My Treasures, Part 3

On May 8th I posted about the treasures in my life. Last week I talked about My Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. This week I want to share the second of the treasures on my list:

My sweet husband Rick

For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh. This is a profound mystery—but I am talking about Christ and the church. However, each one of you must also love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.
—Ephesians 5:31-33

Grab a cup or glass of your favorite beverage and sit back to enjoy the treasure story of Rick’s and my courtship.

Rick and I have been married for 13-1/2 years. We met online, which is not very unique these days but was back then. Rick lived in central California; I lived in Arizona. On the site where we met, one of the search criteria was a mileage radius. That means you decide on a circle of how many miles from your location to set your search. Rick set his mileage limit at 500 miles. I lived about 800 miles from him. Impossible meeting? As you will see, nothing is impossible with God in the picture.

One day my search pulled up Rick’s profile and I zeroed in on the fact that our birthdays are one day apart. I thought that was a nice coincidence so I decided to read more. When I saw that we had both selected Proverbs 3:5-6 for our favorite Scripture passage, I decided to contact him.

For the next 6 weeks or so, we wrote to each other, first through the website where we met and then we exchanged email addresses. We continued our written correspondence for about 3 months, learning more about each other every day. During that 3-month period of time, we decided to talk by phone. Both of us were understandably nervous but Rick more so because he was sure once I heard his voice I’d never want to talk or write to him again.

[Break time to explain…]

Many years before I knew Rick, he was involved in a very bad accident while driving his truck. Since this was during his partying days, let’s just say that his driving was extremely compromised. As he puts it, “A tree just jumped out in front of me.”

Rick was in a coma for 2 months and awoke to no feeling on his left side. He also could not speak. He found out that he had suffered a traumatic brain injury (TBI) as a result of the wreck, and spent the next year learning how to walk and talk again.

Even after all the physical and occupational therapy, he still “walks like a Weeble and has a sexy voice” (his words). If any of you remember Weebles, they are cute egg-shaped toys that cannot be pushed over. Their catchphrase was “Weebles wobble but they don’t fall down.” That describes Rick to a T. I have seen him look as if he is falling but he quickly regains his balance. I would have just finished falling down!

As for his “sexy” voice, because of prolonged use of a Tracheostomy (or Trach for short), his vocal cords were damaged so he speaks in a very low, sometimes harsh, gutterral voice.

[Back to the story!]

So Rick was understandably nervous about our first telephone conversation, but since we’re still together after almost 14 years of marriage, I’d say his concerns were unfounded! That first conversation led to many others, and finally we made the decision to meet. I recall telling him that I was praying a lot about our meeting, specifically that God would show me if we were to continue our relationship. I asked Him to give me an immediate love for Rick, or an intense dislike.

Remember, this gal needs to be hit on the side of the head with a figurative 2 x 4 from God to “get it”.

When we came face to face, I asked Rick to take off his sunglasses so I could see his eyes, and the moment I gazed into those baby blues, I knew he was the one God had set aside just for me. I can’t adequately describe the love I immediately had for this man! I believe that God honored my prayer because I truly wanted His will for me.

[Side note: We had decided from the very beginning to try to conduct our courtship in a God-honoring manner, so Rick stayed in a local hotel during his first visit and then with one of my close friends on subsequent visits. When I traveled to see Rick, I stayed with one of the elders and his family from Rick’s church.]

Because I had been asking my Sunday school class to pray about my relationship with Rick, they of course wanted to meet him when he first drove to see me. He accompanied me to church and Sunday school class, where he met everyone. My class was now satisfied that Rick wasn’t some scam artist out to ruin me! And on Rick’s end, his friends and family wanted to meet me to make sure I was good for him. Accountability is such a good thing!

Fast forward two months. We continued our courtship with tons of emails and phone conversations, learning more and more about each other every day. Then it was my turn to travel to where Rick lived, and during that visit he proposed to me. We were engaged!

We set a wedding date in December, which almost exactly coincided with the end of my apartment lease. We spent our engagement period going through premarital counseling with Rick’s pastor, which meant I did a lot of traveling. We did our homework separately and then compared notes via email before each counseling visit. I will always be thankful for this counseling because it laid the necessary foundation for our covenant marriage.

Wedding day!

So that’s our story. We’ve had our ups and downs over the past 13+ years, but we’ve discovered that when we keep our focus on God during an argument instead of each other, we are able to see past our own viewpoint and concentrate on what the other is saying. We always learn something new in the process.

I am more thankful and more in love every day with Rick—my treasure, the man God set aside for me before I ever knew him.

Here’s the complete section in Ephesians 5 about marriage (verses 22-33):

Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord.

For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit in everything to their husbands.

Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish.

In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church, because we are members of his body.

“Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church.

However, let each one of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.