I can remember sitting in the Jr. High lunch room with a bunch of friends as we all reflected on who we were going to marry.
Oh of course, we were very idealistic in our Jr. High imaginations as we dreamed up pictures in our minds eye of what Mr. Wonderful would be like.
He would have that rugged, outdoorsy, woodsy sort of look, ride up on a white horse and take us galloping off into the sunset, even though we currently didn’t know any guys with white horses, nor knew when or even where the sun was setting at any given time.(This is a true statement, about the sunset I mean, since one of my friends once actually asked my mother if the sun always set in the west!)
Yes, we had it all figured out and as each girl shared, they came to me and asked what sort of man I thought I would marry.
“I am going to marry a pastor!”
This was not exactly the response that most of them were expecting since we had always liked the same group of boys for the past couple of years and none of them seemed necessarily to be very ‘pastoral’, if you know what I mean.
Neither were any of them proud owners of white horses or any horse for that matter, but they still were in the running because we had an incredible ability to create scenarios in our minds that we were pretty sure could actually come to pass.
My friends obviously wanted an explanation from me on this whole pastor idea since I was breaking out of the group think and venturing into un-chartered territory.
No doubt, they were concerned that I was dooming my future to a life filled with boredom and poverty, stuck playing hymns on the piano week in and week out, despite the fact that I had only taken less than a year of piano lessons in my entire existence!
But for whatever reason, they wanted John Wayne and I wanted Billy Graham.
I could’t really put my finger on it other than the fact that I adored my evangelistic pastor who had so clearly made the Bible come alive and was instrumental in me coming to faith in Christ.
He was no boring pastor, who would lull you into the doldrums with monotonous monologues. I wasn’t the sort of kid that easily bought the bunny farm and I loved his passion for what he believed and his commitment to give his life to it.
I could see myself married to a man who was also passionate about telling others about Jesus and together, as a team, we would go share the gospel and help people grow in their faith.
As the years went by, I dated some guys in various positions of Christian ministry and a few times I actually thought that maybe one of them would be “the one” but the relationships never developed into anything more than friends.
I tried to make some of them work but there is a difference between going to the altar and trying to “alter” another person to fit the picture in your mind. This approach is never fair to anyone and is best to be left alone.
People often say that you just know when it is the right person.
That was how it was when my future husband finally arrived.
We spent hours talking as friends involved in a ministry together and discovered we both were headed in the same direction. Our goals, our dreams, our shared values and convictions were so perfectly matched that I knew if he ever asked me out, we would become partners for life.
He did and we are!
Our personalities compliment each other well, although, they are not without conflict.
He is an otter, lion and I am a retriever, beaver. He is a guy that isn’t afraid to take on a new task or challenge but hates a new move. I am the gal that loves a new adventure and meeting new people but gets overwhelmed when facing a project that I have no experience with.
I think my Jr. High friends would agree it has worked out fairly well for me these past 38 years of marriage and life has been anything but boring.
They might even smile to know that when my Billy Graham is out of the pulpit, it is not uncommon to find him stretched out on the couch in front of a favorite old movie starring John Wayne.
Looking back on these years of marriage, I realize that our youthful dreams are often a picture of things to come, if but only in part.
The reality is what you create together in this commitment to love, cherish and remain faithful to each other through thick and thin.
It will hold a little bit of all that we envisioned and more.
It won’t be so much the expectations and qualifications of the “one”, but the “oneness’ that becomes of the “two”.
Of course, there may not be a horse to ride off into the sunset on either, but instead a hand to hold as you watch one set.
And that is the stuff that true dreams are made of.