Some things I’ve learned

Published 6:20 pm Friday, March 17, 2017

What were you doing on March 3, 1978?  Some of you might remember, most probably do not.  I remember the day well.  It was a cold day in northeast Georgia where I lived at the time; on that Friday morning there was ice in the treetops.  Cold and ice were not such irregularities in that part of the state for late winter, so it was not the atmospheric conditions that burned that day into my mind; instead, it was something very personal to me.  It was on March 3 thirty-nine years ago that Gale and I were married. 

To say that a lot has happened during those nearly forty years would certainly be an understatement.  Our time together has been and continues to be a most beautiful and precious aspect of my life for which I am very thankful.  The words of Proverbs 18:22 certainly apply in my case:  “He who finds a wife finds what is good and receives favor from the Lord” (New International Version).

Our experiences have been many and various during the decades that we have walked together.  At the ripe old age of 19 I am sure that I thought that I knew much more than I really did on our wedding day, but we have spent our years as husband and wife, mother and daddy and now Nana and Papa learning important lessons about life, about serving God, and about loving and respecting each other.

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One of the things that I have learned is that it does not take the most expensive wedding to lead to a wonderful relationship that will last the stormy weather of life. This is not to imply that expensive weddings are in themselves a bad thing–they are not, as long as they can be funded without indebtedness.  I doubt whether we spent $100 on our simple and short ceremony as we stood before God, a few family members and a dear old family pastor who is now enjoying the presence of God in eternity, Rev. J. Haskell Cooley.  Our ceremony might have been thought of as cheap by some, but we took seriously the vows we pledged and God has blessed us abundantly.

Another thing that I have learned is that the age that a couple marries is not the determining factor regarding the health of the relationship.  We were still in our teens in 1978.  I will quickly say that I am in no way suggesting that our case should be the ideal for everyone.  I simply say that success in marriage depends on much more than the age of the newlyweds.

And I have learned that it does not take top of the line housing, furnishings or automobiles to make a fulfilling life together.  We have used our share of hand-me-down things over the years, but mixed matched as they were and obviously showing wear from the previous owner, all of those things served the purpose without the added burden of excessive bills to pay as we worked together to get our feet on the ground.

God has blessed us over the years in more ways that I can count.  Am I a thankful man?  Without a doubt!  Loving God and loving each other pays off–give it a try.  I am convinced that Gary Chapman writes with accuracy in his fine book The Five Love Languages as he states, “Without love, mountains become unclimbable, seas uncrossable, deserts unbearable, and hardships our plight in life.”