Jim watches Fox News. I watch PBS. Why did we marry? We agree it was because God brought us together. Why are we still married? We agree, “What God has joined together, let no one separate” (Mark 10:9). And God keeps weaving our lives together, renewing our love with wonderful gifts. I’ve sorted them into 12 piles this 12th year.
1. Prayer– Jim’s praying with other single parents for our children and his prayer as we set off on a weekend singles’ retreat drew me to him on a soul level. We have prayed aloud together almost every day since our engagement, either over the phone or holding hands when in person.
2. Church – When we met, Jim was a member of a conservative congregation & I of a liberal one. After much prayer & because I had lifetime connections with the Christian Reformed denomination, especially locally, I rejoined DC CRC, and we were married there. Jim joined soon after that. Being active & worshiping together in this church community each week strengthens our marital commitment.
3. Parents & siblings – Jim’s parents were deceased when I met him. Two sisters, both older than Jim, came to our wedding (from TX & NY) and do keep in touch. They are active in church, busy with their families & facing health issues. My dad, a retired CRC pastor, did our premarital counseling & officiated at our wedding. He & Mom & my 2 brothers & 2 sisters were overjoyed to welcome Jim into the family. Since Dad’s death Jim has been a dear friend to Mom.
4. Children – I have a son & 2 daughters. Jim has a son whose mother died while he was in high school. When we married all 4 were single. Now the daughters are married & the sons engaged. We like to think our marriage has been & will keep influencing them all for good.
5. Grandchildren – Daughter Jean’s son Judah was born a month after Jim & I started dating. As I cared for Judah while Jean finished college, as we visited them in HI, CO & OR, and Judah stayed with us for 2 or more weeks each summer, Jim’s tender, joyful, parental love has flourished. Now 12 y.o. Judah has a 1 y.o. brother Seren. We hope they have cousins someday!
6. Home – I’d lived at 30 addresses by the time I was 50, none more than 6 yrs. Jim had lived in Greenbelt for 18 yrs. I fell in love with Greenbelt as fast as with Jim. We bought an expanded end-unit townhouse with tall trees & garden space in Greenbelt Homes co-operative. By God’s grace we’re always renewing this house into a welcoming home for each other & for frequent guests.
7. Employment – I had as many if not more jobs as home addresses by the time we married. However, Jim had worked at Goddard Spaceflight Center with CSC for 18 yrs. I’d been self-employed (& overwhelmed) 5 yrs. providing transportation & recreation for seniors. With Jim paying bills, I was relieved to close the business. For several years until it closed, I directed the senior center I’d helped start in our church years before. Now I enjoy volunteer work and part-time childcare jobs.
8. Exercise – Walking around Greenbelt Lake or Lake Artemesia or on 5 or 10K Volksmarches near & far invigorates us in body & spirit. We swim 12 laps twice weekly at the aquatic center, followed by hot tub time with our word-guessing game.
9. Scrabble – We usually play weekly, daily on vacations, never weakly, always using several special word list books & dictionaries. On holidays, birthdays or anniversaries it’s SuperScrabble (larger board & 200 letter tiles).
10. Travel – Both of us prefer driving to flying, visiting family & friends rather than tourism, and staying in the US (though we may go to Canada after Jim retires). I enjoy visiting Christian Reformed Churches in each state. We’re thankful for many happy trip memories & photos, looking forward to many more.
11. Romance – Jim has a wonderful, humorous way of making ordinary routines romantic. Every time we go out–walking, swimming, even shopping, & of course our weekly restaurant meals– it’s a date. For our honeymoon & several anniversaries we explored Chincoteague. This year we’re taking 3 nights at a bed & breakfast in Ocean Grove NJ.
12. Vocation – For most of my life I recognized the Holy Spirit calling me to write. The publication of Mulled Words, writing of Mulled Psalms, and now weekly Mullstream blogs are incredibly rejuvenating for me. I pray that as Jim considers retirement in the years to come he too will realize God’s call & the gifts that make responding joyous.