My wife Michele and I celebrated our 35th wedding anniversary this past August 5th in beautiful Miami Florida. What an adventure it has been for both of us. I love her so much. She is an amazing woman of God. She is my best friend and encourager. Together we have raised three children of our own and a host of wonderful kids who have adopted themselves into our family. It is rarely quiet in our home and that's how we like it.
Our anniversary fell on a Sunday this year. The picture above taken just 30 minutes or so before we joined the Christ's Fellowship church in downtown Miami, for their morning worship service. We both love God and His wonderful church so much that it was fitting that on our 35th anniversary we were in His house with His people. Both of us were raised in the ministry. My dad and Michele's were pastors and at one time or another both men were my pastor.
In January of this year we rolled out the theme for our church for 2018 "52 Hours with God". There are 52 Sundays to gather together to worship Jesus and the challenge is what can happen if we give those 52 hours to God, if we make coming together to Worship Jesus a priority in our lives? There is nothing more powerful than a committed disciple of Jesus Christ!
All 35 of those years we have dedicated ourselves to serving as pastor leaders wherever God places us. 23 years in Phoenix, 4 in Las Vegas and now 8 in Texas. JP Moreland’ author of 23 books on the Bible and life of Jesus once explained what he was looking for in a wife:
“What I was looking for in a wife was a woman who could not stand to see Jesus ridiculed in culture.” (JP Moreland)
I could not say it better than that and I found exactly that in my wife Michele. We have weathered storms of all kinds in the past 35 years. How have we made it 35 years? We anchored our marriage to the Rock who is Jesus Christ. We love Jesus and put Him first in our lives, it really is as simple and as complex as that.
Over the years we have witnessed the marriages of some of our friends and family members fall apart and end in divorce. In every instance they put themselves FIRST and Jesus last. Christianity is not a religion. It is a personal relationship with God through Jesus. It is a daily surrender of your rights and a daily acceptance of your responsibilities. In our marriage we submit to God FIRST and we share in the responsibilities of the mission He gave to us. I am half of the ministry God has given us and she is the other half. We are committed to Jesus and to one another.
What advice do we have to offer for long happy marriage?
1. Put God first in your life!
2. Be faithful in Church attendance and get plugged in to serving His mission
3. Laugh together and enjoy the life God has given you.
4. Do not lay blame or Justify when you make a mistake "Take responsibility" and ask for forgiveness.
5. Show each other the highest respect in private and public.
In 35 years of marriage I have learned never to take any gift for granite. If she made my lunch today, she is not obligated to do it tomorrow, it was todays precious gift and I am grateful for it. If I wash the dishes today, it is not my life responsibility it is todays gift. I want to do wonderful things for my wife because I am so grateful for her and I want to show it and she feels that way toward me. Neither of us feel as though we deserve these gifts but we are grateful for big and smalls ones we receive from each other everyday. Looking forward to 35 more if God chooses to grant them. Happy Anniversary Michele.