We’ve all heard that opposites attract. But in marriage is attraction enough? Can we sustain a relationship when there are polar opposite characteristics and life situations? Are there seas of differences that can not be bridged, regardless of love?
Those were questions Keith and I asked as we began dating almost twenty-seven years ago. Neither of us were into casual dating. We knew we were attracted to each other and were not surprised when we eventually fell in love. Still, we took two years to be sure we wanted to commit to a lifetime together. Our doubts and questions were shared by some friends/family members on both sides; and that compounded our uncertainty.
There was a ten-year age difference to consider. His children were raised, educated and on their own. I still had a young child at home. Keith was born and raised in farm country and his interests were mostly centered around agriculture. I was a city girl who loved crowds, noise, bright lights and fast-paced living. He liked country music. I liked jazz. He was methodical, logical and even-tempered. I was D: None of the above. Is it any wonder we took two years and bathed in buckets of caution before making the decision to make “the” decision?
We were not without common ground, however. We shared our love for the Lord Jesus Christ, His word and a conviction He brought us together. Still, we knew love may not be enough to keep a marriage from crumbling. Both of us learned that lesson from hard and painful experiences. We often prayed as a couple, and separately, for God to bless or block our union. The Lord never even hinted at a veto vote.
On February 14, 1993, we did what many considered reckless because the world’s decision-making criteria often displaces God’s truth, even in Christian lives. In front of family and friends we took each other for better or worse, in sickness and in health, forsaking all others. We promised to surrender our lives and marriage first and foremost to God.
Like most married couples, we have been called upon to live our commitment through all kinds of scenarios. It is, and has been, far from perfect. We’ve laughed, cried, fought, struggled through loss and rejoiced in gain. We’ve walked away in anger and come back together out of surrender of self for the sake of another and out of obedience to the God we worship. We’ve traveled the world and found/formed bonds around common interests, like all things produced by the BBC. We’ve embraced our similarity and honored our diversity. We’ve weathered life-threatening illnesses and rejoiced at miraculous curative intervention. We’ve come to understand it is commitment, and not attraction, that cements a marriage. We’ve seen growth as individuals, and as a couple, multiplied in opposition.
Today as we celebrate another anniversary, we have hearts full of gratitude to God and growing appreciation, affection and admiration for each other. We often say we’re glad we didn’t let fear of failure keep us from believing God’s plan for success. Of course we still find each other extremely attractive. But long ago we were blessed to enter into deeper exploration of what truly loving and choosing another person means.
For the most part our traits and individual human make-up show us as very different people. Keith is down to earth, and I am out in space.
Every morning, in our daily devotionals, we give God thanks for each other. And in my personal devotional time I praise God that Keith keeps me centered, and I teach him to fly.
Copyright February 14, 2018
Laura L. Padgett
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