Posted tagged ‘marriage’

The Bet

June 19, 2017

WORDS FROM W.W.                                                             June 19, 2017


In September of 1977 I began dating a young lady named Carol Faletti. Both of us were involved in the leadership of Young Life in the western suburbs of Chicago, and we hit it off pretty well to begin with. A couple of dates and a lot of laughter, it seemed like the relationship had possibilities. I was beginning my second year of seminary. She was teaching pre-school deaf children.

And then we made a bet!

I was still rooting for the Buckeyes of Ohio State at that point. Her brother-in-law had attended Oklahoma University. The Sooners were scheduled to invade “The Horseshoe” in Columbus for a football showdown, so we made a wager on the game. If the Sooners won I would buy Carol a steak dinner. If the Buckeyes were victorious she would do the same for me. Oklahoma kicker, Uwe von Schamann kicked a 41 yard field goal with two seconds left and Oklahoma was triumphant 29-28.

Before I could buy the steak dinner for her, however, both of us started dating other people!  Time passed and paying my debt got buried underneath term papers and textbooks. I didn’t really think of it any more…and then around Christmas of 1978 I received a Christmas card from Carol wishing me glad tidings, but also with the statement “Still waiting on my steak dinner!”

I had taken a class that fall in “Liberation Theology”, and was still intrigued by the language so I sent her a quick reply that said something like “The oppressed shall serve the oppressor, and I’ll buy you a steak dinner when I get back from Christmas break.”

On January 8, 1979 we had a nice romantic dinner at that restaurant hot spot where so many romances begin, Sizzler! Two months later we got engaged! Four and a half months after that we were married!

When I look back at those events I’m amazed at how an unfulfilled promise set in motion a thirty-eight year commitment! So many factors could have altered or derailed our journey. Von Schamann could have missed the field goal and Carol would have quickly paid up her bet. There would have not been a reason to get back together a year and a half later. She could have forgotten about the bet and we would never have renewed our relationship. Each of us could have gotten involved in another relationship that could have resulted in our paths never crossing again.

So many other possible outcomes, but a bet…one silly unfulfilled bet…caused two young adults to risk the possibility of love.

That story continues to amaze me, even after 38 years! It draws me towards the Great Designer, the Orchestrator, and gives me a sense of assurance that He knows what He’s doing! I would even go so far as to say that Use von Schamann didn’t make the 41 yard field goal. God did…because he had two people in mind who he wanted to bring together!

From Father to About-To-Be-Married Daughter

October 10, 2013

WORDS FROM W.W.                                                     October 10, 2013



Dear Child Turned Into Woman,


I’ve experienced a shower of joyful tears in recent days as I’ve pondered your approaching wedding. Your mother has labored hours and hours in anticipation of the event, and I know the labors of love have been preceded by years of prayers of love.

You are being wed to a man to look up to. Well…you usually do look up to anyone who is older than eleven, but you look up to Mike because of his character and qualities.  He has a spirit of determination within him, and he is determined to be a husband of strong character and substance.

So what can I say to do as you approach this transition from single young lady to new wife?

Be who are you are! Mike loves you for who you are, not for who you might be. He was drawn by your tender spirit, your sensitivity for those who are hurting. He loves your gullible nature and adorable laugh. He loves your strong convictions and commitment to principle. And he loves your fearfulness and, odd as it sounds, your fearsomeness. He loves your need for his input, although I don’t think you need to call him to see what kind of toilet paper you should buy at Walgreen’s! You can keep calling your mom for input on things like that.

Be grounded and surrounded! Continue to be a learner of the Word and a journeyer with Jesus. Beginning a marriage needs the spiritual blanket of prayer and support. Take each other’s hand at dinner and say a prayer of thanksgiving. Find some others who are followers of Jesus and join with them. Stay away from churches with hype and lot for a church of substance and authenticity. Question why you believe what you believe, and discover where your spiritual roots are solid and which ones need a bit if fertilizing.

Be addicted to laughter! Nothing brightens up a home light shared laughter. You’re good at that. Your life has been abundantly filled with laughter. You and your sister laughed so much together as you were growing up…and you still do! One of the joys as your father has been hearing sibling chuckles, even though I was clueless as to what you were laughing about.

Be weather-resistant! That is, you and Mike will encounter storms. Life has it’s times of blessed sunshine, but also torrents of rain. Stand firm! Stand together. As your parents get older there will be those health scares and realities that will bring stress to your life and Mike’s life. There will be disagreements that you will encounter with your husband. Don’t ever let life situations and storms rise above your love and commitment to one another. The depth of your marriage is directly related to the persevering through difficult times.

Be willing to ask. If you need advice call us. Both you and I know that you call your mom about eighty times a day to talk about wallpaper, reality TV shows, and the price of shampoo. I get it! I don’t like wallpaper, reality TV, or what the brand of my shampoo is. But if you need some advice on something, don’t be afraid to call. On the other hand, marriage is an opportunity for you and Mike to now figure out some things on your own. He can be your adviser and you can be his adviser. I’m okay with being the next layer down.

Be my daughter…still! I’m extremely proud of you. Who you have been, who you are, and who you will be. Each of our three kids is special to us. Who would have thought our kid who kept kicking down the “For Sale” sign in front of our house at 816 Cindy Street, Mason, Michigan, would one day marry Michael Terveen from Spearfish, South Dakota? Although you will legally be Mrs. Elizabeth Terveen, you will always be “Lizi” to us. We treasure our relationship with you, which although will take on a different dynamic, will not change at the core. You are our daughter…and now I’m crying tears of joy!

65 Years of Journeying

August 13, 2013

WORDS FROM W.W.                                                              August 13, 2013

     Today is the 65th wedding anniversary of my mom and dad. Not many people can say they’ve been married to the same person for 65 years. It’s one of those things that people respond to with wide-open eyes of unbelief and ask “How long did you say???”

My mom and dad “lasted” this long because…because…here it comes…they loved each other and love each other deeply.

The problem is that few people today know what ingredients go into a recipe for love. It’s not always the warm fuzzies that people think it tastes like.

Let me tell you what I believe has gone into my parents’ marriage.

The Salt of Shared Pain- I remember hearing conversations of loss. When words left their sting on my mom, my dad would be the listening ear, the agent of comfort. As they went through the difficulties of losing parents and siblings to death they cried on one another’s shoulders. Pain can often be lonely business. It can cause us to retreat into a place of isolation, but Mom and Dad walked through it together.

The Cinnamon of Intimacy- My parents did not shy away from embracing or kissing one another in front of their three kids. One of the things I remember my mom saying to my dad quite often was “Kiss me, Slobber Lips! I can swim!” I crack up when I think about that still. They conveyed through their hugs and words that they loved pne another. It seems that this usually happened right after dinner, which takes in the next ingredient.

The Sauce of Servanthood- I don’t remember that dinner was the responsibility of just one of them. Although my mom did most of the cooking, Dad would be involved in setting the table, or washing the dishes (unless it fell to one of the kids). When we had mashed potatoes he always got the assignment. Whenever we had liver and onions, not one of our favorites, he was tasked with the cooking. If it was fried chicken or cooking a pot of garden fresh green beans, it was Mom’s turn to shine. The smooch after dinner was almost like a kiss of appreciation and partnership. They had finished the day of work and home duties together.

The Cream of Commitment- Like cream in a soup that filters through the whole batch, my parents committed to one another…for better or for worse…for richer, or, for most of the time…poorer…in sickness and in health (That is the everyday journey right now!). I had never heard of the word divorce until my Uncle George got married. And then when he got remarried to someone else I didn’t understand it, because Mom and Dad were always together. It didn’t matter when the income was barely able, if possible, to meet the bills. It just meant a couple of more meals of beans. I can’t even picture one of my parents not being there, because they have been…for sixty-five years!

The Vanilla of Spirituality- Some people see the word vanilla and they think it indicates blandness, dullness, but the ingredient of vanilla is precious. In lay terms it’s expensive! My parents marriage has been a dance with God. I’ve never known a time in my life when I didn’t go to church…except for about a year in college when Bedside Baptist gained a new member, and I was enjoying the Sunday morning messages delivered by Reverend Sheets. I was raised in church, but my parents modeled Christ-like behavior and lives. My dad’s meal-time grace was heart-felt. Mom’s involvement in choir and a women’s missionary circle were exercised expressions of her Christian walk. They sat in worship together Sunday morning and Sunday evening. I wanted to be a Methodist growing up because I knew their children were home watching Walt Disney while I was sitting in a church pew. Mom and Dad always sat together in church, side-by-side, unless they had a kid between them that needed to be “secured!”

The Sugar of Simplicity- Mom and Dad were not defined by their possessions, their home, the cars they drove. They seemed to like American-built cars back in the day, but that didn’t matter that much. Whatever they had they took extremely good care of it. Vacations were spent back on my grandparents’ farm in Oil Springs, Kentucky, and that usually meant helping Mamaw and Papaw Helton with some of the farm chores. Relaxing was sitting in one of the front porch swings watching the occasional cars drive past. That simplicity, however, was special. Watching The Ed Sullivan Show on Sunday night after getting home from church (still a little disgruntled about the Disney thing!), while eating popcorn…that was a picture of our family. That was special and meaningful.

The recipe has several other ingredients that have been put into he soup, but, I guess what I’m saying is that my parents’ 65 year marriage shouldn’t be the oddity. Is it wrong to think that it should be the norm?

Would the world be a little less chaotic and topsy-turvy if my mom and dad weren’t see as being unusual?

Springing Hope

September 4, 2012

WORDS FROM W.W.                                                              September 4, 2012

Carol and I went to see “Hope Springs” last night. I saw a couple of aunts and uncles from my past in it. It was amusing…and too close to home! It made me ask the uncomfortable question “Is that us?”

If you haven’t seen the movie it is about a couple who have been married for 31 years. They have become…predictable…and emotionally distant even though they live in the same house. It’s the residue of time and routine that have swallowed up their love. The love is there, but it takes an incredible amount of guided effort to rediscover it.

Enough of the plot. I chuckled a lot during the film because I saw people that have been a part of my journey and upraising, but also I saw myself.

There are weeks that come and go as unsurprising as a farm tractor cultivating a corn field row by row. A surprise might be brussel sprouts at dinner, or, this year, a cool day in the summer.

But…I have to say this…there is also some comfort in the predictability. It is comforting to know that some things don’t change. Carol tells me that my color selection in what I’m wearing is not good. She also knows that Saturday nights are usually restricted times as I struggle with finishing up the Sunday sermon. I know that she enjoys playing “Spades” on-line. A pause in a phone conversation with her is a hint that she is in the midst of a tight game. She knows that I snore and has the freedom to kick me in the middle of the night. Bruises on my body are not a sign of spousal abuse, but rather a night of deep sleep and kicks with more effort behind them. One of us often ends up in the middle bedroom because of restlessness, snoring, intestinal issues, back pain, or trying to finish a book before sleep enters the picture. I am moved by how she engages and cares for kids. She is thrilled by former players that I’ve coached who come up to me in a store, or on the street, and initiate a conversation.

There is a routine in our lives that is good, even as we search for new opportunities. This summer we took a two day vacation. I know…I know…two days…ooo, big spender! But it was a great two days. We went to Vail and just relaxed, walked, explored, rested, ate, slept. Two days was too short, but it was good!

And then it was back to our routine.

We have a good life, a blessed life! It is filled with random moments of the touch of God, the soothing of our souls.

It’s things like our grand-daughter, Reagan, chasing our frazzled cat, Princess Malibu, around the house like a greased watermelon that is never quiet in the grasp. It’s taking Carol with me whenever I have clothes to buy, or never questioning the hint of going with her because dress shirts are on sale at Dilliards’s. It’s being comfortable with the fact that “if it’s cooked on the grill” it’s my job, and if it’s cooked in the oven it’s her domain. It’s helping her step down from the terraced garden in our backyard. It’s telling her what is going on in a ball game because her eyesight is not good.

I suppose you could say that there is a rhythm in our routine, a sense of feeling so fortunate in the midst of all the ways we have been blessed.

I know that I am not James Bond, but I also want to be a little bit to the left of my dearly departed Uncle Milliard.

A little adventure while I stand watering the front yard.

Tonight I’m going to take my bride of thirty-three years for a walk.

Maybe we’ll even hold hands…as we’re in the crosswalk!