My wedding ring used to be gold. Now it is silver. It looks just like the ring in this picture. The gold band? Well, that somehow disappeared on a softball field years ago. We looked and looked for it. I think the earth swallowed it. Anyway, this is a ring like the one I wear every day.
When we married, Charlotte had the words "Forever Yours" and then the date of our wedding engraved inside the ring:
I am glad she included both the "Forever Yours" line and then the date. One has encouraged me. The other has been useful. (Yes, she had the newer ring engraved with the same words.)
I was twenty-five years old when we got married. I knew that I had found a wonderful young woman. I had already finished college at the University of North Texas. I met Charlotte in Alabama shortly after moving there, about a year after college. She wasn’t quite finished with college yet. She had one more year left.
I knew very little about marriage. In fact, I actually knew far less than I thought I knew. In those days, premarital counseling really was not available where we lived. In fact, I had never heard of anyone getting married who had experienced something like this. Besides, I don’t think it ever occurred to me then that such an experience might be helpful.
My preparation for marriage? Not much. As I recall, I may have read a book that Charlotte had used a few years earlier when she took Dr. Carl Breechen’s "Christian Family" course at Abilene Christian University. I looked through her notes several times. I may have had a few conversations with Charlotte’s parents about marriage. I do not recall ever talking with any older male about the transition from being single to being married. I was getting married and my preparation for such a thing was very, very minimal.
We got married and first lived in a small apartment near the University of North Alabama. We had been married maybe a month when one day I decided to go to the store to buy something for my car. I had been working on the car and needed some sort of cleaner. So, I did what I had always done as a single person. I just got in my car and left. I was gone about an hour. When I got back to our small upstairs apartment, Charlotte met me at the door. "Where have you been?"
"Where have I been? Uhhhh—well, I went to the store."
"Well I had no idea where you were. You were in the kitchen one moment and then the next thing I knew you were driving down the street and you were gone. You didn’t say anything. You were just gone. I didn’t know where you were going or when you would be back."
Being the immature person I was, I immediately began to defend myself and justify. Yet, I knew she was right. We couldn’t be married and then one of us just drop out of sight for awhile, not communicating, etc.
For me this was the beginning of "Marriage 101" — You’ve got to learn to communicate.
Some of you are married. Some of you are not. For those of you who are married, I am wondering what it is that you wish you had learned early on.
What would you have liked to have known from the beginning of your marriage? Did you have anyone (a parent, a friend, a minister, or a counselor) who helped mentor you through those early years?