“For this reason a man shall leave his father and his mother and be joined to his wife; and the two shall become one flesh.” Genesis 2:24
Yesterday was my 33rd Wedding Anniversary! Each anniversary I am forever grateful to God for the husband he gave me and for another year of marriage. An anniversary is a day in which a significant event is remembered and often celebrated. As we celebrate our anniversary I wanted to honor my husband and share the miracle of our story.
I actually met my husband for the first time 34 years ago when we were college seniors attending a conference held at the Virginia Military Institute for ROTC cadets. The first miracle of our story began during the opening event, in an arena of hundreds of cadets. I am still amazed that a country girl from Wisconsin would sit beside a polished young man from Maryland and in five minutes realize we shared the same patriotic heart and future assignment. We would both graduate college and be commissioned into the US Army in May 1985, and travel shortly thereafter to attend the flight school at Ft. Rucker, Alabama.
The reason I am forever grateful for my husband, especially as we celebrate 33 years, is due to one significant detail that was a part of my heart when we first met. I was a very strong willed young woman who often made the bold statement that I was never getting married. In fact, I proudly displayed a sign in my college dorm room that said, “I can do anything better than a man just watch me.” Then by God’s grace, He put into motion the plan for my life to meet Rich once again at Ft. Rucker. Not only did we meet again, but on the first day of our Officer Basic Course, Rich and I were assigned to the same company, same platoon, same squad, and actually stood side by side every morning for the next two months for physical training. It was during this time that I realized there was something very different about him. Not only was he a young man of integrity but he was a man of extreme faith in Jesus Christ. He boldly shared his faith with all in our platoon and invited us weekly to attend church with him. My acceptance of that invitation is what brought me to the knowledge of the saving grace of Jesus Christ in my own heart and life.
Another miracle in my story was how God healed me. My heart was hard and so full of embitterment toward my Dad, tainting my view of men and bringing me to the conclusion that I never wanted to be married. Once I surrendered my heart to Jesus, He began to heal my wounded heart and transform my thoughts as I read His word each day. This opened my heart to the possibility of marriage. The final miracle of our story is what God did in my life to bring me to a place that allowed my heart to trust His best plan for me. God brought the exact man I needed into my life to heal the negative image etched in my mind of marriage. He brought my husband, a man of Godly character, a strong leader, a provider and protector, who demonstrated all the traits I admired but did not experience from my parent’s marriage relationship. I marvel at the transformation. Ironically, I recall looking Rich in the eye before this transformation and telling him, “I will never put myself in a position where I have to rely on a man for ANYTHING.” God is truly a God of miracles.
God grew my faith and knowledge of His word so I could understand His purpose for marriage. As soon as we were married we chose to get involved in a couples small group and that built in us a firm foundation at the start of our marriage. Our marriage was not to be about us but about what God wanted to do in us and through us as a couple and family. Our marriage is not perfect and we have walked through our share of challenges, but by God’s grace we continue to choose to ask the Holy Spirit to help us respond to one another’s failures with His forgiveness and grace.
So this weekend I am celebrating us!
I encourage you to stop and reflect on what you are grateful for in your marriage. May you allow the Holy Spirit to guide your thoughts and words so your marriage is a reflection of the Lord and the love for His church.