32 years and counting

The Anniversary Column/photo by Raleigh Studios

My career has put me on the road so much that my friends are beginning to suspect I’m in the witness-protection program. I might move less if that were the case. I was visiting with a gal at Starbucks recently. She told me that she had heard from another woman, who heard from a “very good authority” that Tim and I are divorcing.  
It’s not the first time in decades of wedded chaos that I’ve heard that rumor. I can’t really blame folks for their concerns. Tim and I do have a very unconventional marriage, even by left-coast standards. One friend sent me an email suggesting that my marriage would make a great beer commercial: “Tim’s the luckiest husband I know. You FINALLY get a job and it’s 3,000 miles away.”
At the time my friend sent that email I was working and living in Fayetteville, North Carolina while Tim was working and living in Oregon.

My husband is a fine-looking fellow. People have run him down in the grocery store aisles to ask if he was John Stockton. Or maybe Kenny Loggins. The only celebrities I’ve ever been compared to are Martha Stewart, after she was indicted, or Roseanne Barr, after the plastic surgery. Women often confess to me that they are crushing on my husband.

I suppose I ought to worry more than I do, but unfaithfulness isn’t part of Tim’s nature. It’s not that I think either of us are beyond temptations, nor does he, but Tim is a man for whom integrity counts. When he gives his word – as he did when we took those fumbling vows on August 26, 1978 – he meant it. Every little tittle.

Strangers and friends alike will stand gap-mouthed when I tell them Tim and I have been married 32 years. They act like they’ve just witnessed John the Baptist drop his loin clothe or something. “How do you do it?” they ask. Or they’ll grab my forearm and declare, “You are such an inspiration to me.”

If only they knew.

And they always ask, “What’s your secret?”

The thing is there is no secret. If there was I’d have written that book. Simply put marriage is a lot of hard work, and despite our faults (which are too numerous and too embarrassing to recount), Tim and I are hard workers. Even on our worst days, neither one of us has been willing to give up. Walk away. Call it quits. We’re both stubborn that way.  

Tim grew up in a missionary home. I grew up in a military home. We learned early that there was value in serving a purpose greater than ourselves. When my calling takes me all the way across country, or even across the wide blue seas, Tim sends me off, reluctantly, sure, but with the confidence that I am trying to lead a purposeful life. And I leave him behind in that same spirit.

We both understand that in order for our marriage to last another 30 years, we have to ignore the gossip, and continue to try and lead lives of intention.

And when we fail, as we often do, we fall face first at the foot of the cross that first brought us together all those years ago.

Happy Anniversary, Babe. Thank you for loving me.


-Our rehearsal dinner was held in a trailer park.

– My Georgia girlfriends gave me a wedding shower in Mama’s trailer

– We moved into Tim’s parents 5th-wheel trailer and lived there for the first eight months of married life

– Made my first peach pie in a trailer. Used a Mason jar to roll out the crust.

– Played a lot of card games with Tim and Peggy Wright in that trailer.

– Accidently made a babe in that trailer.

– Had that babe in Mama’s trailer.

 See? I told you that nearly all of my important moments in life have taken place in a trailer.

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