I vividly remember November 11, 1989. As I look back, I remember a day of so many conflicting emotions. I was, and still am, crazy in love with Glenda. Yet, I was also a incredibly nervous and fearful of the outcome, of the finality of the decision, that was to be played out in church that day.
You see, being of an engineering mindset, I knew the baggage that I brought with me into our marriage. There were many conflicting thoughts filling my mind as I watched the clock slowly progress to that fateful moment. There were many contrasts filling my mind. I knew that all of my brothers had been through divorces, yet I was not willing to contemplate that as a future option. There were the cultural differences to consider: Glenda was from the north, and I am from the south. We would be starting our marriage with a significant debt load due to my student loans, and I had seen more than one union destroyed because of money. Glenda had a degree in theology and I was a closet backslider. There were so many contrasts to sort through, and as much as I loved her, the ominous thoughts of my inadequacies and the probable hurt that I would inflict upon Glenda plagued my mind.
My family has a custom with regards to weddings that exacerbates the conflict within one’s mind. Let me describe the scenario: I was sitting in the changing room at the front of the sanctuary waiting for the music to start, when one of my brothers sits down beside me and reminds me of the commitment I am about to make. He talks about the emotion and about the reality. When he is finished, he points to the door and says, “Mark, if you want to change your mind, you can walk through that door and go home. I’ll take care of everything.” Suddenly, all the previous thoughts I mentioned came crashing down on my shoulders. The glaring reality that my decision was about to make was not about just me, but would permanently alter the life of another person. It was at that moment that I cemented in my mind, divorce would never enter my mind as an option to the relationship I was about to seal in front of God and family.
Twenty-two years have passed since that day. Many times, I have not been the husband Glenda deserves. There have been several times in our marriage that Glenda could have taken the easy route and left me. I say this because I know who I was; yet, divorce has never been discussed as a possibility between us. You see, the word commitment is an absolute in our lives.
Each year I spend with the love of my life only cements my commitment to her. The love, the joy, the friendship, and her beauty all become dearer as the days march by. As I ponder the drama of the choice my brother gave me, I realize that I made the right choice. I chose to commit the remainder of my life to loving Glenda. That is a decision I have never regretted!
Commitment is a word often ignored today. In many places, one’s word is seen as having little value. This is a sad commentary on today’s society. I have always believed that “a man and his word can never be separated.” If a man’s “word” cannot be trusted, neither can the man.
The following verses describe my thoughts as I begin the first day of our twenty-third year together:
Proverbs 18:22 (KJV)
22 Whoso findeth a wife findeth a good thing, and obtaineth favour of the LORD.
Proverbs 19:14 (KJV)
14 House and riches are the inheritance of fathers: and a prudent wife is from the LORD.
Proverbs 31:10 (KJV)
10 Who can find a virtuous woman? for her price is far above rubies.
1 Peter 3:7 (KJV)
7 Likewise, ye husbands, dwell with them according to knowledge, giving honour unto the wife, as unto the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life; that your prayers be not hindered.
Glenda has proven her value to be “far above rubies.” I give honor to her because of her commitment to our relationship. I obtained favor of the LORD twenty-two years-ago. My encouragement to you today: keep your commitments, even when the times seem hard. If your relationship is struggling, remove divorce from the list of options. Maybe, as all storms do, your storm will pass and the warm sun will shine on your life once again. I know that over the years, many would have given up on our marriage. I am thankful that Glenda did not.
Glenda, I’ll love you always. You are, and will forever be, the love of my life. I am so glad you and I chose each other, and that we outlived the storms. I am tremendously blessed and highly favored of God to have the privilege of you being my partner for life.