Many people ask me the question, “How are you doing?” I have a lot of humorous answers but my favorite is, “What can I say, I am married to Dottie, How could I not have a fabulous day?” There is much truth to that answer because my wife has been my helpmate for over 42 years. Married to me for that long of a time period ought to qualify her for sainthood. Believe me, I am a really nice guy, but you would not want to be married to me, I can be demanding, have a tendency to want my own way, have a call of God on my life which means we live in a bubble. Everyone watches how the Pastor and his wife live. Well after being the Pastor of a great church for sixteen (16) years, you just can’t hide who you really are, so you better be legitimate in what you preach and what you live. Dottie, my wife, is one in a million when it comes to companionship.She does not like to shop, she likes sports like football and baseball more than I do, she insists on doing all the yard work. She is the mother of two, the grandmother of 4, and the counselor of many.
Most of our life, I might as well say, “all of life” has been a joy to live. The joy far supersedes any frustrations that have come our way. At the end of any hard day, I get the privilege of going home and being with someone that loves me. Yes, I have come home grouchy, irritable, sick, tired, frustrated, angry, disappointed, hurt, even feeling defeated, but none of these things outweigh the love and joy we share until death when we part. These are not just gushy words of some virtual reality. No! I really mean them. The good far outweighs the bad when you are really in love with a person that really loves you back.
Do we get angry with each other? I knew you were thinking that so I wrote it down. I can answer that question absolutely not but I would be lying. The truth is we have disagreed on a lot of things and some of the things we disagree on has caused some really good loud debates. I have gone for walks and Dottie has given our counter top microwave a judo chop that dented the top of it. Yes we get angry with each others opinions, actions, reactions and non-action. I really hate to admit this but I am not always right, I do not always do the right thing, and I surely do not always say the right thing. I have my preferences, I like certain foods, I like the house a certain way, and the list goes on. I live with someone who has all of these things too. We are two individuals that have a stronger bond in our marriage. This may not make sense to you but at the end of the day, we have each other. Hey, that’s pretty cool!
We also have God in the center of our marriage. I always say it is hard to get up angry if you have been on your knees praying for each other. We both love our work as the Pastoral couple of Journey of Hope Community Church. We share the joys and the burdens of being a pastor. It is not easy but it is a joy to serve the Lord in this way. Marriage is like that, it is not always easy but it is a joy at the end of each day. Perhaps love makes it so. It is the greatest of the three things that will remain when every other thing passes away.
After forty-two years of married life bliss I ought to be able to pass on some wisdom that made forty-two years possible.
1. I read somewhere that a young man treats his mother the way he will treat his bride and a young woman treats her father the way she will some day treat her husband. I really do not know if all of that is true but in our case it could be. Dottie loved her dad very much and I always had a special relationship with my mom. I think it really goes back to how you treat others. I try to treat others with grace and mercy and love, the way I would like to be treated.
2. When we fell in love we said it was a decision that we were making. There are days that I do not like a decision Dottie makes and there are days when she does not like the decisions I make but we decided long ago to love one another. That is the constant that holds us together. I remember Billy Graham’s wife was asked, if she had ever thought of divorcing Billy? Her response was humorous as she answered, “Divorce no, murder a few times.” She was only joking about the murder but for Dottie and I we could relate to her remark. The decision to love and not just a feeling of love is a very important distinction because sometimes you may not feel the love. Mentioning divorce is something we have resisted. I cannot say we have never mentioned the word but if we did apologies followed very quickly. Take divorce out of your married vocabulary.
3. We have always had something on our calendar that we were both looking forward to. Part of the fun is in the plotting and planning of these big days. We talk about the big days often and when our girls were small we all were part of the planning.
4. I have never felt the marriage was 50/50. There have been times when I felt like I was carrying the entire load and I am sure Dottie had times when she felt that the entire load rested on her. You cannot plan 50/50 or you will be disappointed. Always think more in terms of 75/25 and you step up and carry the 75%.
5. Finally laugh a lot. Touch a lot! Joke (not sarcasm) a lot. Keep your love life pure and happy. Always build your partner up publicly and privately. Desire for them the best and then try to live up to being the best for them, Temper your anger and forgive and ask forgiveness without hesitation. Decide to love even when the other person is not too lovely at the moment. I remember a time when Dottie got poison oak all over her face, neck, arms, I better not go on. To make a long story short I did not want to get it so I decided to keep my distance (which was very hard). We went to a conference and I was surprised how many people gave her big hugs and kisses on the cheek…..From that point on I decided not to keep my distance.
I hope this post will help you have a Jesus and Hope-filled married relationship. Maybe you will say this someday, “everything has been such a joy in our married life.”
I am Bill Fix, the Senior Pastor of Journey of Hope Community Church and the Hubby of Dottie. Aren’t I Blessed?