…Rejoice with the wife of thy youth.
Saturday, August 25, 2007, my wife, Sheri, and I celebrated 17 years of marriage. Sheri was my high school sweetheart, though we attended different high schools. We met in a situation that we would not allow our own children to be involved with, a government school high school homecoming dance.
It was October, 1983. Sheri was the most beautiful girl at the dance that night. It was held at her high school, and I was there with another date. Her mother was exercising a large degree of wisdom and did not allow her to date at the age of 14. We were both freshmen in our high schools on opposite sides of the Dallas/Ft. Worth metroplex. My date had introduced me to Sheri. So, when this other girl decided to dance with someone else, I took the opportunity to ask Sheri. I’m glad Sheri wasn’t judging me by my dancing abilities. Otherwise, we would never have hit it off. During the evening, I did manage to get Sheri’s last name. As expected, the other girl didn’t last long, and we no longer “dated” after that night. So, I got out the Carrollton phone book and began calling all the last names that matched hers. I found her after about three tries.
Sheri and I went on to date all through high school and the first part of college before we married in 1990, when we were both 21. During our dating years, we were only “apart” twice for short amount of times.
During this time of dating we talked a lot. We’d spend hours on the phone. I’d drive across town on the weekends and spend the day with her. We made our plans, and dreamed of the day that we would marry. One day I woke up very early on a Saturday morning, drove to get her in Carrollton, and made the drive to Galveston. We spent the day together on the beach and dined at the famous Gaido’s restaurant before heading back to the Dallas area. I got her home before midnight that same day.
I will never forget our wedding day. While most guys tend to have a bachelor party the night before the wedding, I was busy doing laundry at the laundry mat in preparation for my new bride. Sheri and I wrote our own vows, and my father presided over the ceremony. As the music began to play and Sheri walked down the isle with her father, I witnessed the most beautiful woman I had ever seen stand next to my side.
So much has happened since that glorious day. In that time, Sheri has given birth to six beautiful children, and we are expecting our seventh in November. We have experienced changes in our theology. We have embraced a conviction to homeschool our children. We are now committed to teaching courtship to our own children. We’ve seen a change in the way we dress. We’ve lived in three different states, and multiple houses throughout that time. Every challenge we’ve faced hasn’t always been easy. There are things I have learned and things Sheri has learned, not always at the same time. Yet, through it all, Sheri and I have both taken the time to let each other know that our love is solid, no matter what. I didn’t have the chance to attend my 20 year high school reunion this year, because our Jamestown trip interfered. However, I was involved with planning for it. What struck me was just how many former classmates I had who were on their second or third marriages, or how many were just single again. Every couple has their own story, and I can’t begin to know all the details of their situations. But the fact remains that many were unable to keep their marriages together. Thanks be to God that Sheri and I understand the importance of covenant. We are committed to one another like Christ and His church. I can truly say that our marriage is much stronger now than it was 17 years ago when we were first starting out. I have no doubt that our marriage will stand the test of time until “death do us part.”
It’s amazing to see the difference in the way we grew up compared to the way we are raising our children. It could be that evil is prevalent, and there are things that our parents allowed us to do that would be much more dangerous today. Or it could be that the Holy Spirit is doing a work of reformation in these days, calling parents to homeschool their children, and embrace courtship as the means for finding suitable mates for their children. I believe it is quite possible both of these things are acting together to cause us to raise our own children in a much different way than our own upbringing. I don’t fault our parents. Yet, I have a much different vision for my own family. I believe God is sovereign. In spite of the fact that I no longer believe in dating, I dated my beloved bride before we married. In spite of the fact that my children will not attend government schools, that’s where we met. God preserved us, and graciously kept us pure for one another until marriage in spite of the temptations we faced in a dating situation. So, while we are the “exception to the rule” I praise God that Sheri and I have almost 24 years of relationship, and 17 years of marital bliss.
Sheri, I love you. You are a virtuous woman, truly valued far above rubies. May God’s blessings be upon you all the days of your life. Happy anniversary, sweetheart.