We were not ready for marriage. We were young, in love and we had no idea what we were getting into. I had a part-job, no money in the bank, an 8-year old Ford Mustang in questionable condition and lacked definitive career plans. Lisa’s marital resume was limited as well but much more impressive. She had money in the bank, a full-time job as a registered dental assistant and a solid head on her shoulders. Her Mustang was a classic, built in 1965, and paid for.
People told us we were too young (I was 20, Lisa was 21) and that we hadn’t been together long enough (we had known each other for 5 months). The pastor was stern when he told us that he had serious concerns about our prospects. My reply, “We love God and we love each other, what more do we need?” was dismissed as simplistic and immature.
We didn’t listen to the naysayers. On July 16, 1982, in our church in Fullerton, Lisa walked down the orange-carpeted aisle of the chapel, took my hand and agreed to be my wife. The ceremony was short and simple. It was an evening wedding and the night flew by. Our reception at the church consisted of cake, punch and a receiving line. We had changed out of our wedding attire and were on the road to our honeymoon shortly after 10.
Our honeymoon was simple as we were poor and could not afford anything extravagant. We went to San Diego, where we went to the beach, Sea World and the zoo and spent the week loving the fact that we were together. It was strange to be alone together and away from home on our own. It was so new, we felt as if we were doing something wrong and could get caught at any minute, or wake up and be alone again. It was new and strange, but we were happy.
34 years later we are still happy. Loving God and loving each other was enough, as we have aggressively pursued both goals. Because we love God, we share common values that have allowed us to find our way through disagreements and been willing to admit we when we are wrong. We understood that love is more than a feeling and we have been committed to putting each other ahead of ourselves, to forgiving one another and encouraging one another. It has not always been easy but our future together has never been in doubt.
Each year on our anniversary we look back on our young selves and laugh at how idealistic we were, how clueless we were, and how unprepared we were for all that was ahead of us. And we thank God for the truth that we would do it all again.
Bart (& Lisa)