As the joke goes, this is a pic of Bonita and her first husband. Yes, that’s me. Bonita looks haven’t changed much, but mine have. If you look really hard you’ll find me behind the mullet. I’m thankful I never wore the big tinted glasses that I liked so much for our wedding pics….I absolutely loved them. It’s hard to believe that it’s been twenty-four years. And let me tell you, there were a lot of days that Bonita could have called the game on account of rain.
When we got married, I was just out of the gate as a believer. Bonita had grown up in a Christian household and she was saved by God’s grace early on. We didn’t go into marriage as spiritual mismatches (believer and unbeliever) but we were miles apart in many ways.
Today, I thank God for His grace in our marriage. He has held it together in many ways and strengthened it and supported it. There were times, particularly in the early years, where we had some rough patches. A year into our marriage I was laid off from my job in Timmins. I went into a downward vortex that could only be described as depression for over a year. It was really rough. But by God’s grace Bonita stuck around and our marriage blossomed.
If I were to wisely counsel a younger couple coming to me where there’s a new believer and someone who has grown up in the things of the Lord from birth, I’m not sure what my counsel would be. I’d likely say that it may be really hard, but by God’s grace you can make it work.
Bonita’s line has sometimes been ‘I love you, but right now I don’t like you very much.’ Truer words have never been spoken. Love doesn’t change when the winds of trouble blow. Love remains strong and deepens by God’s grace.
I have a wife who has truly stuck to the wedding vows of ‘for better or for worse.’ We have seen miles of better but also many roads of worse. When most walk the aisle, they never dream of all the worse they can encounter.
I have come across a number of songs through the years that have described our relationship or what we want it to be. We danced to Randy Travis’ ‘For Ever and Ever, Amen’ on our wedding day. Ed Sherran’s ‘Thinking Out Loud’ has some great words in it. The song that I keep coming back to that describes our relationship is ‘Hard To Love’ by Lee Brice. By God grace, she has loved me despite the fact that sometimes I have not been too loveable.
Happy twenty-four years, Bonita! I so want to grow old with you.
 Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth.
(1 John 3:18 ESV)
 We love because he first loved us. (1 John 4:19 ESV)