I was home from college sitting with my step-father and mother at the supper table digging into one of my mother’s delicious meals, when the subject came up about me getting married one day. The two of them talking like I wasn’t even in the room. My mother said one thing, then my step-father said, “Someone is going to come along one day and it will be like she (me) got hit upside the head with a hammer.” Now what in the world? Little did I know how right my step-father was.
I remember the day the hammer came down. I was sitting beside an apartment complex pool with my grandparents’ good friend who some 40 or so years earlier had introduced my grandparents. I look up and here came the “hammer” named Phillip, and that Cupid friend got to work. I think the hammer hit him upside the head a little harder than it did me, but here we went. I was in love with this Wrangler, Justin Roper, Polo cologne wearing, Texan. Never would I have imagined that one. Y’all know how it is, that young love thingy. You fall pretty hard and you know, this is the one. He’s perfect, she’s perfect. When we get married it’s all going to be perfect. After that first meeting, we were pretty much inseparable, except when he went on the road to play ballgames. (Phillip was in my hometown playing for the Atlanta Braves’ A-ball team.) We spent a lot of time together. He talked a lot and asked a lot of questions. I didn’t talk a lot and mainly observed what kind of person he was. One night I remember him pulling out his ‘Good News for Modern Man’ bible. He wanted answers about being a Christian and his walk with the Lord. He was searching, trying to get better, and I liked that. Only nine months later, we were married.
Phillip and me, not long after meeting in 1985.
Mama told me the first year of marriage is always the hardest. When I look back at all the ups and downs over 33 years of marriage, yeah, she was right. After the vows are spoken, you soon find out your partner isn’t perfection. Here were two very stubborn people brought together. Here were two people who could snap. Imagine that while traveling during baseball season, two knuckleheads in a little loaded down pickup truck heading across the country. We wouldn’t be an hour into our trip and the fighting would begin. That pickup would be rockin’ down the highway. He would threaten to send me back to South Carolina, and I would threaten to go back. We got into some pretty good fights that first year, but at the same time, we were learning some lessons. The love and forgiveness that came after those arguments molded us and taught us how we needed to get better, be more patient with each other. Those future peaks and valleys that would come with our marriage, would do the same. The foundation of our marriage (and that love thingy) has only gotten stronger, not because we are perfect, but because we have come to recognize our own faults. Thank you Lord for sending me a loving and forgiving man!
Marriage between a man and a woman is a symbol of our marriage to Christ. Jesus is the groom and we His Church are the bride, the only perfect marriage. When we first become a Christian it is kind of like when we get hit upside the head with a hammer. We are changed and are excited about that change. We are filled with the love of Christ and for Christ. We ask many questions, observe, and are always searching to know more about God and how we need to walk a godly walk. However, there are those times when we find ourselves veering away from what God wants. Out comes that stubborn and argumentative behavior that gets in the way of our relationship with God. “I’m right, You’re wrong, God!” But with each argument and each lesson we learn from being stubborn, God molds us, forgives us, and loves us despite all of our imperfections. Thank you Lord for Your patience! Thank You Lord for sending us Jesus, the perfect Man.
Recently Phillip told me he had read a devotional written by Dr. Charles Stanley. The subject being about the “ideal” man. The thing I still love about my husband is that he is still searching and learning more about God, so he copied down what Dr. Stanley had to say as a reminder to himself about being a man. Not a perfect man, but how to have the qualities of a real man who loves the Lord and honors the wife God found for him.