23 years ago Tina and I got up on a Saturday morning to prepare for a wedding. Our wedding. I slept in my store that night, woke up and headed to my friend’s house to make preparations for that day. My wife hung out with girlfriends and got ready.
The day was a blur. Our engagement was a blur. Everything at the speed of light. I had come back from Florida and we began seeing each other at the end of May. A few short months later we were readying for our day.
It was a sunny day and we had lots of friends at our wedding. My mom and my step father, my dad and his wife, my brothers and my sister as well as my daughter Amy. Tina’s dad and his new wife were there as well as her family. Tyler was dressed up in a little suit coat. Alyssa and Amy had matching dresses. I can’t really tell you much of that morning. Perhaps not much of the day at all. (Take pictures people!)
What I can tell you is that Tina and I chose this day to get married knowing that it was a third marriage for each of us. We wondered if this was God. The service moved on. When our pastors went to offer us the cup and the bread of communion, the presence of God appeared. We both took it as a sign of His goodness.
Third marriage? We have beaten all the odds and defied the naysayers. We were married in a church in Rutland Vermont by our pastors.
Our best man and our maid of honor were a husband and wife who we had come to know over the years. No people ask how did you guys meet. We met in that church. Tina had begun on the road to salvation a couple of years before I did. She got saved on a Christmas Eve on a night where she had totally planned on ending her life. I gave my life to the Lord in a grocery store. None of those things were planned. But somehow God orchestrated the procedure. We often kid that we never thought it would come to pass because she thought I was weird and I think I thought the same thing. But somehow we got past our weirdness and came to the altar 23 years ago.
It was not because it was so long ago but each time I look at the pictures I wonder about the threads of the tapestry of our lives and how they were woven together. 23 years later we have a collective of five children, two hers and three mine. We have seven grandchildren. We ended up moving not too long after our wedding from the community we lived in in Rutland to Springfield where we planted our own church for many many years. Almost 4 years ago we moved to Keene New Hampshire.
One of the questions people ask is how did you make it. To quote Billy Graham’s wife “Divorce? No. Murder? Yes.” We decided many years ago that we would not repeat the mistakes not only of our own lives in two previous marriages but the marriages of our parents. We decided that it was for life and for our kids and we would make the sacrifices that were necessary to bring that to completion.
Now many people assume that we don’t argue, never disagree, always believe the same thing, or have the same thinking on a subject. How far from the truth would you be?
Only the other day I received a thank you card from a man I have not seen in 20 years. He was like a dad to me and you will read quite a bit about him in an upcoming book on fathers. He wrote me to thank me for the book and to say he was excited to hear that Tina and I were doing so well. He and his wife were two people who were at our wedding as were many other members of our church family.
We do not always see things through the same way together but we love each other. We are dedicated to one another and to our family and to the generations to come.
As we celebrate this day it will be with friends in our church as we are part of the leadership meeting, being with family, and maybe by tomorrow night a minute or two to hang out together. Our life is tremendously different from 23 years ago. We have weathered a lot of storms and seen a lot of calm. God is good all the time and He has never left us nor forsaken us. Anybody that knows us knows there have been a number of opportunities to believe differently but we have found him to be truthful and magnificent in everything He touches including our marriage.
Tina I am glad today is our day. I love you a lot.