(My devotions will focus on marriage for the month of February. If you’re not married, I encourage you to read them anyway! And while you’re reading, pray for your friends that are married. Believe me, they will appreciate it. Also, give a special blessing by passing these devotions along to them! Here we go…)
Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things,
(1 Corinthians 13:7 NASB).
Friend to Friend
Bruce and Mary Ellen grew up in the mountains of North Carolina in the sleepy little hollow of Waynesville. From Bruce’s first remembrance, he recalls the petite beauty with Chestnut hair, coke bottle figure and “plenty of book smarts.” Back in the 1940’s high school only went through eleventh grade, with an optional twelfth for those who wanted to continue in their studies. Since Mary Ellen was one grade behind, Bruce made the decision to stay one more year…to continue his studies, of course.
Bruce and Mary Ellen were a stunning couple. His muscular build with 32” waist, and 6’4 stature towered over Mary Ellen’s 5’3” with curves in all the right places. No one was surprised when Bruce asked Mary Ellen to be his bride just a few days after her graduation. On a beautiful November afternoon in 1943, they became man and wife. When they said those words, “till death do us part,” they meant it. It was a vow made to one another and to God, and the thought of anything other than a lifelong commitment to each other was inconceivable…no matter what.
It was war time when Bruce and Mary Ellen tied the knot, and eleven months after they were married, Bruce was shipped off to the Aleutian Islands. For the next eighteen months, the newlyweds corresponded through the US mail. There were no telephones, emails, or texts. The communication of two hearts depended on prayer, pen, and paper. In one of his many letters, Bruce asked Mary Ellen to send him a photograph of her legs…which she did.
Ner’ was a man so happy as when Bruce got off the bus, walked to Mary Ellen’s grandparents’ house, and saw his bride come bounding down the steps in her nightgown to rush into his hungry arms. Never again were they apart for an extended period of time.
Bruce went right to work when he arrived back in the United States, but had a dream to go to college.
Three years later, even though they now had a two-year-old baby girl in tow, Mary Ellen encouraged him to follow his dream. Bruce graduated from college with a Masters in education and then for the next 39 years served as a teacher, a coach, a high school assistant principal and a junior high principal. Through the years, Mary Ellen had various jobs, but retired after being with one company for twenty-five years. Together they raised four wonderful children…one of which became my husband on a beautiful summer day in August of 1980.
In November of 2003, we celebrated Bruce and Mary Ellen Jaynes’ 60th wedding anniversary. I was in the throes of writing my book, Becoming the Woman of His Dreams, and was hit with the realization of the living example of what I hope this book will help others accomplish. Mary Ellen was and is the woman of her man’s dreams – and she has been for sixty years. Faces lined with years embrace cheek to cheek, weathered hands and arthritic fingers intertwine, and slow but steady gaits serve as a picture of enduring love in the winter of their lives. Like a rare treasure, their legacy of commitment and enduring love is the inheritance they leave to four grown children and five grown grandchildren. Oh, and that picture of her legs that Mary Ellen mailed Bruce in 1944 when he was off at war? He still carried that photo in his wallet until the day he died just a few years ago.
Imagine with me for a moment. Think ahead 20, 40, 60 years. What do you see? Your marriage is becoming what it is going to be – and so much depends on you. No, building a wonderful marriage cannot be achieved by one party alone. It takes two. I take that back. It takes three: a woman who’s committed to becoming the woman of her man’s dreams, God Who longs to give her the power and creativity to do so, and a man who clings tightly to both.
I pray that your and your husband’s lives will be so intertwined that you will not be able to see where one ends and the other begins, and that your hearts will beat in tandem with each other to the metronome of God’s rhythm. And then one day, as your husband reflects on the years you’ve invested he will say… “Many women do noble things, but you, my dear, surpass them all.”
Lord, I know my marriage is becoming what it is going to be. I pray I will be the wife my husband needs. Help me be the wife he needs to be. I pray the word divorce would not be in our marriage vocabulary, and that we will press through every struggle, endure every trial, and overcome every hurdle through the power of the Holy Spirit working in us and through us.
In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Now It’s Your Turn
I’d like you to look ahead for a moment. Write down a description of what you want your marriage to be like 10 years from now. 20 years from now.
Now make a note of what you think YOU need to do to help it get there.
Click over to my blog and tell me the name of one couple that has the kind of marriage you want to have. What makes them worth emulating?
More from the Girlfriends
14-Day Romancing Your Husband Challenge: How would you like to join your girlfriends in a 14-day Romancing Your Husband Challenge? Click over to www.sharonjaynes.com, click on the challenge sign-up button in the right column of the home page, and your 14-day challenge emails will begin. Come on girlfriend, February is the love month – it’s time to spice up your marriage.
If you have been married for more than a week, then you know a great marriage takes a lot of hard work! If your marriage could use a boost, then check out my book Becoming the Woman of His Dreams. I interviewed hundreds of men to discover seven qualities every man longs for in a wife. Many of their comments are in the book! They were honest. They were vulnerable. They were eye-opening.