Today is six days shy of 12 years. Day one of this journey is so vivid, it is a day I that will always remain fresh. April 1, 2005, I said “I do” and life has never been the same. And for that, I am grateful.
Yes, you read that properly. Beth and I were married on April Fool’s Day. This is not a joke. Beth chose that particular date to honor her grandparents who were married on that same day. As if I did not already think so, but a woman choosing a date for our special day to honor others was just one indication that I was entering a union with an amazing person.
To travel down a different road for just a second, I want to rewind for just a bit. Shortly before our wedding, we found out that I was deploying to the Middle East. Apparently, my verbal reaction to this notice was not exactly the wisest decision I have ever made. Thinking I was doing the right thing, I specifically remember saying (or attempting to) “If you want to put the wedding off…..”. I was unable to complete the sentence before I heard “We are not putting this wedding off. Do you realize how much work I have put into this?” Again, I thought I was doing the right thing, but the look on her face proved otherwise. Looking back, it is a funny moment.
OK. Back on track. Not too long after we were married, I left for a 15-month Middle Eastern vacation. Here is what I remember about the deployment. While I watched friends deal with divorce, cheating spouses and other emotionally tearing situations, I never heard a negative word. Beth was supportive and when I say not one negative word, I mean, everything was positive and reassuring. Another indication I had married an absolutely amazing woman. The first five years of our marriage, I spend more time away from home than with her, and yet, she stayed true to who she was and continued to love and support me and our marriage.
If someone had told me 10 years prior to our wedding day that I would marry a Bible college graduate, I would have laughed and walked away. Little did I know that her faith and love for the Lord would have such an amazing and life altering impact. I was always a believer, but had not fully committed my life to the Lord.
I believe that God put us together for many reasons. I truly believe one of the reasons is because God wanted to use Beth as a vessel to draw me closer to Him. The proof to back up this reasoning is the life I live now versus the life I lived back then. Today, after years of study, prayer and support, I am living a life I once thought impossible. I credit this life to my God and my wife.
I always thought it was cliché to hear “I love her more every day.” I definitely belong to that cliché club today. Days aren’t always filled with puppy dogs and rainbows. But with her by my side, each day is better. Saying two simple words was one of the two best decisions I have ever made. I will share with you what I say to Beth. Most men can only envision a dream girl. I was blessed to marry mine.
Rick Phelps is the news director at KOXE-KBWD radio and a former staff writer for the Brownwood Bulletin. Comments may be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org.