My man and me

Thirty-eight years tomorrow.

The organist played the wedding march and I stood next to my Daddy in the foyer with my heart pounding like clapping thunder in my chest and wearing an ever so slightly off-white, nothing special wedding dress so as not to be a total fraud. We’d rented the dress for $65 and it never even occurred to me to mind. I come from very modest means and there was no world in which I expected my parents to spend several hundred dollars on a dress. They didn’t have it. And, except for the monthly stresses of bill paying in our home and overhearing my mom on the phone with bankers about overdrafts and loans and mortgages, we didn’t care that we made it by the skin of our teeth. It was normal to us and, for that matter, normal to most of the people we knew.

The congregation of about 200 came to its loud feet with the prelude and almost that many faces looked straight back at me and Daddy. My eyes darted up the middle aisle of that small Baptist church, shifting back and forth from smiling face to smiling face, many very familiar to me despite having been there a few short years. I served wherever I churched because that’s what I was raised to do. Never considered not. That day at Spring Woods Baptist Church in Houston, Texas, my wide-eyed gaze also fell on a few faces of those who filled the front aisles. Family members. And, trust me when I tell you, they weren’t smiling. Every year around our anniversary, Keith and I recount the whole ignominious scene with one another and mock the family scowls and laugh until our sides split. Nothing could have been less humorous on that particular day but the thought that we spited all of them by making it this long brings Keith and me no small glee. We were both in long term stable relationships when we met. I was engaged. He was soon to be. Each of our families loved our significant others. And, in a way I won’t go into trying to explain, so did we.

I’m not sure Keith and I ourselves completely understand why we dropped everything dependable and remotely stable in our lives and flew headlong into one another with all the tranquility of a pair of cymbals. The best explanation is that clamor attracts clamor and baggage attracts baggage and, boy, did we each have some. And then there was just pure chemistry. Had we been married to other people when we met, God help us, I trust we would have either ignored or resisted it or, by that time, never met but the fact was, we weren’t married, we did meet and we did not remotely ignore nor resist one another.

The words “wedding planner” weren’t even in my vocabulary or that of anyone I knew. The woman standing in the foyer with Dad and me on the day of the wedding was one of the very same women who brought a green bean casserole or jello salad every Wednesday night to fellowship supper. When the organ piped up, she nodded her head, touched my shoulder and said “Now.” She’d told us to go slow and Dad and I had practiced the night before but, for the life of me, I was either going to run down that aisle to that man in the tux or my hind end was going to flee to the parking lot where I’d holler like a wild hyena until somebody picked me up and hijacked me to Mexico.

I cannot say that it did not help that Keith Moore was the most beautiful man I’d ever kissed in all my life. Dad and I flew so fast down that aisle that my veil nearly took me to the wind like the flying nun.

A thought which carries impressive irony.

In seconds it seemed, the pastor said to the congregation, “Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you Mr. and Mrs. Keith Moore.”

And, just like that, the wedding was over.

Let the drama begin.

And I guess in a lot of ways it’s never come to an end. It’s just a different kind of drama these days for the most part.

I’ve been asked many times if I’ll ever write a book on marriage. I don’t expect to. I have no intention of setting us up as some exemplary couple. Keith and I have not had a great marriage. But, somehow, in recent years, we’ve managed to find ourselves in a pretty good one. And I guess it’s fair to say you’ve never met two people happier about being pretty happy.

We don’t just kiss on our anniversary. We high five.

I’m really reluctant to do what I’m about to do because what if he and I get into the biggest fight of our lives tonight and I maniacally hurl all his fishing gear and deer heads and forty pair of unders in the front yard? I’ve never done that before but I’ve always known I had it in me. I’ve always kept my pitching arm in shape for such a time as this. And what if one of the neighbors videos us and I end up on the YouTube cussing? I’ve never been one to cuss much but, if I’m ever going to have a cussing conniption, it will be my luck to have it on the YouTube. One time I did try to leave Keith and he said, “Go right ahead. Leave me. But you’ll look in your rearview mirror and there I will be and not because I like you any better than you like me. Because I don’t. But because we are married and married we’ll stay.” Keith never was a great Catholic except about the one thing I wished he’d been more Baptist about: splitting.

And so, like somebody pulling teeth, I’m reluctantly going to tell you with little commentary a few of the things that have kept us at it, every single one of which is nothing but the dripping grace of Jesus. We can’t even take credit for the things that have actually worked. So here goes and then I’m closing this post and publishing it before I change my mind.

If you don’t mind, I’m going to do this backwards and start with the bottom line because everything else comes back to this: We have both and each been willing, many times through bitter tears and against our human-hearted natural preferences, to choose to love each other again. Over and over and over and over.  After some really harsh things.

We had Amanda nine months and two weeks from our wedding day after being told I’d need surgery to conceive. Liar, liar pants on fire. We may as well have named her Elmers. She was the glue God used to hold our first few years together. Then came Melissa, who was a dyed in the wool daddy’s girl. We still wouldn’t have made it even with them to consider, I’m sorry to say, if not for that one bottom line above.

We developed compassion for one another. We were both messed up and we each understood why. And, I really don’t know a better way to say it, we felt sorry for one another and started trying to help each other get better.

The fact that I could sob as I write this next one is fittingly ironic. We each think the other is hilarious. The only thing Keith and I have done as much as fight is laugh. I don’t know why we got that gift but we did. We even laughed at times in the terrible years. We tried not to but we couldn’t help ourselves. We are each the most absurd person the other has ever met. We are a cartoon strip and we know it.

One last thing. I told Keith before we were engaged that God had placed a call on my life at 18 and, if he didn’t think he could handle it, he better run for his life. Having no other paradigm for a woman in ministry, he looked at me with a measure of horror and said, “Are you going to be a nun?” (We’d made out for the better part of the last hour so the absurdity of this one makes me rub my forehead with no small delight.)  No, I said, to which he responded, “Then I’m in.” And he has been. For somewhere around 15 Bible studies, numerous other books, 23 years of Sunday School lessons, many years of Tuesday night Bible study and two Friday nights a month with me on the road. Unwaveringly. And not as a weakling but as the strongest willed man I’ve ever met. Nobody need wonder who wears the Wranglers in my family. And you may as well not go to seed feeling sorry for him. He’d have to lie to say I ignored him and then I’d have to hit him with my purse and, considering all the lip glosses in it, it would hurt considerably. Him, not me. He just wasn’t the kind that would be ignored. When we were at home together, we were at home together. I didn’t hang out on the phone all the time doing ministry or study my commentaries in front of him – I did that while he was at work – or flip through magazines. To this day, if I’m messing around on social media on my phone when I’m with him, he’ll say, “Pay attention to me!” And I’m glad he will. And I do. Or we’d have nothing.

And, finally, after many years, I returned a certain spiritual favor after all he’d done to be supportive of my calling: I just accepted him like he was and quit trying to turn him into a deacon or some big spiritual beacon. He didn’t want to be one. Doesn’t want to now.

Thirty-eight years tomorrow. This one man and me. We’ve decided to stay in this dance a little bit longer.

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Because, ladies and gentlemen, smilers and scowlers, we are Mr. and Mrs. Keith Moore.

 

 

 

 

 

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405 Responses to “My man and me”

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Comments:

  1. 351
    Kara says:

    What an awesome, down to earth, honest post. Happy Belated Anniversary! God Bless you both!

  2. 352
    Ginny says:

    Happy Anniversary! I enjoyed your post immensely and appreciate your honesty! This life is for real and not a fairy tale. God Bless you both with many more joyous years together in Christ.

  3. 353
    Judy Libby says:

    Happy Anniversary, Keith and Beth!

  4. 354
    Susie Q says:

    Beth, thank you so much for sharing. Not such a great story here … yet. But, as Ann Voskamp said to me “Susie, God’s Promises never end in ashes!” Love you, Sista Girl!

  5. 355
    Lisa says:

    Beth,
    Congratulations to you and Keith on your anniversary! I enjoyed and was uplifted by this post. You are such a wonderful writer.

  6. 356
    Amanda Love says:

    I just laughed and cried & wondered MANY times if you were talking about MY marriage or yours … Cannot begin to tell you how I love your honesty & how God has used you in my journey! He IS ever faithful. Happy Belated Anniversary.

  7. 357
    Kamau says:

    Congratulations

  8. 358
    Katrina G says:

    “after we had made out for the better part of an hour” HA!!!!! Love it ! Just discovering your awesomeness. I am very excited for SSMT2017!

  9. 359
    Emilie Horner says:

    I commit. Emilie Horner Pocahontas Tn. When thous saidst, Seek yes my face; my heart said unto the, Thy face Lord will I seek. Psalm 27:8

  10. 360

    Swoon! I love the truth of this post. Me and my man will celebrate 12 hard and wonderful years together in April. Thanks for your honesty, Beth. Most of us are married more to a “Keith Moore” than that “deacon” we’ve pedastalled in our weird-Christian-Fabio-fantasy.
    Praying you laugh each other into the arms of Jesus! – Jes

  11. 361
    Erin Campbell says:

    You are beautiful.

  12. 362
    Kelly says:

    Dear Beth – I just needed to read this today. Thank u.

  13. 363
    Vicki says:

    Thank you, thank you, thank you for this post! My marriage has been and continues to be one of my greatest blessings, and yet my greatest struggle. Your transparency is so encouraging, as I know my husband and I are just two broken people who have been touched by the mercies and grace of God. To know we’re not the only ones who continue to strive in this area makes me feel not so alone. May you and your man continue to persevere, as we will, too, by the grace of God! Happy anniversary!

  14. 364
    Cindy Schutter says:

    Love your story! I’m so glad for the realness you share. Happy Anniversary, our 30th is this year (Tim and Cindy) and we are gonna keep going too. BTW You are one of my dearest friends.

  15. 365
    Stephanie Tausch says:

    Blessed to know this is marriage and I/ we to am/are in it for the duration.

  16. 366
    Dolly Smith says:

    This is fabulous!

  17. 367
    cindy says:

    ….thank you…..

  18. 368
    Kelly Rogers says:

    Beth,
    Thank you for sharing! I can so relate. Spit and grit is how we’ve rolled at my house…..for 26 years. God bless you as you continue the journey.

  19. 369
    Aaron says:

    Thank you for tearing down the veil that the stage and the screen and the website create. Thank you for helping me to see that God uses the struggle as well as the obedience. There is something powerful in knowing that I am not the only one who fights to stay married, and that Jesus is sanctifying all of His precious saints.

    “The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you; the Lord lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace.” Numbers 6:24-26

  20. 370
    Carla says:

    So beautifully said! Even with a man as minister he still isn’t as “spiritual” as I want him to be, but this isn’t up to me. His
    T because I like to dig, study more so than him doesn’t mean he’s not. It’s taken me a long time to come to this understanding. This past year we celebrated 40 years of marriage with some of the same baggage as you’ve described. Many more happy years you and Keith.

  21. 371
    Angie says:

    Thank you so much for pouring your heart out in this article. Jake and I have been married now for 26 years and have experienced many of these same struggles. Ironically, Jake is Catholic and I am Free Will Baptist. Between his religious reasons for staying married, me taking “for better or for worse” seriously, and God’s wonderful grace, we have fought through the hard times.
    Almost daily, for many years, I wondered how my life would have been if I had chosen differently. I struggled through those years and God finally gave me peace,
    Today, we have a great love for God and each other.
    We all have struggles. Thank you again for sharing.

  22. 372
    Lisa Jump says:

    Dear Beth,
    I cannot put into words how much this post has meant to me. I first realized things were different than what I assumed when I was attending Joyce Meyer Ministries Women’s Conference in September and saw you. You explain then that you had asked for God’s favor from your husband whenever you we’re about to start a new project.
    I have been a Christian as long as I can remember. I have sown some Wild Oats in my days but finally realized that God had to be my pilot instead of my co-pilot. If I were to be completely honest God was more like the Coast Guard coming to save me after I crashed plane. I have been married for 33 years to a good man. He has followed me through many different Ministry opportunities. At first I would have to pull him by the ears but he always accepted it and did his best.
    Recently I have felt a call on my life to “write” (not entirely sure what that means yet). I say recently but it’s actually been about 10 years and I have made one excuse after another. One of the excuses I make is that my husband wouldn’t be much of a support for me. Again to be brutally honest he drains me spiritually.
    Your words have been an encouragement to me as well as an admonition that I need to get busy and do what God told me to do and stop making excuses. Thank you for your faithfulness through the years. I have learned so very much from your Bible studies and Wednesday’s with Beth. God bless you and your ministry and in your life.
    Thank you,
    Lisa Jump

  23. 373
    Wendy says:

    My baggage married his baggage too, and we were clueless! We went to pre-marital and post-marital counseling, and still brought too much stuff to the table. But there was nothing that hasn’t been redeemed. I find it refreshing in a sense, that we are not the only ones who married as Christians, still follow Jesus, but daily are brought to our knees with praise and petitions to keep the baggage at bay. But by the grace and favor of God, we are 23 years strong and ready for more! Praise God that He continues to bless our baggage, our boys and this blending of two lives with issues a plenty. It has been the best of times, and the worst of times, but has always been blessed!

  24. 374
    Julie Elrod says:

    Wow! Thank you for this amazingly real and honest post! I just love it and it makes me love you even more Beth! Love is definitely a decision you make over and over!! Happy Anniversary!

  25. 375
    Gail says:

    I heard Carmen on the Joy FM this morning talking about this blog post. It truly was one of those God moments as I began to sob carefully driving down the road. My husband and I have been married 23 years. And many people in our lives bet against us from the beginning. Some happy years, and some “I’m ready to leave” years. I’m actually having one of those moments now. However, after reading this and hearing the perfectly timed song that followed Carmen’s comments (God Gave Me You, Dave Barnes) I know that we are repairable, we are worth fighting for, I know that God will continue to “bless our baggage” as long as we surrender. Thank you for being so transparent.

  26. 376
    shannon conner says:

    That was just great! :0)

  27. 377
    Kristy says:

    I love this so much! I love that you are honest. Marriage is hard work and opposites somehow end up together. Thank you for sharing and therefore encouraging my own marriage to my opposite. 🙂

  28. 378
    Lisa says:

    Oh, Beth!
    Your honesty continues to bless and amaze me! Thank you for being real, especially about your marriage. Since I have experienced the anguish of divorce and struggled in a second marriage, it’s always difficult when other Christians act as if their marriages are flawless because they never divorced. In spite of Satan’s intent (which included stepchildren issues, another woman, etc.), my husband and I are still married after the last 14 years which have been so physically, emotionally, and spiritually difficult. My commitment to God has kept me sane and committed. He is faithful! Thanks again for your honesty….You never cease to make me smile and look to Jesus.

  29. 379
    Amber Little says:

    Commenting here so as not to interrupt the flow of the verse post comments; I love your hair these days. SO CUTE!

  30. 380
    Pam says:

    Thank you for sharing your story Beth! I laughed at your story but I could also relate as well. It is encouraging to know that a marriage doesn’t have to be a perfect marriage to be a good marriage.

  31. 381
    Stacy Taylor says:

    This is one of my favorite things you have ever written. Thank you for your obedience to your call. Your teaching has fell into my life at just the right moments.

  32. 382
    Debbie says:

    Beth, that was beautiful. Congratulations! My husband and I will celebrate our 37th Anniversary the 25th of January. We met at 18 and 20,and have grown up together.
    Our marriage has not been a bed of roses, but the thorns have not deterred our commitment to one another in Christ Jesus.
    I am so glad ya’ll made it, and that we have also! Many blessings to you and your Keith.

  33. 383
    Dave Bohon says:

    Beth: Somewhere in this blog post you said you never expected to write a book on marriage — you just did. Awesome, encouraging stuff. Thanks so much. — Dave and Karin Bohon

  34. 384
    Wynn says:

    two things, try to imagine being in a Bible study with Beth Moore for years and how exciting, exhilarating, uplifting,funny and richly deeply spiritual is that experience

    number 2: try to imagine standing before God in deep repentance as transparent honest and down-to-earth with our Father , as she is with her whole life………
    I love you, Beth, and thank you for teaching me how to completely surrender to the Lord each day of my life and live for Him until He comes to take us home.

  35. 385
    Fran says:

    Beth Moore… you are even More Real than I ever thought before…listening and reading you for years! I love you as a sister and if we were sisters we probably would have the same craziness as your Sweet Marriage!!
    To say that your transparency is a gift is an understatement. Your honesty is overwhelmingly refreshing! Keith is a Prince to allow you to publish.
    We do marry our opposites. I have been so Blessed with a crazy Story also and Hubs and I will be married 37 years in June! God is so Good in spite of us! It is the Deep Underpinning of Knowing Him that makes it all Possible!
    Thank you Thank you for sharing with the rest of us how the Lord is Ever Present in our failings, lacks and even moments of temporary insanity. He works things out when we come to our senses and cry out for Healing…again and again!! Prayerfully improvement comes and it just gets Sweeter. It’s all worth it!
    I was divorced almost 40 years ago. Life has not been easy in the Cinsequences of 3 young children who grew up with bitterness and blame. Children don’t want to hear a Parent’s Truth. They are focused on their pain. Healing has to come through Jesus and our reliance on Him. His Comfort has sustained me. God indeed does Bless after divorce if we stay Focused on Him, but Marriage is meant to be for keeps. The one I have…is. We both know this and each grim encounter reminds us, eventually, why we are Together!! PTL!!!
    May our Lord continue to Teach us in Righteousness and in Fruits of His Spirit!
    In Him I live and move and have my breath.
    Meet you in Heaven Beth Moore!
    Sister Fran

  36. 386
    Danelle from CO says:

    “Looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.” Hebrews 12:2 (ESV)

  37. 387
    Kelly says:

    Thank you for your vulnerability and obedience. This was a word my man and I needed TODAY – such an encouragement.

  38. 388
    Sandy Masuda says:

    <3 :o) I'm sure glad you went ahead and published this :o) You are so human, and I love you!!

  39. 389
    Sarah says:

    Remington, VA
    Psalm 91:3
    “Surely he will save you from the fowler’s snare and from the deadly pestilence”

  40. 390
    Norma says:

    Norma
    Holly, Mich

    “Even to your old age and gray hairs I am He, I am He who will sustain you. I have made you and I will carry you; I will sustain you and I will rescue you.”
    NIV Isaiah 46:4

  41. 391
    Beth Schwandt says:

    Beth Schwandt
    Riverside, CA
    I will praise You with a sincere heart when I learn Your righteous judgments. I will keep Your ways; never abandon me.
    Psalm 119:7-8 HCSB

  42. 392
    Abby Mitchell says:

    Abby Mitchell from Dunmor, KY

    I can do all things through Him who gives me strength.
    Philippians 4:13 NIV

  43. 393
    Glenda Jensen says:

    Glenda
    Port Saint Lucie, Florida
    “Even to your old age and gray hairs I am He, I am He who will sustain you. I have made you and I will carry you; I will sustain you and I will rescue you.”
    NIV Isaiah 46:4

  44. 394
    Sue O'Banion says:

    Sue from Midland, TX says:

    And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.
    II Corinthians 9:8 NIV

  45. 395
    Sue O'Banion says:

    Sue from Midland, TX says:

    The name of the Lord is a strong tower, the righteous run in to it and they are saved.
    Proverbs 18:10

  46. 396
    Carolyn Dodge, Forest Oh says:

    No one who trusts in you will ever be disgraced, but disgrace comes to those who try to deceive others. Psalm 25:3. NLT

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