This week, Jeannie and I are celebrating our 30th wedding anniversary. In honor of this occasion, we have invited Jerry Jenkins to submit a blog on marriage. That’s right—Jerry Jenkins—the famous author. He’s a friend of mine. Well, actually he’s a friend of Diane Mayfield, my Administrative Assistant. I met him once at a writer’s conference. Anyway, here’s his blog on the importance of stories in a marriage.
Everybody Loves a Love Story
by Jerry Jenkins
I was always fascinated by the stories my parents told about how they met, fell in love, and stayed true to each other during their engagement, although World War 2 kept them apart for thirty-four months before they married in 1945.
You’d be surprised at how many people would be interested in your love story: old friends, relatives, people from church, your kids.
Every courtship is really two stories, yours and your spouse’s. My wife Dianna’s story contains parallel elements to mine, naturally, but the emphases are hers. Her perspective provides an account with its unique interest.
Every time we tell our stories, we remind each other of incidents we hadn’t thought of since they occurred in the early 1970s. If you have a good marriage, celebrate it by talking about it.
Dianna and I met on a blind date, and the third time we saw each other I fell haplessly, helplessly, hopelessly in love. It was too early to tell her that I knew she would become my wife and the mother of our children. But I had to tell someone.
During the drive from her home in Fort Wayne, Indiana, to mine in the suburbs of Chicago I whistled, sang, thanked God, talked to myself, and wondered who I could tell.
Then it came to me. One of my friends worked in an all-night gas station. I pulled in there at about four in the morning, climbed up on a 55-gallon oil drum, and rhapsodized about Dianna for two hours.
“You’ve got it bad,” my friend said.
“Can you be in the wedding?” I said.
“Wedding? Does she know about this?”
“Not yet, but she will.”
Here’s the part my kids love the most:
When I climbed down off that drum I realized I’d been sitting in a quarter-inch of motor oil the whole time. It had soaked through my pants and run down my legs. (It actually felt pretty good.)
I had to put newspapers on my car seat before I drove home. I pulled into my parents’ driveway at about six a.m.,
hoping foolishly that they might be awake already. When I peeked into their bedroom, my mother opened one eye. “You’re in love,” she said.
I was so thrilled that it showed, I was ready to see if the neighbors were up.
A whirlwind romance resulted in an idyllic marriage, three sons, two daughters-in-law, five grandchildren (and counting), and forty years I wouldn’t trade for anything.
Tell your story. Tell it to your kids, your friends, your brothers and sisters, but especially to each other. The more your story is implanted in your brain, the more it can serve as a hedge against the myriad forces that seek to destroy your marriage. Make your story so familiar that it comes part of the fabric of your being. It should become a legend shared through the generations as you grow a family tree that defies all odds and boasts marriage after marriage of stability, strength, and longevity.
You, your family, your church, and the kingdom will be the better for it.
For more from Jerry Jenkins, check out his blog.