“Be of one mind, live in peace. And the God of love and peace will be with you.” 2 Corinthians 13:11
Because of our family ministry and Jim’s background as a psychologist, I sometimes wonder if people think that our marriage is somehow “different”—that we live in a dreamlike state of wedded bliss where conflict doesn’t exist. Believe me, that’s just not the case. We do our share of fussing and face the same struggles you do, whether it’s motivated by fatigue, worry about the kids, not communicating our expectations properly, or something else.
I recall an incident after we were engaged that seems funny now, but wasn’t so amusing at the time. Jim owned a 1949 Mercury convertible called “Old Red.” It was a disaster. The top wouldn’t go up or down; the electric windows didn’t work; the lights sometimes went out unexpectedly; and the engine had a habit of dying regularly. Every Sunday afternoon we took it out for a push. Worse, the front seat had springs sticking out at odd angles that snagged my clothes and made for a most uncomfortable ride. I hated that car, but Jim didn’t want to go into debt to buy a new one.
The coup de grace came the day Jim picked me up for an important job interview. I was wearing my best outfit, a black suit. As we sped down the road at fifty miles per hour, the convertible top suddenly blew off. Bits of string and canvas beat at our heads as dust flew everywhere. The remnants of the old top hooked onto the back of the car and flapped in the air like Superman’s cape.
Jim was so irritated at the car that he wouldn’t stop. He just kept barreling down the highway with the ribs of the top glistening above us. I screamed at him from under the dashboard, where I was crouched to escape the pieces of Old Red that were still flying about. Between his car falling apart and my screaming, Jim got even angrier.
Somehow we survived the day when both of us—and Old Red—blew our tops. Jim bought a newer car a few months later and, more importantly, we didn’t call off our engagement!
That’s how life is when you climb into the marvelous vehicle called marriage. You’re in for a long and wonderful ride. Expect the unexpected to happen. It will probably rattle your nerves and set you at odds with each other, and the top may even blow off every now and then. But if you share a committed love, you can survive those unexpected and unwanted conflicts. We have—for forty years now.
- Shirley M Dobson