A picture from our Honeymoon
The way James and I met is kind of interesting. Our dads worked together at RJReynolds Tobacco Company. I had met James when were around 12 years old and was totally unimpressed. Fast forward several years and my dad came in and asked if I remembered James and I said yes and he asked if I would like to date him. Hmmm...What kind of guy would your dad fix you up with????... I then asked what kind of car he drove. That was a very important question for a 19 year old girl. Dad wasn't sure but when he came home the next day he told me that he drove a 1978 Camaro. Done deal, have him call me. He called the next night and we've been together ever since. Smart dad, smart girl!
James was very different from what I expected. You see, my dad was very strict, and he had HIGH expectations about what young men that came calling should look like. Hair had to be above the ears (no hair could be touching the collar), no facial hair, etc. You get the drill. This was the late 70's. Well, when I laid these hazel eyes on that tall drink of water he couldn't have been further from the previously described. Gorgeous black hair touching his shoulders and a beard. This is the exact thought that ran though my mind. "What is wrong with my daddy. Has he lost his mind? What is he up to? Is this a test?" Our first "date" was a revival service at church. (I was the church pianist and we had a service at church that night.) I asked my dad the next day about the long hair and beard and my dad said that if he stayed around the hair would take care of itself. Who was the person? I didn't even recognize my dad. He was totally throwing me off my game. The next night when James picked me up, he had cut his hair and shaved his beard. I almost didn't recognize him. Guess he stayed around long enough. HaHa! We knew almost instantly that we would be together forever. I won't say it was love at first sight but it was definitely great interest at first sight. O.K. It was love at first sight if you believe in that kind of thing.
Fast forward 31 years and here we are. We've had the general ups and downs of young love and middle aged love and some hard and lean times. We've had great times too. A lot of great times. The bottom line is though, we've stuck it out. There have been times when either or both of us could have called it quits and walked away. You know why? Because at times it was tough. It was really tough to work through disagreements and different ideologies and different ways of doing things and financial hardships and sometimes it just seemed easier to say no more. But we didn't. We talked through it. Walked through it, and prayed through it. Apologized through it, hugged it out and moved on. I guess the thing that amazes me the most is this man gets me and he love me. He really does. He understands me and loves me for who I am and doesn't try to make me into something that I'm not. He doesn't try to change me. We have a mutual trust for each other. He makes me laugh and keeps me on my toes. He is absolutely, without a doubt, my most favorite person in the whole wide world.
Me and my sweetheart, James. This man....
If I had advice for newly married couples it would be this:
- Don't give up on your marriage so easily.
- Don't be so dogmatic in getting your way.
- "It's better to give than to receive" doesn't necessarily always mean giving a store bought gift.
- Love your spouse as you love yourself. The Bible says in Mark 12:31 to love your neighbor as yourself. It would probably be as good or better to love your spouse at least that much or more.
- You always hear "never go to bed angry." For real...never go to bed angry. If you do, you will wake up angry and stay angry throughout the day. You go to work angry and come home angry. And besides, you waste such a good night's sleep. Really!!!
- Never, ever leave the house without telling each other goodbye and I love you! I've heard so many people say "I wish I had just said 'I love you' one more time" or "I wish I had said goodbye this morning!"
- Take time for each other outside of your time with the children. Guess what? They will leave home one day and it will be just the two of you again. You will want to still know this person that you married. Your children need for you to take time together. They need to see that you love each other and want to spend time together and that your relationship is important. I've heard so many people say, "I miss my children so much." Or, "I'm so sad my kids are gone." Don't be sad! Be happy for them. Be excited for them. These are the days that you have worked for 18+ years. Be happy for YOU and your spouse. Celebrate! These are amazing reconnecting days for you as a couple. Enjoy this time!
- Last but definitely not least. Make God and church the most important part of your marriage and home. Trust me when I say this, basketball, baseball, cheerleading, volleyball, gymnastics, karate and all that "other stuff" are all great but they are not everything that the world says they are. It might pay for college, but the great price that you and your children will pay spiritually and emotionally is not worth it. I wish we knew then what we know now. One day maybe I will talk about that.
That is it in a nutshell. Happy Valentine's Day my friends. Call someone today who might not have a special valentine and tell them that you love them. Everyone needs to feel loved.
With love, Fifi
With love, Fifi