32 years ago on July 21st, 1984 Michelle and I got married. It was one of the happiest days of our lives. We both thought we were very mature (although we admit we were pretty young), but we both were very deeply determined to seek God direction for our future and tried to have a ministry mindset to invest in those around us. We committed our lives together, for better or for worse, till death do us part. From the beginning we wanted our marriage to honor our faith and be built upon its foundation.
Dr. Ed Wheat (who wrote an excellent book called "Intended for Pleasure") counseled us right before we were married and encouraged us to make a commitment not to have a television for the first year of marriage. We did that and it was an amazing honeymoon year. Then shortly after our first year, someone gave us a TV and we connected it to cable television. We instantly noticed our communication dropped off, and that our attention turned from each other, to being glued to the TV. After 3 weeks of constant TV watching, we both agreed that this was not healthy for our relationship, so we got rid of the television in order to concentrate more on each other. Looking back, that is one of the best things we have done for our marriage and family. As you can imagine, we are not against TV, computers, phones and various forms of entertainment. We just know that with all of these things we must be so careful to ensure it doesn’t devour one of our most precious resource, time.
Believe it or not, when we first got married we decided we did not want to have children right away, so Michelle began taking birth control pills.Three years into our marriage Michelle went off the pill and we had our first child. Then she went back on the pill, because we heard it was better to space your children out, but Michelle got pregnant while she was on the pill, and the pill caused her to miscarry. We talked to a Christian doctor and he explained that the pill could be abortive. (Read Randy Alcorns book, "Does the Birth Control Pill Cause Abortions?") We were so grieved, because of our own lack of knowledge; we had lost our second child. We read several passages in the Bible, like Psalms 127 that says children are a blessing and a gift from God. Here we had rejected God's gifts and told Him we only wanted to receive them on our timetable.
We asked God to forgive us, and we told God we want to follow Him with our lives and receive any blessings He wants to send our way.
Right after that God blessed us with twins, Jana and John, then Jill, Jessa, Jinger & Joseph.
Somewhere through there we thought, what have we done? We were outnumbered and had seven children, seven years old and under. We were tired, overwhelmed and did not know if we could handle anymore. But, in faith we recommitted to leave this area in God's hands, and we spent time teaching God's word and Bible principles to our children every day. By God's grace we made it through and our children have grown up and each one are seeking the Lord's will for their lives.
We would have never dreamed the joy, fun, adventure and sometimes disappointment and tears that we have encountered raising 19 children. There is never a dull moment. We love each one of our children and each one of them is thankful for the life God has given them..
Michelle and I are more in love today than ever before!
Here are some keys that we have learned along the way that have helped make our relationship strong for 32 years and counting:
1. Both of us individually ask Jesus to forgive us for the things we have done wrong and ask Him to take over the direction and control of our lives.
2. Daily we praise each other in front of others, never putting each other down or calling each other derogatory names. When there is a conflict or disagreement, we go talk privately and pray about it together.
3. We honor and cherish each other. I look for opportunities to open doors, to carry heavy items or other ways to serve Michelle and regularly take time to talk with her. Michelle is always writing special notes, and looking for ways to say I love you! I try to treat Michelle like a queen and she has always honored and respected me. We make all major decisions prayerfully together.
4. We follow the scripture that says, "Don't let the sun go down on your wrath!” which means humbly ask forgiveness when you do something that offends a family member and quickly forgive those who wrong you, even before they ask for forgiveness.
5. We try to go out on weekly date nights. I try to win her heart each day and find ways to show her I love her. Michelle is constantly coming up with new ways to show her love to me, our children and friends.
Michelle you are one of the most loving people in the world, you are so sweet and beautiful. I feel like the most blessed man in the world to be your husband! I love you so much! Happy 32nd Anniversary! I look forward to spending the rest of my life with you and with our 6, going on 200 grandkids and counting.