Our relationship started like most others – love at first sight! We were both serving in a Christian street witnessing ministry, called Christ is the Answer (CITA). CITA started out of the “Jesus People” movement. We traveled in a caravan, had a huge tent for revivals, married couples had RVs and us singles were separated into two tents, one for the men and one for the women. We had all the facilities we needed, trucks converted into a kitchen, showers, laundry room, an office and a classroom for the children. Interesting, when we met, we were really full-time travelers then!
We were not supposed to really check out the opposite sex, but we did (human nature). Bill remembered the first time he saw me. I was sitting on a little hill of rubble in Anacostia Park, Washington, DC. I was contemplating life as I had just been proposed to by a man I had never seen, until he walked up to me and pronounced that God had selected me to marry him! I told him God had not told me so it must not be true!
The first conversation Bill and I had was in the laundry room. I was doing laundry and he needed a jacket repaired, just a few stitches. I was happy to accommodate him. We didn’t really see each other again for a few months. And by then, I knew he was the one….and being an extreme introvert, Bill was interested but….I had to make the first move and it went well (from my view point. He needs to tell his side of the story).
We do like to try and follow the rules, so we had to go to our Elder and announce our intentions. Long story short, I was then put on a list to be sent over seas and we were to have a year long “separation” to make sure it was the real thing. We disagreed and we ended up leaving this ministry. My mom drove from Hampton, Virginia to Weldon, Illinois to take me home. Bill came along and ended up driving. We stopped in Ohio to see my oldest sister and that’s when Bill proposed. Then we drove onto to Pennsylvania to meet Bill’s parents and drop him off. We’d start the wedding plans long distance as I went on home with mom.
We figured we would just go along with our parents legacies. Both Bill’s parents and mine also met, “fell in love” then married within months. Bill’s parents made it to nearly 50 years before his dad passed and my folks were just days shy of their 54th anniversary when my dad passed. But like most young people, we decided our marriage, our love, was different! We were REALLY in love and we were going to do it different from our parents….afterall, they did not appear to have that same really vibrant love we had. Or did we and we just didn’t recognize it?
One thing we learned about each other early on was that we both loved the BEACH! Bill had been living in Jacksonville, Florida so I knew he was a Floridian at heart. I did not live far from the beach in Hampton, Virginia and eventually, we moved to Virginia Beach – where our daughter was born. Today, right this minute, we are on a mini-vacation (something we have done over the years, relatively frequent 3 and 4 day vacations) at Melbourne Beach!
We have two anniversaries. We were married the first time, April 11, 1975 and the second time, August 19, 1989. From appearances, it looked like we were a match made in heaven. Bill’s buddies commented how lucky he was to have a wife like me – not high maintenance. And my friends envied how my husband helped so much around the house and seemed to be so “possessive” of me (not in a smothering way – or was it?)
So what happened in August 1988? I felt smothered, stifled and decided that Bill was not the father our daughter needed, nor the man I thought I married. We separated and our divorce was final on December 13, 1988.
We meet in CITA, a Christian street witnessing ministry in June 1974. I knew I had to marry a man of faith, a man who did not drink, smoke, curse and wanted him to be faithful. That was all I asked for and for a time, that was the man he was. For whatever reason, he began to drink, smoke and curse! We fell away from church. I hung onto my faith, but stopped going as well. I decided I might as well smoke (it only lasted a few days) and drink with him (I did until the divorce).
The best part of our story is now God healed our relationship, helped us to forgive each other and then restored our marriage!
Time to go to the beach. We took a 2 1/2 mile walk on it this morning, then I swam some laps while Bill fixed breakfast and we talked about the potential of this blog. I wanted to help get it started! We always felt we should help others in their marriages since we had our issues, and then had our miracle! We hope we can help others in some way….
Stay tuned as I share some more….and expecially look for our BEST principle…the key to our happiness as a married couple!