#christianfaith, #funny, Married love, Uncategorized

Three Easy Steps to The Perfect Marriage…Buahhhh

Today John and I have been married 22 years. Our marriage is so old that it could’ve ordered a beer last year. That’s old. The great truth I have learned is that the longer you are married the less you expect of your spouse and the more you expect of yourself. I have learned much from this opposite I married.

In the infancy of our dating period, John cooked dinner for me. In his deadpan humor he teased me about my utensil usage. Manners being of paramount importance to me, I was devastated. I wept on the phone to my Mom and Dad that night. “Mother, he criticized me for not using a knife on his chicken. It was a free-standing chicken breast. Very. Tender.  He. Thinks. I do. Not. Have. Mannnnnerss.”

I could literally hear my Southern Mother’s neck hair stand up through the phone. “It is completely acceptable to use a fork to cut ANY poultry which is not on the bone.” Miss Manners replied. My Father had more pedestrian words to offer,  “Reel him into the boat and if you get him in there and don’t want him, you can always throw him back” My bruised feelings over his imagined criticism quickly faded but my romantic feelings did not.

I couldn’t throw him back. I was smitten from the first time I saw him walk across campus with his monogrammed L.L.Bean book bag.  He had me at the monogrammed L.L.Bean book bag. In a sea of Divinity students who not only exegeted Hebrew passages about Noah’s flood but appeared by their pant length to be anticipating a second one, John was a stand-out.

We actually first met six years prior to seminary when my high school choir sang at his home church in Tyler. They were one of our “concert” stops. Such the Baptist love story. I briefly dated one of his high school buddies and after college in Seminary this guy kept telling me that I looked familiar. He connected the dots before I did and we have been together ever since.

The first time John came home to Houston, my Father greeted him with a huge bear hug. The look on John’s face was reminiscent of the picture of Lee Harvey Oswald being shot by Jack Ruby. He comes from a long line of hand-shakers which is totally great, just different from that which I was accustomed. I have come to realize that life is not done your way or the wrong way. These are the things you do not necessarily  know going in.

Tonight James Taylor is in town. He was so sweet to schedule this date for us. I have loved his music since college. His is the first song on the first mix tape I ever made for John and I labored to his greatest hits with both of my children. James is boss. So we will celebrate this love God has graciously given and the love we have chosen to stick with in good times and bad. His book bag and dark hair are gone but he will forever have me: heart and soul.

Jen & Lane
Married love

So This Funny Thing Happened at Room Mate Reunion…

So last July three of my Baylor roomies gathered at my home in ShreveVegas. John was in Atlanta working on his Doctorate (blah, blah, blah, academia (which I probably misspelled)  blah, blah, blah) and so with cat away it was time to play. Nothing earth-shaking planned but time on the boat and lots of and catching up. Jen got coverage at her yoga studio, Stork and Gina organized plans for their kids and they headed East to visit me.

The amazing thing about a web of friends is that when one is weighed down by trial, the others bend in support, eventually pulling the lagging spirit back to herself. I am blessed with amazing souls both near and far which have sprung me back to the land of the living when I just knew that all was lost. Even when in emotional free-fall you know that God will most likely catch you and you know already the hands He will use to do the job. What we could not know last July was what life-changing plan God had in His hand and up His sleeve.

Last Summer we were all actually in good places and ecstatic to reconnect in person. We four have what cellular archaeologists would deem the longest running group text in the history of mankind. We text prayer requests, thoughts, Bible verses and victories but there is just nothing like a little face time when Face Time just won’t do. If you do not have at least one friend in your life whose texts make you wet yourself with laughter, FIND one. This is cheap therapy.

Jen had by far the most interesting life going at the moment.  Divorced a few years ago, she began to dip her toe into the 40-plus on-line dating pool. Fascinated by how radically the game had changed in a few decades, we asked her to show us what the heck THAT was like. Laptop opened, she showed us her “matches,” and explained the new rules of dating which sounded like Color Run meets Jenga. If John gets struck by a falling tree I’m just going to have to be the weird old Chihuahua Woman. Because I already am.

Stork’s our do-er. She was convinced that the three of us, strategically focused, could find THE match for Jen. Stork works in TCU Admissions so she brought a sharp resume-embellishment detector to the brain trust. Gina’s marriage and family counselor skills proved stellar as she identified certain catch phrases employed when pathological liars and sociopaths attempt to appear normal. Once the guys were carefully screened and selected for our Jen, the next step was actually contacting them. I am the comic so I wrote: blurting out lines we all edited and once agreed-upon, sent.

Jen is a doll. Her bio was great except for the overly-honest passage about disliking housework. I told her to tuck that little nugget away.  Sure enough there were lots of funny responses and it was an enlightening experience. Then the thought hit me, “Don’t we know any real people for Jen?” I do not knock those who find love on line at all, I just thought how great it would be for Jen to meet someone whom we actually knew and trusted. As we ate dinner on my deck, I foisted that one out there. And moments later the brain sludge parted, a rare moment of clarity hit and I had my answer.

“Lane! Jen! My brother, Brink’s best friend, Lane is single!” He grew up at Westbury Baptist with me, He went to Baylor. Don’t you remember him? His sister is Lara, she pledged with you people. Yes! He was an Eagle Scout. He’s tall. He doesn’t have a body in his freezer. He’s perfect!!!” They looked confused. I pulled up his picture on Face Book and all three agreed that he was adorable. I messaged him and waited for a reply. He replied then saw Jen’s picture and replied again. In a week and a half they had their first actual phone call. Then Jen called me. Unbelievably, I told her that this could be it for the both of them.

Shockingly enough, it was. In a few weeks we all convene to watch Jen and Lane get married. They are so solid, mature, committed, Godly and loving. Having walked remarkably similar paths they truly know the value of faithfulness. They have found in this crazy world God’s best for them; a teammate whom they can rely upon forever. I love a happy ending. I love it when two amazing people find each other and you don’t have to wonder if they will be sharing a porch together when they’re 80 years old. What a beautiful thing.

Who has God given you to encourage you in your life?