On June 16 it will be 30 years ago that I married my beautiful bride, Sherry, in an old country church in south Georgia. She has been my centerboard, without which I would have capsized and been left adrift long ago. She answered my grandmother’s prayer that I would find someone who could make me laugh. She brought up our three children to know God’s love and gave them wings to pursue their dreams.
On that day we weren’t merely entering into a social contract. It wasn’t the culmination of some ephemeral romance that Hollywood seems to worship. We’d read the “handbook” ahead of time that had said no test drive was necessary. We made a covenant before God to make an exclusive commitment to one another. In doing so we put the lie to the idea of “free love.” Giving yourself to an imperfect human being will always entail a cost. I like what Ruth Graham once said regarding her famous husband: “I never considered divorce once — murder, yes!”
In getting married we also rejected the lie that marriage is just a piece of paper. With that license, at least in 1984, we made an official declaration that we were entering a unique and time-honored relationship between a man and a woman. It is a heritage that inspires, humbles and binds us together. Being true to the origin and purpose of marriage is one way we will continue to honor our vows.
Now I know that success in marriage is not guaranteed. Pain abounds all around us, and this writer is acutely aware of how undeserving he is of what I’ve experienced for half my life. This letter was not prompted by self-boasting or a political agenda, but a sincere desire to share the joy I’ve found in marriage. If it lessens the cynicism of one person, perhaps from the next generation, it will have been worth the time. This is one way I can express gratitude to God for the marvelous institution of marriage, and to my wife for going on this grand and glorious adventure with me!