Anniversary Letter

Dear Family and Friends,

As you are reading this letter, we are celebrating the first twelve months of the best life ever as man and wife. On April 12th, 2008, we left behind our lives as single adults and began our journey together as one.

Throughout the beginning pages of our marriage, we have been blessed with the wonderful opportunity to travel to many fantastic places including:

  • A very memorable honeymoon in Rome, Italy
  • A trip to Colorado to the very spot where Marshall proposed
  • And multiple visits with family in North Carolina, West Virginia, Arkansas and Michigan

(For all you trivia fans that is  roughly 70,000 miles via car, plane and train!)

Beyond the physical miles that our marriage has already experienced, we have had a blast traveling the road towards intimacy better known as the “getting to know my new roommate-for-life” chapter. It has been fun embracing all the quirky things we both do.

For example:

Marshall: “So tell me again why your shoes, purse, and earrrings all have to match?”

Patty: “Why would anyone hold onto socks that have holes in them?”

Marshall: “I thought you mopped when you moved into a place and then again when you moved out.”

Patty: “What do you mean you need space? Don’t you want to be with me?”(in tears)

Beyond the humorous, we are continuing to learn how to grow together as Christ-followers and realizing the importance of having deep roots in our marriage. We found a great church that we have attended weekly and just finished a marriage enrichment class that was phenomenal. We also discovered early on how important it is to continue to date. So every week we’ve set aside a night for dating. It’s really fun. Sometimes there’s flowers and a nice dinner. Other times games and a trip to Starbucks is on the agenda. Regardless of the content, the time spent together building our relationship has been so rewarding.

We are about to make a move to Texas which is very exciting. Actually, we will celebrate our anniversary amidst moving boxes, but the anticipation of a new adventure allows us to overlook the odor of cardboard. Marshall is taking a job working again with Pepsi but there will be no travel required for which we are thankful.

For those of you who are wondering: no babies yet. We’d really like to take another year to fully focus on each other before adding the blessing of a little one into our lives. But don’t worry. We do want kids…probably three.

If you were able to attend our actual marriage ceremony, you may recall that we asked you to commit to pray for us. I am sure that you are aware of the reality that there is a violent attack against the family taking place all around and that marriages are suffering severely as a result. In December of last year, we ran into a young man who had married six months before us. We small talked and gushed about our excitement of being married and how the time was just flying. Our gaiety was quickly sobered as we discovered that his own marriage had dissolved on what would have been its one year anniversary. We were crushed and although divorce has never been a thought in our minds we recommitted to each other:

Our marriage is for keeps and we choose to grow older together regardless of what challenges may come our way.

With such a fervent desire, we ask that you continue to pray for our marriage. We look back on this past year as some of the greatest times in our lives and love each other more today than the day we spoke our vows in ernest. We look forward to many, many, many, many more years to come and we thank you for your part in our story!

Embracing the Journey,

Marshall & Patty Parker

AKA the Newlyweds for Life

PS. Come see our journey at www.newlyweds4life.com .

Becoming One Part III

Attending church is one of the highlights of my week. This past Sunday my husband and I had the honor of sitting behind a lovely elderly couple several decades our senior. During the time of worship, they stood side by side; he in a brown corderoy jacket and she in a lovely beige sweater. Time had aged them, yet, even their numerous wrinkles seemed kind. As they lifted their voices in sweet worship, his left hand made its way to her right hand resting on the chair in front of them. In that moment, though the music resonated loudly throughout the sanctuary, a heavenly silence overtook me as I took in this precious scene. Their hands touched and they worshiped, and my heart warmed as if sitting in front of a roaring fire on a cold night. “What struggles had they faced in their time as man and wife?”, I wondered. “And what joyful times had they celebrated day after day?” After all these years, they were so in love and truly committed to their God. Their worship was genuine and their love captivating. A light scent permeated the air, but it wasn’t  perfume. Its origin was heavenly.

As I stood alongside my own husband and worshipped, I could not help but hope and offer a sincere heart prayer, that we too, would be so fully committed to the Lord and to our relationship when our hairs had softened to to a beautiful gray and our hands wrinkled likewise.

To have and to hold from this day forward...
To have and to hold from this day forward...

Becoming One Part II

372404399_e52bf-s1I just finished reading the book of Ruth, a story that I have read numerous times. What a great love story! The part that gets me every time, though, is Ruth’s pledge to her dead husband’s mother. “…where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God. Where you die I will die, and there I will be buried. May the Lord deal with me, be it ever so severely, if anything but death separates you and me.”(Ruth 1:16b-17)

I’ve heard similar pledges spoken as vows at weddings. I say it often to Marshall. These words are potent and not to be spoken in haste or without sincerity. In this becoming one journey, where Marshall goes, I must go. Where he stays, I must stay. His people are now my people. His God, my God. And where he dies, there I will die also and only death will separate us. Now, these statements are not made out of reluctance but because we are man and wife.

Where he goes: In this year as we seek the Lord and the direction for our lives, we believe that a move is basically inevitable. Although I’ve always been the adventurous type living anywhere from 3 hours to several days travel away from my childhood residence, there was always the comfort in knowing that I could come home at any time. Now my home is with my husband. If we were to move to say Texas, we could always visit my family and they us, but there is something permanent about making a move as a married couple. I was talking with my sister-in-love on the phone last night. As they prepare to make a move in the next year, Ruth is a little worried about how her two year old will respond to leaving the only home that he has ever known…the only home that she and her young family has ever known. Valid concern, yet they will face this change as a family beautifully. They will go where God leads them as will Marshall and I.

Where he stays: I am what you call a faithful wanderer. I am committed wherever I am and to whatever I am doing but often I get bored with my environment and want to change things up. I can recall numerous situations where I just wasn’t happy anymore where I was. Ironic to note, however, that God never moved me on until I was truly content in my present situation…then I didn’t want to move! Anyway, where God leads us as a couple, we will STAY until he moves us on. Staying is more than a state of being; it is also a condition of the heart. I think we both are challenged by this one. Why work on building roots if we might be uprooting ourselves in a few months? All the same, we will plant ourselves where God puts us and move only by the leading of the Holy Spirit. For where we are now is as great a part of God’s plan as the next phase and the next.

His people: I’d say it is a little less challenging for me to embrace Marshall’s family. In fact, it’s rather easy. His parents are wonderful people and his sister is my best friend! I know, however, that people will come into our lives that will act as sandpaper to smooth us out, others as sugar to sweeten us and yet others will come that we are to sweeten and smooth out. As God commands us to love one another, we will love the people that God brings into our lives.

His God: Marshall and I both have been blessed to be raised in Christ-enriched homes. We sincerely believe that a thriving relationship with Christ is of the utmost importance. Because we are one, it is now our walk with Christ. If his relationship with Christ is suffering so will mine and vice versa. We have the opportunity to practice Proverbs 17:27 to the fullest extent of its meaning. We are iron sharpening iron praying for one another, challenging and encouraging each other.

Separation by death alone: It is not really cool for me to think about my husband or me dying especially since we are only 3 months into our marriage relationship, but we are committed to allow no other situation to separate us. We are truly blessed to have the rare example of one marriage parents on both sides. We have watched them love each other, struggle through difficult times together, and come out the other end standing with hands intertwined and hearts even more united. Marshall and I want the same for our relationship. So even when times get difficult and we don’t seem to get each other, separation, divorce, splitting up are not words we will ever introduce into our vocabulary.

Yeah, this becoming one is really cool. And so we continue to embrace our journey as man and wife knowing that where He leads, we will follow, where he plants us, we will thrive, those people he places in our lives we will love, his presence we will pursue and the gift of marriage that he has given us we will protect ‘til death do us part.

Embracing the Journey,

Patty