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. 101
    Sandie says:

    Congratulations to you both!

    It is my biggest regret in life not to have tried harder in my first marriage. Although I sincerely love my new husband, I will always know that my past immaturity and selfishness cost my children deeply. And believe me, you just cart your baggage from one doorstep to the next!

    I admire your determination and commitment. May young and old learn from your story!

  2. 102
    Jerrilyn says:

    Well, darlin’ I just stood up and clapped.

  3. 103
    Debbie M says:

    Very simply, I adore you! Happy Anniversary and May God bless you and keep you!!

  4. 104
    Darlene Lucas says:

    Happy Anniversary! Thank you for sharing some marriage insights with us. I think laughter is critical in a marriage and it seems that you two feel the same. May GOD bless you with many more
    years of marriage with much laughter.

  5. 105
    Annette says:

    Congratulations!!!!!!!

  6. 106
    AnnaMarie Lohr says:

    Bless you for your transparency, Beth. This was an amazing post and such a relief to those of us whose marriages are far from perfect but have kept going because of grace – and laughter. Congratulations, Mr. And Mrs. Keith Moore. The best is yet to be!

  7. 107
    Darcy says:

    Happy Anniversary! And thank you for {keeping it real}. What a blessing that is to many of us.

  8. 108
    Joan says:

    Congratulations,Thank you for sharing.

  9. 109
    Pamela Brown says:

    Wow! And AMEN!

  10. 110
    Brenda says:

    By far, this is my favorite and most cherished blog I have ever read from you❤

  11. 111
    Mary Lynne Mitford says:

    Thank you for being so honest… Congtatulations…

  12. 112
    Teresa says:

    Mr and Mrs Keith Moore, Congratulations and thank you for being you …. just as God orchestrated!!

  13. 113
    jamie says:

    love this whole story! happy anniversary and many more

  14. 114
    alyssa says:

    Oh Beth, congrats on your anniversary!!! I love this post so very much! Thank you for being real. 🙂 And thanks for reminding all of us to accept each other as real and flawed human beings. I needed the reminder today. Hugs!!!

  15. 115
    Rebecca says:

    I love your story, because in so many ways, it is mine!!! Except all the Bible study and book writing part! But just about everything else! I understand the family scowls, the high fives and a baby born 9 months and 9 days from the wedding. I understand having a really rocky marriage but after all these years of sticking together it works quite nicely and we have found our happiness. I understand feeing called to ministry with a husband beside you with no desire for such things. Loving the Lord and lovin me is enough for him! I know that once I figured out I couldn’t change who he was and I had to choose to love who he is, things got much better!! If I could sit one morning with you and chat over coffee I think we could be best frends! Not that you need anymore of those! But still the invitation is open!!!! Thank you for sharing your heart and your story! Your friend and sister! Rebecca

  16. 116
    Irene Bell. says:

    I have followed you for awhile. Always a truthful word and great transparency of heart. Thank you for all you do.

  17. 117
    Anne G says:

    Dear Beth,
    Thank you for being real! This was a great encouragement to me today. Being in a “pretty good one” is a blessing! And giving each other the freedom to be who we are, warts and all, is a blessed gift!
    It seems that Christian couples are sometimes given such high standards for marriage that we can feel discouraged… like we will never get all that God has planned for us. But often, what He has for us is love right in the middle of the mess!
    Thanks for the courage to share this today. I am reminded I’m in a “pretty good one” too and feeling oh so grateful to the Lord!
    Happy Anniversary!

  18. 118
    marcela garza says:

    Beautiful! Made me write an email to my husband who is mad at me right now! I thank God for you and your family! You have impacted ours in so many ways!
    I love you!!

  19. 119
    Tammy says:

    This is so awesome! Much like my husband and my own story.

    We just celebrated 35 years on the 26th and believe me it has all been due to God working in us
    through the power of His Holy Spirit. He also used breaking free to open both of our
    eyes hearts and minds. An anniversary needs celebrating for the obvious reason of never taking your marriage for granted and for thanksgiving to the One who holds us together on this greatest
    adventure a couple will ever take. You and Keith are in our prayers. By God’s grace keep on
    keeping it real. That’s our goal before our loving Father. Oh thank you again so much for sharing this. Much love Tammy (and on behalf of my husband Robin) Fuller.

  20. 120
    joyfulmamaof5 says:

    Thank you so much for your transparency. After 17 years of marriage, I just told my husband recently that “we should just call it what it is…a bad marriage.” As you said, “married we are and married we’ll stay” because that’s the commitment we made. But I had just come to the conclusion it will never be happy, or joyful, or fulfilling.
    I just answered a bible study homework question this morning about the “abundant life” Jesus comes to give…and the hopelessness I feel. You give me just a glimmer of hope here…much love…

  21. 121
    Jennifer says:

    Congratulations! Thank you for writing this post and sharing it, Beth Moore! I did my first Beth Moore Bible Study, “A woman’s heart, God’s Dwelling Place” a few months after starting the recovery process from my husband’s adultery. The truth of God’s Word, your fiesty faith and example of holding on to Grace for all we are worth, going deeper in faith with each study you wrote and taught, and commitment until death do us part, allows us to celebrate 2 teenagers and 29 years and counting! Like you and Keith, it is not always easy or simple, but by God’s grace and continued mercies, a truth filled church, we battle the world more now than each other. Only in heaven will you see how many hearts and souls were healed, marriages helped, and children shepherded through your obedience to teach, lead, and encourage with God’s Word. May God continue to bless you and your family, your ministry, and work. The world is full of women and men who will want a high five from you in heaven! Until then, keep being audacious and fiesty!

    Sisters in Christ,
    Jennifer

  22. 122
    Cindy Gimdorf says:

    Happy Anniversary! Treasure every moment…..good and bad. I lost my husband of 42 yrs and 5 days 17 months ago and my life was forever changed.

    Thank you for your honesty. Most of us have experienced those up and down times in a marriage.
    God bless you

  23. 123
    Denise says:

    That’s awesome Thanks for sharing. Happy anniversary

  24. 124
    Jennifer Whitley says:

    Love it! This could have been my husband and me that you talked about–so many similarities.

  25. 125
    Julia says:

    Beth I want to thank you for sharing. God has placed you in my life for a reason and I am grateful. Blessing to you and your man!

  26. 126
    Jody Carlson says:

    Happy 38th Wedding Anniversary Keith and Beth! Here’s to another 30 years! God’s blessing to you both.

    On a side note Beth, you are my favorite actress, and believe me, that is what I tell everyone.

  27. 127
    Lawan says:

    Laughing with tears. I can identify with you on this, baggage and all. We will be married 40 years in 2017 and it is only by the grace of God. Thank you for your honesty. It’s what made me listen and begin to study Gods word 14 years ago.

    Happy Anniversary!

  28. 128
    CJ says:

    beth, thank you for writing this and publishing it! i am grateful for your steadfastness to Jesus, the humor and transparency that you display to be our fellow sister in the walk with God. walking with us side by side but your eyes always fixed on the One. Recently you posted in your Christmas, full of the most dearly loved ones, that you were homesick for the One person. That ministered to me and this post does too. Your do live here and now but you do long for Jesus and for our true home Heaven. high five for you and keith! congrats on the anniversary.

  29. 129
    Patty says:

    Beth! This is all kinds of stinking wonderful!!! Thank you for sharing the blessing of you and your man’s testimony

  30. 130
    Susan says:

    You just do honestly so well. That’s why we all love you. The truth always sets us free. <3

  31. 131
    Kelly says:

    Congratulations (on so many levels)!!! It sure did my heart good to read this (on so many levels!!). 😀

  32. 132
  33. 133

    Congratulations – you have NO IDEA how much this has blessed me, Beth. As a newlywed and a new mother God has called me to write a blog for that same demographic and some days I feel so unqualified because I’m not a perfect wife or we may have gone to Christmas and forgot the baby’s diaper bag at home! Lol! Thank you for your transparency – this is what the young wives and mother’s need. You ARE an example – an example of real, hard life! Life that Jesus fixes over and over. Love you, Beth! Enjoy your anniversary!

  34. 134
    Linda says:

    I wish you would write a book on marriage, because I feel like it would speak to a lot of us. I’m 5 years in, and it is so refreshing to see stories like this and know, we are going to make it. This is the most beautiful piece I’ve ever read. Honest. Real. Full of hope. I want to grow old with my husband and be able to write a beautiful post like this at 38 years! I brought in a lot of baggage to my marriage. We are young and have no clue, but we refuse to give up. We love each other and we love God. Marriage is so hard, but people like you help me know that we are sorta normal, and we can do this. No giving up. We need to see more of that in today’s world. Thank you so much for writing this post. Happy Anniversary!!! What a testimony!!!

  35. 135
    Gayla says:

    Happy Anniversary & congratulations! Your words are so real… And this is why we love you so….

  36. 136
    PopTart says:

    We had back-to-back Dr. appts yesterday with a new Primary Care Dr. My man’s goal in life is to make the 1st impression of others near him, laugh. He can be witty in a self-serving way. Sometimes he is witty inside his own 4 walls, but not always. We both live in dysfunction junction, coming nigh on 27 years. Back to yesterday, the Dr. allowed us in the same exam room as it was just a 1st time, get to know you visit. He exclaimed as he left the room that our appointments were the funniest ones he has ever had. My man’s day was made. The nurses day were made. We brought laughter to them all. As he & I took turns being the butt of several jokes. 1 nurse asked me “how long have y’all been married?” I replied “26 years” and told her The Key to longevity. “A lot of laughter and a lot of Jesus”. Amen.

  37. 137
    Sheila Bragg says:

    Loved this! Thank you for being so open and sharing with us. Congratulations on 38 years! Hope you do something special together in celebration. 🙂

  38. 138
    Ann Thiede says:

    You came close to writing my story. After 37 years of grace through thick and hairline thin, we’ve held. I love you, Beth Moore, for sharing your heart. Thank you from the bottom of mine.

  39. 139
    Mitzi says:

    Congratulations Ms Beth and Mr Moore!! I’ve been with you since your first Bible study, being sold at the Sunday School Baptist Convention booth, so many years ago. Praise God for His mighty Hand in your ministry. Keep on faithful Servant!

  40. 140
    Missy Edgmon says:

    This is awesome! My husband and I high five, too, because we’ve worked hard and learned so much. Marriage is a thing God puts together that is more than the sum of its parts. For me, there’s been no better proving ground for my faith, and I would never NEVER want to unknow what God has shown me. Wouldn’t Paul be overjoyed.
    And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless for the day of Christ,filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ—to the glory and praise of God.

  41. 141
    vicki tarver says:

    Happy Anniversary, Mr. and Mrs. Keith Moore! What a wonderful honest testimony to a beautiful life shared with each other.
    You will never know just how encouraging it is to others, myself included. Thank you for sharing. May you have many many more blessed years. Love.

  42. 142
    Mary Ann says:

    Such encouragement!! Thank you, thank you, thank you

  43. 143
    Lauren Calabrese says:

    Thank you for your candor! Happy Anniversary to you and Keith!!!! I have been blessed by your ministry for years!

  44. 144
    Mary says:

    Laughter tears and encouragement- Beth style! Love it! 27 years with my man to understand the story between the lines

  45. 145
    Emi says:

    Congratulations! Happy anniversary!

  46. 146
    Jackie Gray says:

    I just put on my makeup and am now crying it off. Love this post and love you!

  47. 147
    Betty M says:

    Dear Beth,
    Happy anniversary. I have afew yrs on you, seven to be exact. Alot of your story sounds like mine but much of it is not. Mom especially did not want her girls marrying anything but dyed of the wool Baptists and both of us married Lutherans which made Mom sick inside.
    We went through alot raising special needs kids, both of whom we were never sure how long we’d have them with us, being in a farm partnership with an older brother and his insane wife created more than alittle tension for us for many yrs it was a living Hell until she killed herself by chain smoking to death. We have fought droughts, floods, huge farm losses, good years as well. Got through my years of depression which was brought on by the unstable family situation. David was abusive at one point and to this day is not romantic at all. It is sheer grace that has kept us together and a commitment come Hell or high water or both! We do not have a banner marriage just one of commitment to the end. I’d never write a book on it becuz we still need to read books on what makes a good marriage. We are best of friends and worst of friends. David too is not a biblical scholar but his older brother is a minister.
    Would I marry him again… I would have to think long and hard on that one. For the sake of the wonderful kids we raised, a resounding yes other wise I am not sure. I wouldn’t even say we are helplessly in love with each other. I am not sure if that means we have a mature love or not possibly with age the marriage just settles.
    Marriage is work and for anyone to say it isn’t they are in a fairly tale.
    Best wishes to you both you did a fine job inspite of it all!
    Love Betty M

  48. 148
    Sue-Elise Flowers says:

    Beautifully filled with grace! I very much enjoyed this post. We need more transparency- life is definitely like a box of chocolates. Happy Anniversary!

  49. 149
    Susan says:

    Beautiful!

  50. 150
    Johnnie says:

    Happy Anniversary! I’m so glad you made it!

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