Friday, September 10, 2021

Reflections on a 37-Year Marriage

In case it didn't register with you yesterday, tomorrow will have been 45 years since Bec and I said our "I dos." Since I never get nostalgic, I probably won't blog about it very much. 

Seriously, I think about Becky almost every day. The day we met in the cafeteria line at Biola she knew she would marry me. It took me 2 years and 8 months to figure it out. We eventually tied the knot at Grace Bible Church in Dallas. 

Heading to Hawaii for our honeymoon.

Back then, the fall semester at Biola started in mid-September. I proposed to Becky by saying, "I am beginning my teaching career in the fall and I don't want to start it without you by my side." And by my side she stayed until the Lord took her home. 

Most people have serious difficulties in their marriages, and that was true of us as well. We did not give up, however. I suppose it was our marriage vows and our allegiance to the gospel that kept us together. More than likely, it was just the pure grace of God. 

The final 20 years of our life together were spent serving others, and never were we closer. If you knew my Becky, you knew she had a remarkable gift of speaking, counseling, and mentoring. Many seminary wives and even single ladies came to her for advice because she was so approachable and so willing to make herself vulnerable if it would help others. She probably had the unique distinction of being both an uber-accomplished ICU nurse and an award-winning financial planner. Oh -- did I mention quilting, gardening, canning, homeschooling, sewing her own clothes, and organizing countless trips to Ethiopia? 


Her writing also developed significantly the more we got involved in missions. Her autobiography, published just after her death and available in the world's three most widely-spoken languages (English, Spanish, and Chinese), has blessed many. 

37 years was a long time to be with somebody. The other day a recently married couple asked me what the secret of a happy marriage is. In my opinion, one of the things that is very important is to share life together. I think it's vital to share struggles, triumphs, and creative ways to work together to serve others. I remember lying next to Becky after she had lost all of her hair and thinking, "She is more beautiful to me than a Hawaiian sunset and closer than the air I breathe." Through difficulty and heartache we had learned to see each other as precious and to appreciate one another as never before. 

Almost 8 years ago I was in the throes of trying to adjust to life as a single man. I knew that how I responded to Becky's death would make all the difference. The fact that today I am well-adjusted to life as a widower doesn't make Becky's death any less catastrophic. The fact that I have learned to live with her loss and even be enlarged by it is due solely to (as I said before) the grace of God. I have found a new life that is truly good. But I miss her no less today than when I said goodbye to her those many years ago. She left a big hole. But her testimony to God's goodness and faithfulness will live on in my heart forever.