Two Is My Lucky Number!

I can still remember standing at the end of my dormitory hallway window with a friend in September of 1981 and watching a little blonde walk down the sidewalk at Evangel University. It was my freshman year and several of us had pledged to not date our first year of school. You know, focus upon God. Well, that lasted about three days. As my friend and I were looking out the window, my eyes were drawn to this 5'8" beauty. So, I turned to my friend and simply said, "I'm going to marry that girl some day." He quickly said, "Not Jane, she is a sophomore and too good for you."

It all began looking out a window at the end of a hallway in Scott hall. True story. But, that is not the best part of the story. This too, is true.

So, about three days later, my friend and I are standing in line in the cafe waiting to eat. I spotted the cute blonde in line ahead of us and did everything I could to get to her table. We went through the line and approached her table where she was sitting with friends. My friend was a sophomore also and knew Jane and her friends. So, we sat down and began eating with them. As we were introduced that day, the first words out of my mouth to Jane were these, "Nice to meet you, you are the second girl I have met today, and two is my lucky number."

I know, I know. Let's just say we didn't get off on the right foot together. But, the following week I asked her out and three years later we got married. It has been a great 30 years of friendship and we celebrate 27 years of marriage today.

Here are two lessons I have learned in marriage. There are many more lessons learned, but, here are two of the most important to me:

First, learn to forgive each other. This will be easy to do when you realize that people hurt people. We are human. And none of us is perfect. Some times we even hurt the people we love the most. Get used to saying "I am sorry, please forgive me." I'm not sure that you should take the advice of a friend of mine and start each week on Monday apologizing to your wife for how many times you are going to hurt her in the coming week. That may not be well-intentioned, or sincere, but there is a bit of truth in the thought. Remind yourself that you are not perfect and that you must learn to forgive daily.

The second lesson I have learned in 27 years of marriage is that we must determine to have fun. We make each other laugh all the time. When we were first married we would sit in bed at night and sing hymns laughing out loud. One night as we were singing we heard a dog start howling right outside of our window. It may be memories like that or memories with the children, but, laughing is wellness to a marriage. In some ways, it says that nothing is going to weigh us down.

So, on my anniversary today, I challenge each of you to forgive and to laugh. These two lessons have helped Jane and I through many experiences in life together:

-From finishing college married and pursuing our dream of ministry in 1985
-To the birth of our three children
-Pastoring people through tragic times in their life
-The loss of family members and students in our ministry to death
-Traveling full-time in a mobile ministry across the country when the kids were young
-Planting a church from scratch
-The two back surgeries that stopped our youngest son from playing sports
-Moving our daughter in the middle of high school to another state
-And now college graduation and the release of our oldest son to his calling and out of the home

Each of us go through all kinds of struggles and trials. I have found that forgiveness and laughter are two great companions on the road of life.