Today Anita and I celebrate our 38th anniversary. I have no great secrets to share about how to have a great marriage. I am sure that God blessed me with a great wife. I am also sure that I have made my share of mistakes in this marriage. Perhaps my greatest regret is that I have not been nearly as patient as I wish I had been much of the time. "Why," I very often ask, "do I allow my greatest weakness to show the most often to the one I love the most?" With almost everyone else I am very patient but the "little" day-to-day things that pressure a couple will sometimes prompt me to be less than patient with my bride. I am reminded that love, by definition, "is patient." I have more work to do I assure you.
When Anita and I met, in May of 1970, we fell in love almost immediately. I was the interim youth pastor at Wheaton Bible Church, and looking forward to my senior year in college. Anita came along on the summer camp for the high school kids and served as a cabin counselor. (She already had a serious boyfriend and I did not know it.) Anita has just finished college and was going to teach 8th grade that fall. By summer we were engaged and then moved the wedding up from the summer of 1971, after my May graduation, to December of 1970. It was a cold, snowy, winter wedding. And finding a place to hold a rehearsal dinner on December 25th was not easy at all. (What were we thinking? We sure had good friends to share that time with us and give up their Christmas!)
Our honeymoon was a short trip to Chicago and then we came right back home and I soon went back to school and Anita went back to work. For the next several years Anita worked and I went on to do graduate work at Wheaton. By 1972 I had already began a full-time pastoral role as a church planter while I was also doing graduate work at the same time. I could not have done so much, especially so soon in my young life, without the help of my dear wife.
We had our trials in adjusting to one another after our glorious wedding. But we never remotely considered that there was any other way for us to go but to love one another, work out whatever problems we faced, and trust God to help us grow and change. He did and I am still amazed that this beautiful woman I fell in love with in 1970 still loves me. I know I love her more than ever. Today is truly a happy day for us.