Yesterday my husband, Wil, and I celebrated our 18th wedding anniversary. What an amazing 18 years it has been…like two rough stones put together and through fun, trials, excitement and love have become one.
The funny part is, and I can’t believe I’m sharing this here, is that my husband asked me to marry him before we ever went on a date and I said yes before we ever went out. So, here’s the story…
I had been separated from my ex for a few months, and my Sunday School teacher, Wil, had asked me back in October of 1993 to call his class every Saturday and check in with them for prayer requests, guests coming with them on Sunday, etc. I then called him each Saturday night with an update. I’d been going to Pleasantview in South Phoenix about 8 or 9 years before Wil ever came…he immediately became an avid disciple of Jesus and grew very close to our Pastor Butch and the rest of the body. He was and still is a walking billboard of God’s mercy and grace!
So, it was in April of 1994 that I was talking to him and I was tired of being alone – in every way and he asked me what I was going to do that night – I jokingly said I’m going across the street to the small pub and “get me a cowboy”…He immediately told me “aw hon (he’s from Texas originally), you don’t want to do that – marry me!” – I thought he was joking so I just laughed at him…
Then, in June we had our annual picnic up on the South Mountain park near the church and I noticed that every where I went, he was somewhere close by. Now, don’t get me wrong, I thought Wil was one of the most handsome man I had ever seen. But I was overweight, single with 3 kids living in a mobile home 20 miles from the church (near where he lived). Here’s a picture before my gastric bypass in 2004…
I talked to one of my closest sisters and told her everything – she told me “it’s the 90’s – ask him out on a date”. That was on Thursday evening.
Saturday when I called to give him the update, I found myself stumbling all over myself and finally, when he actually asked the same question “what are you going to do tonight” – I answered the same way I did that time in April – “going across the street to get me a cowboy”, he responded with this…”I know you thought I was joking back a few months ago, but I know your heart, I know your Spirit and I truly want you to be my wife”.
My heart stopped…so many single women in the church had been doing everything to get his attention – home-cooked meals brought to him at the school (he had become 1 of the teachers at our elementary school by this time) – trick: I don’t know how to cook…Took him to football, baseball games, etc. – trick: I couldn’t afford anything at that time. But, one gentleman that I picked up for Sunday and Monday and Wednesday services and classes, knew what I was going through and how much I found myself loving Wil – told me to “stand back from the crowd sweetie and let the “you” shine through”…”remember, God is in control of everything”.
So, I told Wil that I would think about it and let him know the next day. I went to church on Sunday morning and could not stop looking at him…he had the “Spirit”, the “smile and confidence in our Lord“, and just absolutely everything I knew I needed in a true helpmate I wanted and desired.
When I got home from church that day, I took the kids out to the pool in the park and was talking to an older woman I had made friends with in my time living there. I told her everything and she told me “I’m 70+ years old and if there’s one thing I’ve learned is that life is too short and if there’s something you want, you go for it”…I grabbed the kids out of the pool – put them down for a nap and picked up the phone.
My heart and stomach were both in my throat as I dialed his phone number…he answered and I just flat-out asked him – “were you serious about your wanting to marry me?” holding my breath, I waited for his response. “Yes, I was very serious”…so, I responded with the only thing that would come out “if you were serious, and you asked me over the phone, then I’m going to answer you over the phone – are you sitting down?” He said “yes” and I gave him my answer, “yes, I’ll marry you”.
We were married less than 6 weeks later surrounded by all our friends. My matron of honor, Sammy Jo, surprised us with decorations and candelabra and it was just beautiful – we expected nothing like that at all…I was so nervous I actually asked Sammy’s hubby Doug to go over to where Wil was living (a few houses down from the church) to make sure he was there and it was still “on”…It was…we were married by our beloved Pastor Butch Bradford and surround by more than 200 fellow brothers and sisters and co-workers and friends from where I lived up in the trailer park.
I love you my husband!