The only problem was he was only 21 and had the spirit and courage of two or three men his age.
She was striking, with her big green eyes and long dark hair, which she would iron on her ironing board until it was pin straight.
She was the epitome of the adorable 70’s girl. Fashionable and sweet, in a down to earth kind of way. She was new to the rules of the Bible college she was attending, the one she enrolled in after winning a singing competition and claiming her prize for a year scholarship.
Strange, I know.
She rocked short maxi skirts, gogo boots, loved the Beatles, and great literature.
She opened the note to reveal that the passionate, opinionated, seemingly twerp, was in fact demanding that she lengthen her skirts when she comes to class.
She told him, that if his eyes were where they were suppose to be, he wouldn’t notice how short her skirts were.
They showed us that love is what is important, all that other stuff wont get you very far. But, the love of a partner is what will keep you going through it all.
I love how they have always made time for each other, despite so many other responsibilities, they really focused on perfecting their marriage. They went on dates often.
When I was a teenager, I remember if I wanted to find them after 6pm on a week night, they would be at a near by coffee shop, holding hands, sharing a coffee, sitting on the same side of the bench and talking like they were on their first date.
I clearly recall my mother packing a lunch for my father every day, she would fill up a giant jug of water for him, when he worked grueling hours doing landscaping as a side job. In turn, I watched him treat her like a queen, giving her hugs for seemingly no reason, telling her how beautiful she looked from across the dinner table with screaming kids all around them. I learned by watching them interact, that one can be selfless and receive selfless love in return.
I still get teary eyed when I drive with my parents places.
They will sit side by side, usually my dad in the drivers seat and my mother in the passenger seat and they will turn up their cd of choice and sing loudly together, smiling, laughing at times, and just enjoying each other.
It is truly so beautiful to see your parents being friends.
I remember the long road trips we would embark on and when they would turn off the cd or radio and they would sing in two part harmony for hours; the whole time my dad tapping on the dashboard or my mom rubbing his neck, or them coming together and holding hands. They showed us often that they adored each other and that they were each others biggest fan.
I know now, that seeing that kind of love daily, is such a gift to a child.
They had six children together; my father worked as a minister and my mother would run women’s meetings and craft groups out of her kitchen and home while being a stay at home mama.
They didn’t have piles of money rolling in, but they worked harder then any other couple I have ever known.
They counseled couples on weeknights, hosted big families in for dinner, they ran youth groups and planned activities for their church and for the community, they went without being thanked, without being paid and they gave and gave and gave some more. And you know what? They did all of that happily.
They taught me that perspective is everything.
They were probably overwhelmed with responsibility for most of their lives, but they always gave back happily and consistently to anyone who needed it. They are the type of people that others can count on and the type that can do so because they count on each other.
They are the two richest people I know.
They acted it out too.
More than once, they gave their last penny to others because they trusted in God to get them through the hard times. In a world that has a difficult time letting go, they did so continually in their marriage. They prayed before meal times and bed times with six babies, they planned after dinner devotions and taught us songs and inspirational readings from the Bible. They scraped up pennies and worked longer hours to send us to a school that offered a great education. They put Christian values at the center of their relationship and always encouraged us to do the same.
To have seen, firsthand, the falls and the triumphs.
The times my father would humble himself in front of his children and apologize to my mother for a harsh tone after long day at work, the times my mom would stay up later than usual, when she was exhausted, just so they could be together, the times they learned to parent six completely different, but hardwilled children, the times where they would make small occasions and outings seem amazing, the times they got creative on how to give their children everything they desired, the sand-castle-building-beach-days, the stuffing-everyone-into-a-hotel-sleep-overs, the singing, traveling, family days and the countless hours of car games to pass the time during family trips.
The times they would leave love notes around the house for each other, the times my Dad would make acronyms out of my mothers name and treasure hunts just for her, the times they would agree to disagree, the times we would find them kissing in the kitchen and would applaud them with barfing and gagging sounds, the times where they forgave quickly, even without an apology, the times they were gracious and giving, and the times of personal sacrifice and the times of unfailing love.
It has been one of my life’s greatest blessings to watch a relationship blossom and flower, and to see the seasons of life change it for the better.
Who would have thought that one handwritten note, passed across a room, would change it all.
I’m so glad they saw something so special in each other that made them fall in love and ultimately, I’m so glad they have continued to fall in love for 4o years since, with that same assertiveness, gentleness and humor.