A Man To Marry
I was looking for a man when I first came to Nelson. The previous December, I’d graduated from dental school and was practicing for the first time as a dentist. I hadn’t had many boyfriends in my life, and I’d prayed to God that the next man I dated, I would like to marry.
I started attending the local Baptist church, and I found the youth events somewhat boring, so I decided to get involved to see what I could do about it. I met my now husband John early on in my time in Nelson, one night at an evening service at the church. However, I wrote him off. Too skinny ( I have always struggled with my weight), a farmer with a beard. No, he was not for me. I kept looking.
However, as the year went on, I found that many women around me seemed keen on John. This was another reason to avoid him. I did not want to break any unwritten code and step on anyone's toes, so I did not consider him as a potential man for me.
One night I held a party at our flat, a French-inspired party, and he arrived at midnight. We talked with another friend as well until 4 am. I had a niggling thought that, yes, he was quite nice until, once again, I looked at his skinny legs. No, not the one for me.
Later that year, two of my flatmates left; one to get married, and another moved away to Wellington. I also left the flat, moving closer to my work, so I did not have so far to travel.
For some reason, perhaps because I was lonely, John and I started talking on the phone, and then we would catch up at the dances that were held quite regularly at the church hall nearby.
I started to think about John and his qualities. I had written a prayer list of the sort of man I would like to marry, which included arty or musical and loves the sea. Those two, I had to cross off the list. I invited him to a friend’s wedding dance with me. I remember the event, a wonderful celebration at a historical house in Founders Park, wooden floors on which we danced the night away; me in my pink satin ball gown I had made earlier for a school ball. It was a magical night, although I realized that John couldn’t dance after all.
A few weeks later, we were talking about a wedding that was going to be happening soon, and he suggested I gate-crash the dance. I was disappointed as I thought John must be taking another date since he didn’t invite me. So I went out to dinner with one of his friends and we then went to the dance. It was fabulous, and after the wedding, we went out to dance at a nightclub, something I didn’t usually do. That was when I realized I wanted to dance with John rather than with anyone else. John didn’t have a date after all.
When the nightclub closed, John came back to my place, and we watched the Witness with Harrison Ford, and before we knew it, the sun was up. My friends and I went off swimming, and then later in the day, John and his sister came over, and we all went to the A and P show, our first unofficial date. This event became a tradition, and we tried to go every year.
A week later, John came to visit and asked me to go out with him. I said yes, but it was also quite scary, considering my prayer earlier in the year. Could he, in fact, be the one I was going to marry?
I prayed about it, of course, and I felt God said April. I would know by April. And as it turned out when April came, I knew in my heart I wanted to marry John. Not surprisingly, it was April when he asked me to marry him.
So here we are now, 34 years later, still married. It hasn’t always been easy, and I believe, in fact, it is a miracle we are still married. But I believe this of most couples, that we all have to choose to work on our relationships. Choose love, life, and forgiveness, and remember, at times when the children are preschoolers or under stress, sometimes there will not be much energy left over for you as a couple.
1 Corinthians 13:4-8 Love is patient; love is kind. It does not envy; it does not boast; it is not self-seeking; it is not easily angered; it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices in the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes; always perseveres. Love never fails.