Sweeter than Honey

Four years from now, when I turn 40 years old, I will have spent exactly half my life single and half my life with Deborah.  Trying to be a good husband, I researched the symbolism of the 16th wedding anniversary.  Well…there isn’t any.  It stops after 15 and then goes by fives.  So, what can I give my wife for this obscure moment of reflection?  A blog article?  Okay, maybe a nice dinner too, etc.

Even now, it’s difficult for me to remember life before Deborah.  We should never have met.  Deborah grew up in the spiritual mecca of Greenville, SC, and should have, by default, attended Bob Jones University.  I had planned all along to attend Pillsbury Baptist Bible College.  Somehow, we both decided on a little school in northeast Wisconsin.  We met my Freshman year, her Junior year, as we were both selected to represent the school on a music ensemble.  We were no more than friendly acquaintances that first year, with our own distinct circle of friends.  Then, in the providence of God, our friendship grew to the point that we had to decide if we wanted to take the relationship to another level.  We did.  After dating for about 10 months, I popped the question to Deborah at an Olive Garden in Memphis, TN, where Deborah was teaching following her graduation from college.  She said yes!

After another 10 months of long-distance engagement, Deborah and I were married at Heritage Bible Church in Greer, SC.  Our wonderful friend Keven Brownfield preached our wedding charge and both Deborah’s grandfather (now deceased) and my father officiated.  Just like that, in less than an hour, I was a married man–at only 19 years of age!

The name Deborah means “bee” and to me that means honey!  Of course, the sweetness of our love began during our friendship, blossomed during our engagement, and flourished during our honeymoon and new life together.

We haven’t had an easy life together.  The vocation of full-time ministry is a strenuous one and takes its toll on a home.  We have both had to work hard and long to support educational advancement and the growth of our family.  We have had many financial, spiritual, and physical challenges in the last 16 years, challenges that would test our faith and our love.

And yet, our life together has been an extremely happy one.  We have had the wonderful privilege of rearing five children who add such variety and joy to our lives.  When I occasionally joke about Deborah doing laundry all the time, I’m not really joking.  Being the mother of five growing children while working as a full-time teacher and heavily-involved church leader is amazingly challenging, which of course requires an amazing person to fill the shoes.  Deborah is such a person…an amazing person.  A person of strength.  Many times, when I have given in to circumstances or pressure, Deborah will push me to action.  I love that in her.  She is a champion of righteousness.  Although gifted in mercy, Deborah has a very stubborn (she calls it steadfast) streak in her, probably from her Swedish ancestry.  She will always strive to see justice done.  It is a good quality from which our children greatly benefit.  It is part of who she is.  It is strength in character and persistence.

I am blessed to live with such a woman.  After 16 years, we know all of each other’s weaknesses and strengths and usually can sense how to best help each other.  And after all the challenges that life has served us, I can still say confidently that I am devoted to her in sickness and health, for richer for poorer, until death parts us.  I can still say that I have been faithful to her and forsaken all others.  I can still say I enjoy her company, her conversation, her smile, her softness, her love for me and our children.  I still look forward to all that God has for us in the future.  I look forward to seeing her continue to grow in her walk with Christ.  I look forward to seeing how God will mature her and use her as a pastor’s wife in ministry. 

I cherish the treasure, the sweet honey that my bee continues to provide for me.  I cannot imagine life without her.  I do not doubt that there will be new challenges in the future that will test us even more strongly in our faith and commitment to each other.  However, as we are both committed to each other and to our Lord Jesus, I am confident that we can and will endure, by His grace and because of His Gospel.

Happy Sweet Sixteen, Deborah! 


4 responses to this post.

  1. Happy 16th. What an appropriate location for your anniversary.


  2. Posted by Ray Arnett on June 28, 2008 at 12:47 pm

    Happy 16th!!! Your post was thoughtful and wonderful. Thanks for sharing your thoughts!


  3. What a very special post:)
    I didn’t realize you were 19 when you two got married!

    Your photo on this post is very sweet:)

    Happy Anniversary to both of you!


  4. Posted by Valerie Honderick on June 21, 2009 at 5:25 pm

    I randomly found your blog, and thank you for sharing your thoughts with such honest affection. Sometimes the world seems a cynical place. Religion ia becoming a politically incorrect word in favor of spirituality. It is lovely to see someone so grateful to God for giving them their soulmate. I hope you had a wonderful Father’s day, and that your children and flock appreciate you on this special day, and always.


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