Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things,
(1 Corinthians 13:7 NASB).
(Most of my blogs 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…)
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. After he arrived iin his heavenly home, he had to wait only 6 months for his bride to join him. (This is their picture at the top of the blog.)
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.
What do You Think?
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.
Leave a comment and tell me the name of one couple that has the kind of marriage you want to have. What makes them worth emulating?
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.localhost/sjold, 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.
Ive been married 30 years to my best friend. The advice I gave my children was you have to be friends first, when you dont like each other or love each other you have to make Love a decision through the Lord. Being friends and respectind each other is foundational, I love the truth of your story, the truth is marriage is hard work, its commitment when you no longer feel like you can stay committed, its courtesy when you want to throw something at them , its a smile when your crying inside, but most important for me its that HE is the MAN of my dreams, I dont look at what others have in their spouses I begin every day thanking God for giving me my spouse and being grateful that God knows me and knows exactly what I need, even when I have thought differently.
I love reading and “spending time” with all three of you in your devotions. I am going to take the 14-Day Romancing Your Husband Challenge. It is going to be especially hard for me as my husband left and divorced me years ago. Not taking the challenge yet, but I am guessing I can learn what I “should” have done as a wife. I am believing that the God I serve can still restore my marriage and return my husband and father of our three children home to his family. I would love for you to pray for our family and that my marriage be restored to even greater than it was before my husband left.
Cindy: I am praying for you right now! You have such a sweet spirit and it comes through cyberspace. I’ll be honest, some women who are divorced get mad and me when I do marriage devotions in February. Yep, not so nice emails come my way. I’d love to have a lot more Cindy-s. Have a blessed day. You have blessed mine.
I don’t know a couple that inspires me. In fact I said no to my husband when he ask me to marry him 14 years ago because I was surrounded by couples divorcing and the first were my parents after 25 years of marriage. Only after knowing I was pregnant with our first child then we got married. But at the door of my own divorce I meet Jesus and today 10 years later He has changed us so much and we are in the road to be the inspiration for our three boys. Of course we are a marriage of three, the Lord, my husband, and I. But I have to say, since I find the GIG’s 4 years ago, it’s been the time when I have really grow and realize my responsibility as a wife, as a builder.
Thank You Sharon to choose such important subject for your devotins and books.
I have three couples that inspire me, and I am sure my siblings, to work through the struggles to keep a marriage going. My husbands parents will be married 69 years in September. They both turn 87 this year. They have had their share of problems, him in military and coming home to work and raise 5 children. They have 11 grandchildren and ten great-grandchildren. My parents will be married 64 years in August. There are four children, nine grandchildren and 4 greats. My parents have struggled with illnesses at times. My father had 4 by pass surgery in 2003 my mom had a malignent sinus cancer that would have killed her without brain surgery in 2005. They are both well now and 83 and 80. In these families there has only been 3 divorces.
The other couple is my daughter and her husband. They were married in 2006 and in 2008 had our first grandchild. Porter has been diagnosed with “generalized dystonia” which is he has too much tone in his muscles. They constantly fight each other to work, like if he extends his arm it is fighting against him to pull it back. He will be 5 in April and does not walk, talk or chew. He can swallow liquids and soft foods. He does crawl and is communicating through sign language. But, he is the happiest little soul you have ever seen. He is determined and happy all the time. My daughter and her husband have been through the most demanding parenthood that I myself have seen. He is a constant work in progress and they both take it in stride. But, they have stayed together and loved this little boy. God knew what he was doing when he sent this child to them. They don’t always have time for themselves but they have it for him. We help as much as we can. He is in a pre-school now and absolutely loves it and they love him.
Just wanted to share this with you and hope you can keep them in your prayers.
I enjoy your articles! I liked reading about your inlaws. I like reading happy stories, all the better when they are true!
I’m glad you are talking about marriage the month of February. I don’t mind a bit.
However, could you spend time sometime talking to us divorced women? It’s one thing when you’ve never been married and you can ‘wish upon a star’, but being divorced and 50 and every church you go to only invites married couples to Valentines Day dinners,I get pretty lonely and am tempted(and did once) to leave the church because I feel so left out.
While I like Valentines Day that I can give gifts of homemade cookies and candy to my kids and my friends, Sunday mornings are difficult. I suppose this is probably how women who can’t have children feel. I realize the old ‘make God your priority’ is true and I have, but I just want to fit in!
God gave me an incredible gift in the person of my husband. I know how blessed I am and really do NOT take for granted the incredible love we share and the romance that makes our lives fun. We’ve been married for almost 56 years and I love my guy more deeply now than ever (tho that seems unbelievable even to me!). I think our secret is that we’ve let GOD teach us how to love one another with mutual submission, mutual respect and trust, a mutual willingness to see things through the eyes of the other. And, I suppose it may have started even before our marriage since in our wedding rings we had engraved the words, “One, in Christ.” But–it’s never too late to begin for those of you who don’t have a joyful marriage. Ask God for a remake of your own heart and mind (Rom 12:1,2) and watch how He will work through you to change your situation. Love Him first of all with all the passion of your heart and submit first of all to what God shows you. Be His willing learner and let HIM love you first of all.
Is it okay if I go into detail why I’m divorced? I had hyper emesis during the whole pregnancy of our first child. My husband would say things like, You must be making it up to get attention’ or ‘If you don’t get better, I’m giving the baby to my mom’ I didn’t and he didn’t.then almost three years later, I had a brain aneurysm. How do you believe any man is going to treat you well when this one says’People probably think you’re retarded when you walk down the street’.
I loved the story about Bruce and Mary Ellen!!!! My Husband Wayne and I have been married for 38yrs. On Sept.15, 2011 we found out I have ALS. At that time I could still walk, using a cane. I am now disabled and am in a wheelchair. My legs don’t work and my left arm and hand also does’nt work. Through all of this my Wayne has been so good to me, He has to do the cooking cleaning and laundry. He comes in from work and comes to me with a hug and kiss!!! Our love is so much sweeter now because he says he loves taking care of me. We both are depending on God will be done! Sure if he decides to heal me that would be great, but if he wants me to be a witness to ones that come out to see me, then that’s what I’ll be. My 2 grown children help out a lot so does my Church family. I love the Lord so much and so enjoy reading God’s word and sites like yours!!!!
I have to say my parents are the people I would love my marriage to be like. They’ve been married I think 33 years but I could be wrong. Anyways, their marriage has seen audultery, bankruptcy and a few moves. Yes through it all they are still one with each other. They not only have grown deeper as a couple but they are saved. They prayed day and night and still do for all their children. My sister and I have been saved. My brothers still resist. I pray that for my 10th anniversary in 2 years, I can sit here and say I am married to a believer. Right now I can’t say that because my husband refuses to let go of his anger towards God for taking his mother 13 years ago. My prayer is that in 20years my children are sitting here saying that they wish they have a marriage like their parents.
I was given this by my sister, I have been following the love dare and I want something more for my husband and I. I have three couples that inspire me so very much, my grandparents, my parents(who are now in heaven together), and my inlaws. These three couples truly know what love is. I am excited to start this new challenge and to see how God changes us. Thank you so very much! God Bless!
A lanky young man was about to ship overseas during WW II when he had the courage to go up on the hill to her house and ask for a date. She turned him down because she had a date with his cousin that night. When his years of military service ended, he made a beeline for the same house on the hill, and this time won an audience with his intended. They were married in March as she carried daffodils. They would tell their children how they started grade school together, and that she used to pass notes between him and his girlfriend. They said that metal was scarce after the war, so their first car had a wooden bumper. They would tell how the materials to build their first house came on a train, and everyone came to see it. There was always a delightful light in their eyes when they were together, with sly grins and stolen kisses accenting their days. Sixy-five years later, some of their four children, twelve grandchildren, and four great grandchildren searched for the right daffodils to engrave on his tombstone. None were good enough. She lives on alone, but the light in her eyes is not the same as it once was.
How could it be?
I actually have 2 couples to whom I look up. One is my parents. They married when she was 18 and he was 21, back in 1950. This past September they celebrated their 62nd anniversary. They have 7 children, 13 grandchildren, 6 step-grandchildren and 8 great-grandchildren…and they still hold hands, dance, and I have never heard my father call my mother by her name, but by “Honey” or Sweetheart” or somesuch. The second couple is my older brother, 9 years older than I, who married his high-school sweetheart back in 1975. 37 years, 3 sons and 4 grandchildren later, and they are still the loves of each other’s lives. I met my husband when I was 17, back in 1982; we married in 1985. After a battle with homelessness and infertility, we now have 2 young daughters, know we have each other’s backs, and are still best friends, and renewed our vows for our 25th anniversary in 2010.
Both of my sisters have been married 50 years and they both say that they feel that the reason their marriages have succeeded have been because they have always centered their marriages on the Lord. My oldest sister Carol is married to a Baptist pastor, has been a school teacher and raised 5 children. My other sister Susan is married to an engineer for Boeing Airline Corporation, is a nurse, did 25+ years in the Coast Guard as a Medic and raised 4 children.Both marriages were very different – one where money was always tight and the other where money was never an issue. But both have committed marriages with no history of “straying” from each other. I feel that their success comes from keeping God in the very foundation of their marriages from day one and I think their track record proves it!!
I have been receiving your e-mails for several years now and today’s message from GIG was what I needed. I am currently “taking a break” in the basement from my husband and three children. Life has thrown a lot our way in the last few years, twins, buying a business, and most recently my 6 year old son’s diagnosis of cancer. My husband and I have been together since I was a freshman in high school and we have learned a lot and grown a lot. This article is just what I needed to hear today. I want us to contniue to get better, closer to each other and closer to God. Unfortunately we do not have any “great marriages” in our lives to look to as a goal. We love our parents but neither set has been able to accomplish what I hope to in the next 20 years. Thank you for your words of encouragement this morning!!
There is a couple in our church, Kirk & Judy who are a wonderful example. While my husband and I have been married almost 36 years, there is always room to improve. Kirk and Judy love the Lord, you can see the love of Christ through them and there actions not only to each other but to those around them. They are such prayer warriors, and truly love the Lord. They are kind and loving. Their lives are true testamonies of their love of God.
The one couple I really look up to is my brother and his wife. I love the way they carry out their things… serving the Lord, Taking up Bible Studies, resolving conflicts in private… If there is one thing I want to leave my child today, it would be an example of such a family life. 🙂
Not been married for long really (6months to be exact) but am the kind of woman that wants to leave a legacy for my children and grandchildren to be proud of and learn from the good. Am totally inspired by couples around me that have stuck together through thick and thin…growing up, I have watched my sister’s marriage closely and I can confident say “Joy and Patrick” have been a great example to me.
Another plus, is me finding your blog; very inspiring and encouraging.
My parents celebrated their 69th wedding anniversary in December! They have been a wonderful example of love and commitment to our family. Their love has survived a World War (separated for 2 years in the days before, Skype, email, etc.), raising 8 children, cancer and now the challenges that come with old age (Mom will be 94 and Dad 93 this year)! My husband and I aspire to have a marriage like theirs and I would say we are well on our way! We will celebrate 31 years of marriage in June! Thanks Mom and Dad!
One night after bible study I “asked the Lord for a sign” that our relationship is in His will. Later that night before I fell asleep, my friend who, at the time was working about 800km from where I was, called me. He wanted to ask me in person before he went to sleep (“and will as soon as we see each other personally”) “please will you marry me”. The next 3 days, I completely forgot about it!!! Four days later he proposed in the presence of 3 other people! And only then did I remember I asked the Lord for a sign. In the meantime my dearest friend (in my heart my husband) “reconsidered” his proposal but I know I got a sign from God. I believe that this is just the time we need to pray for each other so that we will be the husband and wife He wants us to be and to strengthen our relationship with Him!
My husband & I will be celebrating our 34th wedding anniversary this year. I love him more today then the day I married him. He is a wonderful man who loves God, family & those around him. He is a wonderful father & husband. We have gone through rough times in our marriage just like others but God has always remained the center of our heart & home. He is very special to me. Thank you for the 14 day romancing. Love to my children & grandchildren & especially to my wonderful husband, Gerry.
God has truly BLESSED me with my husband, in so many ways! We have been together 13 years and married for 10. For the last eight years I have had nothing but health issues, it seems one right after the other. After 25 surgeries and twenty two months of chemo and now looking at another surgery real soon, I don’t know how he puts up with me. i feel as though I have been nothing but a burden to him and I don’t deserve all that he has done and continues to do for me. I am always trying to find ways to show him how much I love him and just how grateful I am for everything, but sadly feel like I fall short most of the time. I have so many physical limitations. I am really looking forward to any guidance that you have to offer!! So thank you in advance and may God Bless all of you for all you do to reach out to all of us!!
I have been with my boyfriend for 20 years now, and he has helped me raise 2 of my children. We have never married but we do everything like we were married. I do respect him, and the one way I do show it, is I talk to him about important matters in the home and in his family owned business. We Lost my oldest son in October of 2012 and it just happed to be on our 20 anervirery, we both are still in shock from it. If he had not had respect for me in this time of grief we would have a lot of problems in our life. He respected the time I needed to be alone and the commings and goings of friends even if he did not like them and trust them. he knew I needed everyone to help me though the death. Respect is my number one goal with my life with him.
I wanted to say how God has a time and place for everything. My husband and I have been married now for 5 months but have known each other for 30. We wanted to be boyfriend and girlfriends when we were about 15 years old but it just didn’t happen and my husband Gene at that time had moved away and met someone new and got married. We never forgot about each other and life just happened. Gene and his wife lived in Florida and Mississippi for many years and they decided to move back to Louisiana where Gene was from and his precious wife of almost 20 years past away three months after going back to Gene’s home state. A very devistating time in his life of course. Four months later Gene and I crossed paths and we fell in love again. The very first day he seen me he told me he was going to marry me and never lose me again. We were married 10 months later. During that courting time the Good Lord took my Daddy away to heaven too. God took the most wonderful Daddy out of my life and placed the most wonderful man in it who is now my best friend and husband and I thank God every day for this wonderful man. My Daddy and Mommas were married 54 years before my Daddy went to heaven. Yes marriage is a job but with God in it it can be wonderful. Thank you my sweet Jesus for my wonderful Husband. This marriage was in Gods time not in our time.
When I read the 1st paragraph today, I thought you were talking about MY life! For 35 yrs. I’ve been put down, ignored, avoided, yelled at, shot down, ridiculed and disrespected. But I’ve hung in, and am still trying to get along with my husband. Divorce is not an option. Can you give me a Bible verse which would help HIM see how The Bible asks men to treat their wives? With love and respect, and adoration. I can’t remember where that is. Meanwhile I will pray every day that God will help me in our relationship, and that God will help him too. I believe that respect is a two way street!
Think and pray before speaking!!!
Sometimes I guess we can all see the things we wish we could change in our man. With this 14 day challenge I am trying to not focus on those traits and focus on the guy that I have been in love with him since I was 14 years old. Thank you for reminding me why we have lasted forever. I’m 61 and he is 65, like I said forever. He has been my rock when I tended to get in a tizzy. He is layed back and takes it one day at a time. Of course, I am thinking about tomorrow. He keeps me grounded. God blessed me mightily when we became one 33 years ago. I am asking God to let me see my husband with a fresh view. Everything needs a little freshening once in a while and this is long overdue. He deserves a wife that loves him anew and not the same ole’ same ole’. Thanks Sharon!
That’s 43 years ago!
Hi, And first of all I want to say thank you to the Lord for placing Girl friends in God at my finger tips and then your 14 day Romance challenge. God knows our needs in life and better then we do or any one else.
I have been married to my husband for 25 years. It is my third marriage. I married very young the first time and 2 children and 6 years later divorced. Jumped right into a relationship right after that, we were together 5 years married 1 year had a child together then were divorced. I soon found myself at the old age of 26 a single mom raising three children. I finally turned to God like I had been taught to do and prayed and asked for his help. He answered right away and sent me my wonderful husband I am married to today. Not only is he a wonderful husband, he’s a wonderful dad to my three children and we had one more together. But our life has had a lot of bumps. I struggle with jealously that comes along with me from my past. My husband has not received the respect that he deserves because of it and I have prayed and prayed and I think thats why God has led me to this love challenge. My husband deserves a wife who can love him and trust him fully and give him the respect he so needs. Thank you Sharon
Listen to him when he is talking…I mean really listen, and don’t interrupt. Try to respond in such a way that he will be able to tell that you are interested in what he has to say, and not just in getting your thought across.
Hi Sharon, Thank you for the challenge, I have been married 22 years will be 23 in March and I needed a reminder to truly romance my husband. We have had our struggles but with God we have overcome.
Thank you for your devotionals. Everyday I try to thank my husband for the things he does around the house to help. I still work and he is at home. I don’t want to have him feel taken for granted, so when I come home, I thank him for whatever chores he’s done that day. He says I don’t have to, but when I say I don’t want him to feel taken advantage of, he smiles, so I know he likes it.
I have several young friends in relationships / marriages. I’ve seen a couple of them fail because they are always trying to “get over” on one another. I try to tell them that’s not how you treat your mate / lover / friend. It is very sad to see when they could have great relationships if they just added respect.