Thursday, February 14, 2008

Til Death Do Us Part – Rich and Kim

Up until now all the couples I have featured have been married until the death of one of the partners. Today I break that rule, since today is Valentine's day I wanted to tell the story of how I met and married my husband, Rich.

When I was in first grade we moved into a new home, after we had been there a few months, the pastor of a new church in the community invite us to visit his church. We had attended church when it was convenient, but church was never central in our lives. My mother was the one to take us, while my father was openly critical about Christians and churches. We would go to church if my father was golfing, working or at a football game. My mother decided to visit this church we had been invited to one Sunday and this decision would change not only the spiritual aspect of my life, but also I would meet my husband there.

My mother began to take us more regularly, but we still attended only Sunday school and Sunday morning services. During the morning services the church had junior church for elementary school age children. The service included all the elements of the regular church service—we sang hymns, prayed and had a lesson. During the services I was appalled by the behavior of the pastor's son Richie and his best friend Rob, they would blow spit wads at the deacon who was praying and had a tendency to laugh and talk during the service. Richie always seemed to be at the center of any disruption. (He would dispute all of this—but I have a better memory than he does.)

As I got older we still attended only the Sunday morning service, never attending any AWANA or youth functions, since this was the time my father tended to be home. I began to date boys at school but never the boys at church, since the kids in the youth group tended to date each other.

Unbeknownst to me, the Pastor's son had asked my brother if I was dating anyone and being an observent brother, he responded, "I don't know." So Richie dated other girls and I dated other guys. It seemed that one of us was dating someone when the other was interested. So it never worked out.

Our wedding - looking to the future
Richie went off to college at Baptist Bible College, while I stayed at home completing school. During the summer after Richie's freshmen year, his best friend Rob was killed in a freak car accident. This was devestating to the entire church. Rob had grown to be a much-loved young man in the church. When Richie returned to college that fall he continued to have issues with many of the school's rules. At the end of his third year of college he decided not to return.

The time was ripe for both of us. I had broken up with a boyfriend that I had dated for two years, one that I knew if I stayed with I would end up marrying and end up miserable ever after. He didn't hold the same values on family and life as I did. I wanted children and he wasn't very keen on them. He was very jealous and resentful of anytime I was not with him. He was very cheap—if he could buy a pot for 10 cents cheaper with the handle on the lid broken, that was the pot he wanted. Of course, it would take more than 10 cents to fix the pot, but that was fine with him.

Our mothers had been trying to gently throw Richie and me together for years and had finally given up—hint, hint: to all meddling mothers. We started going out as friends, having fun while many of our friends were either at college or getting married. Our love slowly blossomed, our first date was "Snow White and the Seven Drawfs," which we had to drive to a town 15 miles away to see. Richie's parents did not believe in movies, so we didn't want anyone to see us and report back to them. We had our first kiss in the steeple of the church we grew up in.

Immediately after the wedding
The following February 10th, six months after we began to date, unbeknownst to me, Rich had called my Dad to ask his permission to marry me. My mother knew what was going on when my father sat in his chair after saying "yes" and was still holding the phone when Rich got there to take me out. The only thing my father said after I left was "I bet she'll say 'no.'" Now don't get me wrong, it's not that my father didn't like Rich, he just wasn't ready to let go of his little girl. Rich took me to Blackie's House of Beef and was planning on proposing to me there, but chickened out. So we went parking in a church parking lot. Rich asked me then. Right after I said yes, a police officer pulled up to see what we were doing. We decided on a May wedding day, but set it for the following year. This would allow my father time to get used to the idea and time to plan.

Shortly after we got engaged, Rich's older sister also got engaged. Their parents thought it might be a good idea to have a double wedding. The only problem was she wanted a wedding at the park, playing volleyball at the reception. She didn't want attendents, a wedding cake, a wedding dress or even to wear shoes. Now if you know me, I am a traditional person and wanted just the opposite for my wedding—can you belive it, I wanted to wear shoes!

The wedding dress was a major problem. For some reason they don't make dresses for women who are 4'11" and weigh 80 pounds (that was almost 22 years ago and many pounds ago.) So we had to find a seamstress to make a dress for me. Since Rich's father was the founding pastor of the church we would have many wedding guests and lots of food to arrange. One of the ladies of the church offered to do all the catering.

Husband & Wife
The week before the wedding, Rich was sick, not a good omen. Two days before the wedding Rich gave me my first wedding gift—his sickness. The night before the wedding I could hardly talk. The day of the wedding I could hardly talk. Our honeymoon night I could hardly talk, I think he was hoping that would last throughout our marriage but I have actually tried to make up for it since.

We flew to the Virgin Islands the morning following our wedding. Right when I got over my husband's gift of illness, Rich got so sunburned he couldn't move for two days. I think we were just trying to get all the "in sickness" part of our vows out of the way.

When we have spoken to people who knew us then, many have been surprised that we are still together. Since Rich and I have very different personalities they felt that it would never last. The funny part is that due to each of our strengths and weaknesses we find that we need the balance the other gives us.

Happy Valentine's Day!

6 comments:

Mrs. Wilt said...

Kim,
I just can't tell you how much I was looking forward to this post today! It is always encouraging to see how God has brought couples together, and your story is beautiful (and funny in parts, too...I can imagine Rich being a spitwad-thrower, LOL) Don't we serve a wonderful God- there are no coincidences, only His timing! Thank you for sharing your story with us. :o)

Richard D said...

Mrs. Wilt - So you can imagine me being a spitwad-thrower, eh? You just wait until church this coming Sunday. I'm going to make sure I'm sitting behind you.

Mrs. Wilt said...

I'll have to make sure I'm wearing a hat! LOL Kim, watch out for me, will you? :o)

Anonymous said...

I, too, was looking forward to reading your story. What date to you choose in May? Our anniversary is May 29th. Married in 1969. God's timing is always perfect. All that time the two of you were building a history and friendship before becoming lovers. That's so sweet.
Rita

Kim said...

Mrs. Wilt- I got your back!

Rita- We were married on May 17, 1986. We had planned a May wedding so that we would be beat the summer heat, but that didn't happen. It was unusually hot that day. Mrs. Wilt's anniversary is in May also, I think it's a popular month.
I hope everyone had a wonderful valentine's day!

Anonymous said...

We were married on a hot night, too. The church air conditioning was not turned on until I started down the aisle. I remember being very aware of beads of sweat rolling down my back.
Rita
rrshaefer@comcast.net