What do you think of this handsome couple on the right? That’s Merry and me, 30 years ago on September 8, 1979, walking back down the aisle at the chapel of First Baptist Church of Atlanta. I don’t know what happened to this young guy with the bell-bottom pants. I definitely had more hair and fewer pounds in those days. And I don’t know why I’m not smiling a little more clearly here, because I sure was happy—the ceremony was finally over!
That old chapel is now gone, but our marriage is going strong three decades later. And for that I give thanks to the God who brought two very different people together and created a new marriage and a new family.
I was thinking today about some of the ways Merry and I are different. I like listening to music all day long, for example, while she likes it very sparingly and very soft.
She is sociable and outgoing, a “people person.” I am task-oriented, shy, and introspective.
I enjoy exercising regularly, and she hates it.
She’s a Georgia girl who never thought she would marry a Yankee. I grew up at the opposite side of the nation in Oregon, and never thought I’d marry a Southern Sweetie.
She enjoys movies that are happy and light and romantic, while I also like films with explosions, car crashes, crime, and grit.
She eats a wide variety of vegetables, while I have a short, carefully-distilled list of approved vegetables.
She uses her cell phone regularly, while I often forget to carry mine.
She spends her days meeting with women (to encourage them in their faith), while I spend my days putting words on an empty screen (to encourage people in their faith).
She will watch an occasional football or basketball game, while I enjoy football, basketball, track, golf, volleyball, softball, baseball, soccer …
She reads historical romance novels, while I prefer mysteries and thrillers.
I could go on—I haven’t even mentioned our family backgrounds or the usual male-female issues—but you get the picture. Merry and I are typical of many couples because we are so different in so many ways. Some of these differences have led to conflict, but what amazes me is how we’ve learned to adjust and compromise and accommodate. As the years have gone by we’ve remained different and yet, mysteriously, have become more alike. I guess that’s what happens as a husband and wife become one.
We’ve made our share of mistakes through the years, and there are many ways we need to trust God more than we have. But as I approach Thanksgiving this year, I am grateful more than ever for the woman God gave me 30 years ago.
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