By Mike Maynard
I’m holding a rose in my hand. A reminder of our Valentines night together dining, dancing, and staying at the hotel. Its petals are crimson red and full. Its stem is still very green and firm. As I hold it walking back to our car where my bride of 30 years waits for me, my mind is flooded with memories of our life together.
When we first met working together at the Red Bull Restaurant. We would pass notes to each other on napkins so the owner wouldn’t know we were dating. Jumping into mom and dad’s boat and going for rides on the lake. Picnics on a blanket by the river. Long walks hand in hand on wooded trails.
Being so nervous I ordered an omelet at a German restaurant before asking Judy’s dad for her hand in marriage. Pastor Zehender and Uncle Jim marrying us at old St. Luke Lutheran Church. How nervous I was watching as our first baby was born. Then Judy carried three more after that, all c-sections.
Going to Judy’s classrooms as she taught her students. I was so proud of her patience with the kids. Working with her home schooling our four kids. We went to sports events together with our children, did homework, laughed, cried and prayed with them. Judy and I watched them grow together.
Our family hiked the Shenandoah Valley portion of the Appalachian Trail. We packed their stuff when they went to college and we cried as we held each other.
I did hurtful things that I regret deeply to Judy, hurt of a depth that I will never fully know. So we went to counseling together. We fought, we cried, we yelled, and at times, we were very quiet towards each other.
Through it all, Jesus held our marriage together with a lot of prayers and support from family and friends. Our first daughter married a wonderful man, so I got to walk her down the isle and then look at my bride and cry.
We go to marriage retreats together, teach marriage classes together, and mentor other couples together. Every Tuesday is date night, we take dancing lessons together.
So as I carry that rose out to the car, where my smiling Judy awaits, the stem reminds me how we need to stay connected to Jesus, to continue to grow and stay firm in our faith and devotion to Him and each other.
The thorns remind me that there will be tough times in our marriage, but we can work through them.
The red petals remind me of the love we share together, that we will continue to go through life together, God willing.
Marriage retreats have always been a big part of helping us grow closer together and closer to Jesus. We look forward to Rock Your Marriage Retreat March 28th & 29th. Please join us. We will be leading a book study on Sunday morning’s during Lent called He Said She Said. Join us!
Mike and Judy Maynard