39 years of marriage. That is cause for celebration! When I met him 39 plus years ago on a tiny airstrip in southern Mexico, I could not have imagined that he would become my husband. At first glance we had nothing in common. But when he offered to help me do up the dishes and we began to talk, I discovered how wrong I was about that.
Our backgrounds of being trained and discipled by The Navigators, a para church organization that worked on college campuses, gave us a great deal to talk about. We compared notes about Navigator training programs, conferences, etc. Who were mutual friends and/or acquaintances? What verses had we each memorized? We discovered we had been at a big conference together a few years before we met. That spiritual common ground gave us a good foundation for building a solid and deeply satisfying relationship. I highly recommend that if you are a believer, you pray for and allow God to lead you to another strong believer who has the same set of values, principles and spiritual background. That has been invaluable in enabling us to build a strong, healthy, lasting relationship.
We were also headed in the same direction in our life purpose and goals. God had called each of us separately into the mission organization, Wycliffe Bible Translators. And although we hadn't met during our initial linguistics training, God orchestrated our meeting on that Tzeltal Indian village airstrip; one from Wisconsin, one from Texas. That common life purpose and goal has joined us and knit us together in a powerful way. Even as God redirected that goal over the years, He continued to give us unity in our calling and purpose.
Lest I lead you to believe that everything was a bed of roses, it wasn't. But the rosy times have far outweighed the not so rosy ones. We've discovered that our differences have made us more dependent upon each other. My weaknesses are complemented by his strengths and his by mine. I've often told friends that in many ways I have become who I am today because of the positive influence of my dear husband who has a heart of gold.
He is one in a million and even though he continues to walk about 2 paces ahead of me when we are going anywhere, I wouldn't trade him for anything. (I guess he learned that in the Tzeltal Indian village where the husband always walks at least 100 feet ahead of his wife.)
As long as we are walking in sync with the Lord and with each other, it really doesn't matter that much whether he walks physically beside me or ahead of me. One habit we developed from the very beginning of our marriage was that of praying together daily. There are days when that isn't possible, but for the most part that continues to be a habit that has drawn us closer both to the Lord and to each other over the years.
39 great years! Ecclesiastes 4:12 says, "A threefold cord is not quickly broken." The 3rd cord in our relationship is Jesus. He is the glue; the love potion that holds everything together! We look forward to many, many more years of glorifying God together through our marriage as chapter 5 of Ephesians describes.