out. I mean going to McDonalds was a huge treat!!!!!!! Now people eat out like it’s nothing, but then, we just didn’t. Nobody did!
We did not have cable, we did not have cell phones, we did not have a dishwasher or a microwave. But we did have a bicycle with a baby seat on the back that we rode every weekend or afternoons with our babies in tow. My husband worked 5 minutes away from our house and came home every day for lunch and played with our little ones and he had weekends off, so we played with them, rode bikes, went to ballgames and went to church. It was a slower, more relaxed time in our lives. Some of the sweetest days of our life.
I was reminded recently as I read through some old journals, of just how resourceful this man of mine is. A neighbor was throwing away an old swing set. He salvaged it, painted it, bought a swing from Sears, and found a teeter totter in the ditch and fixed it and made a super swing set for our kids. It looked brand new! He took an old bike of mine, painted it and fixed it up for our little boy….looked as good as new. He found his grandmother’s old cane rocker in the ditch (people in the country used ditches like we use dumpsters) and re-caned it, stained and varnished it for me to use when we had our first baby. One Mother’s day, 8 or 9 years after we had been in that house, he surprised me with a dishwasher. Someone we knew was getting rid of it and he fixed it and I was thrilled!!!!!!!! (Now I don’t recommend dishwashers as a gift for Mother’s Day or anniversary, or birthday, BUT at that time in our life, I was thrilled!)
Even though we didn’t have much money, this man of mine has NEVER missed an anniversary, a birthday, a Valentines Day or a Mother’s Day. Whether we went out to dinner or he cooked for me, he always made it special. We only started getting away for the weekend maybe once a year when our kids were in junior high school. And that was such a treat! But the best gift of all came after 25 years when he surprised me with a trip to Hawaii for our anniversary!!! I will never forget that trip!!!!!!!! I had dreamed of Hawaii since I was a little girl and he made my dream come true.
He is a country boy at heart, still more comfortable in blue jeans than a suit. He is a lover of the outdoors. He loves deer hunting and loves sharing it with our kids. He loves the peace and quiet. He works so hard these days…seven days a week and often 12 hours a day……..so the respite in the quiet of the woods is soothing to his mind and body.
He loves the Lord Jesus Christ. Because of his job, he doesn’t get to go church like he’d like to. A lot of people would use that as an excuse to drift away from the Lord. But he has consistently made a way to carve out a little piece of time each day at work to get alone and read his Bible and do his Bible study.
He loves his children, their spouses and his granddaughter. He has always been there for them. He has always made time for them and made them a priority. It has not been easy with the hours he works. He had to trade shifts, miss sleep, and do a lot of things to be able to be there for them when they were in school, but he did. And it meant the world to our kids. Don’t ever let anyone tell you it doesn’t matter if you are there are or not. Kids will say “It’s ok. It doesn’t matter.” But it DOES matter. And they will never forget that you were there or that you weren’t there. Even now that they are grown, when they have faced trouble or crisis, I’ve heard his words “What do you need me to do” or “How can I help?” and my love doubled for him. He would lay his life down in a heartbeat for any of us and I know that without a doubt.
No, life has not been perfect. It has had its share of ups and downs, heartaches, disappointments and crises. But what has made the difference for us is that 35 years ago today, we stood and made a commitment to each other before the Lord and before our families. We took that commitment seriously. It was “til death do us part”. And God has honored that commitment. He has blessed us. He has grown us up. He has taught us how to be better spouses. He has taught us how to give and take. He has made us one.
Today I not only celebrate the 35 years God has blessed us with, but I celebrate the man God blessed ME with!!!!!!!!!!! My life would not have been the same without him. I thank God for him. I thank God for his love, his faithfulness, his care, his forgiveness, his prayers, his devotion to me and to our family, his respect, his love for the Lord and his provision for our family. I pray that God will continue to bless us with many more years to share together and to share with those we love………to live, laugh, and love! To God be the Glory!
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