An excellent wife who can find?  Proverbs 31:10

July 9, 2021 – 44 years. Barbara and Grant!

I was 20 years old and serving the Lord for two years when my mentor told me, “You will only be as successful in your ministry as the woman that you marry.” My mentor, subtly indicating that I should be looking for a wife and be seriously praying for God’s leading.

Believe me, it was on my mind too!

I was running a ministry, driving back and forth from my hometown to Cincinnati Christian Seminary for my bachelor’s degree, speaking on weekends, while discipling new believers. And there were no internet dating services for hippie pastors in 1974.

I just had to trust the Lord. Pray too!

Our ministry building was an old farmhouse. With a creek behind this house, young people would accept Jesus and be baptized immediately rain or snow, but we really rejoiced when the sun was shining. Any season and any time of day were good for a baptism.

All in Ohio weather!

After a late-night prayer meeting, several wanted to be baptized, and I went upstairs to get into my baptizing apparel of cut-off jeans and a tie-dyed shirt. Coming down the stairs, while distracted in my pre-baptismal preparations, Barbara walked out of a room at the bottom of the stairs, and I walked into her.

I was immediately interested.

We talked the 150 yards to the river behind the house. I wasn’t very spiritual while officiating the baptism. I have forgotten who I baptized that night (I hope it worked out for them) as their baptizer was off in befuddled romance land.

In 2 Corinthians 6:14, Paul writes to not be “unequally yoked.” Radically applying this verse, I had determined to not marry someone who wasn’t following Jesus and to not even date a woman who hadn’t made a confession of Jesus as Lord and Savior.

Barbara had not accepted Jesus at that time, and so our first few times together, we studied the Gospel of John focusing on Jesus. Yep, the statement of Jesus, “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life” was the focus of our first date… oops… our first time together.

Two weeks after our meeting at the farmhouse and lots of studies in the Gospel of John, I baptized Barbara in the creek behind the ministry farmhouse. Right after the baptism – immediately after she came up out of the water – let the dating begin!

Forty-six years later (dating two years before marriage) with three children, six grandchildren, decades of ministry, traveling together on dozens of overseas mission trips, ups and downs, death, illness, and miracles – she still loves me.

I love her too, but the “hero” award goes to her.

Back in the ‘70s, a popular (all young Christians should read this before marriage) book was I Married You by Walter Trobisch.

A man shall cleave to his wife and they shall become one flesh (Genesis 2:24 KJV). 

The literal sense of the Hebrew word for “to cleave” is “to stick to, to paste, to be glued to a person.” Husband and wife are glued together like two pieces of paper. If you try to separate two pieces of paper that are glued together, you tear them both.

I cannot celebrate any success in my life without mentioning and appreciating my wife – the best wife in history. My mentor spoke wisely when mentioning careful prayer for my life partner.

My life/my wife – we cannot be separated.