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. 151
    Mary Ann Carmon says:

    Thank you for sharing. Your story sounds so much like John and me. We started out with our entire family and friends thinking we were “nuts.” Last June we celebrated 50 years. Hasn’t been easy, but what a trip. God has been so good and we have been blessed with three wonderful children. By the way, we were in Israel for “Jesus, the One & Only.” Highlight of our lives! Bless you and keep on writing!

  2. 152
    Lora Warren says:

    Beth,

    Congratulations! I love your testimony and transparency and that you responded to the call from God! Thank you for hearing Him and then respo ding with a ‘Yes’….and sharing your journey with us.

  3. 153
    Lisa Burt says:

    Beth,
    I will always remember what you said one time about marriage. That you and Keith have not made it your making it. Until one of you Take your last breathe then you have made it. So much truth you spoke that day about marriage. Happy Anniversary to you both may your day be filled with many blessings! Know what you mean every time I brag on my husband we get into an argument.

  4. 154
    Carol says:

    Happy Anniversary! I have always loved your honesty! What a blessing to all of us with marriages that are not picture perfect. Married to my guy for 51 years and we too are finding it easier in this season of life.

  5. 155
    Denise Ross says:

    Happy anniversary to you both. So great to read of the reality of marriage. My husband and I wouldn’t have just celebrated 23 years marriage, 27 years together if God wasn’t in it, filling each of us with His grace, forgiveness and love to keep us together when life was just super hard and one of us wanted to quit.

  6. 156
    Karen says:

    Thank you for being real. It is encouraging
    as we journey on in marriage.

  7. 157
    Jeannie says:

    Congratulations Beth and Keith on 38 yrs! We have something in common…we share the same wedding anniversary…date and all! My husband and I were married in Austin, Dec 30, 1978 at 1:30 pm at a Lutheran church. We have 3 adult children with spouses and 3 awesome granddaughters! Mark and I have had as our share of ups and downs in these 38 yrs from just attending church, to losing a business of 13 yrs, losing vehicles, losing our home of 20 yrs and husband suffering with depression for 8 yrs! Then there is a BUT GOD story! We finally stopped playing the church goer people, found a great church (Christian Life Assembly, Camp Hill, PA) and truly gave our hearts and lives to Christ and He has changed us forever! My husband had a healing from depression in 2010 and we now live in a beautiful home and God is slowly sharing His purpose for our lives! I love serving Jesus and am very involved with women’s ministry at my church and am hopelessly in love with my husband and love watching Him serve Jesus also! Thank you for all you have done for women! Blessings on many more anniversaries! Jeannie

    • 157.1
      Cinda Allison says:

      Congratulations on your anniversary! So glad that you had the courage and heart to share this Beth! So grateful that God was able to hold your marriage together even when it seemed like there was no hope. It’s such a testimony. We too were blessed to make it over 30 years with all our baggage and brokenness. Amazing how God takes the broken pieces and makes something beautiful with them. Thanks for sharing even the most difficult parts of your life and giving hope to those just starting the journey!

  8. 158
    Diane Seltzer says:

    That’s the reason we love you, Beth! You are real….and you LOVE Jesus!! Keep growing all of us with the Word you bring our way so faithfully!!
    Happy Anniversary!!

  9. 159
    Bridget Baker says:

    Congratulations Beth & Keith on 38 years. Thank you for caring and sharing your life with others. May the Lord continue to bless!

  10. 160
    Amy says:

    Thank you for this transparency. In a world of “fairy tale or quit,” thank you for reminding us that it can work. Even when you might not even think you want it to.

  11. 161
    Kathy Ellis says:

    Beth,

    Congratulations to you both! My parents are married 66 years today. They set an amazing example of sticking it out through all the junk life throws at you. It can be done!

    Thank you for honoring that call on your life. It has made such a difference.

  12. 162
    Francine says:

    Today, 11 years ago, “my man”, my soulmate, graduated to heaven. I’m happy and a little but jealous for all the years you two have been joined. No marriage is perfect and we all have our struggles, even so called matches made in heaven. But, oh, the reward that so outweighs cost. The memories, good and bad, are worth creating for the day you can’t turn to your love and say, “Remember when we..”. Happy anniversary, Sister, loved by God. Celebrate with gusto. Create a new memory.

  13. 163
    Debbie Sheffield says:

    Girl, Happy Anniversary and thank you for sharing!!

  14. 164
    Karen Todd says:

    Happy anniversary. Thank you for sharing so that I can be encouraged. I love my husband of 35 years and look forward to many more. God bless you both.
    Karen

  15. 165
    Deanna Wiser says:

    Beth Moore I love you and I live ‘ve your honesty… God has used you to change my world. And I am forever thankful and grateful. Happy Anniversary and may God above bless you with many many more years… Deanna Wiser Blaine Tennessee…

  16. 166
    Patti Hayes says:

    Happy Anniversary! Thanks for this post. It’s always nice to hear from you. Sending hugs and wishing you and yours all the best in 2017

  17. 167
    Terry says:

    Thank you, Beth. Please do not delete this post because I need to re-read it a few times and take notes! I admire you for being transparent and honest, for sharing wisdom and insight without sharing details. Happy Anniversary to you and Mr. Keith Moore!

  18. 168
    anonymous says:

    Happy Anniversary. I have found great encourgement in your marriage story over the manys years of ths blogs existance. Just knowing that it was hard for you and not perfect somehow helps me to feel that there is hope in my mess. We have are ups and downs, but more ups these days than we did a couple of years ago. For that I am grateful to God, and that we both, like you, continue to choose to love each other. So thank you for being honest, real and living Christ out before us each and everyday. My young adult girls love your studies because of the honesty of your faith. In this world where people are pretending all the time this fact is what speaks to them and to me. Thank you.

  19. 169
    Gretchen Jones says:

    Beth-
    Thank you. Thank you for allowing God to use you like he does.
    Thank you for being so encouraging through you being so real.
    Your post reminded me of God’s prompting to me to show a little more grace, a little more forgiveness and a little more acceptance of the man he gave me.
    It is through His grace alone that this fiery, strong willed Mexican can still look at her fiery, red haired Irish man and choose to say I did, I do, and will continue to do.
    Much love and prayers. See you in February. 🙂

  20. 170
    Michelle O'Banion says:

    Laughed belly hard and crii-iied at the end for the pure sweetness of picture. We LOVE you, both! Smiling (huge) … ( and me & Keith have same bday 7/8 !!)

  21. 171
    Phyllis says:

    We had our 50th anniversary last July 10th. Praise the Lord for his patience with us. Almost every day we learn something new about our love for each other.

  22. 172
    Kathi says:

    YES!!!!

  23. 173
    Dawn says:

    I just love how real you are! LOVED this post!
    You and your man are both gorgeous! Thank you for sharing!
    HAPPY ANNIVERSARY!!!!

  24. 174
    Melanie (KanduGal) says:

    And I say, congratulations, Mr. & Mrs. Keith Moore, on thirty-eight years of marriage! Toughing out those difficult times with the Lord’s help is definitely the key – marriage is much too disposable in our society today. My husband, David, and I are just six years behind you; and we, too, are in it for the long haul – the “D” word never uttered from either of us! Not an option, just dependency on our Lord God. And, He is faithful! I can still truthfully tell my husband that I love him more than yesterday and less than tomorrow – in French,though, because it sounds even more endearing 😉

  25. 175
    Donna Grape says:

    Thanks, Mrs. Moore, for your honesty and candor. You help so many of us who feel less than, by telling of your stories of strife in the ministry. With sacrifices you’ve made with family and marriage. It truly is inspiring. God bless you with a gift and unlike some of us, you ran with it and made this wonderful ministry. I see you as a very strong, compassionate, loving person, who furiously loves her family and would fight to the death for them, even if you didn’t have the greatest examples growing up, [neither did I]. Your love for the Lord is so apparent, that you glow on stage talking about our Jesus, because you are so filled with his spirit, you allow yourself to be. Thanks for that. It can’t always be easy being in the ministry the way that you are. I for one want you to know how much it’s appreciated. God bless and happy anniversary. Tell your husband just to keep holding on tight to the reins, he’s got this. haha!

  26. 176
    Joyce Reed says:

    Congratulations Kieth and Beth Moore. Thank you for sharing your stories with us and your humanness as well. May God continue to bless you both and keep you under his wings. Best wishes for another 38.

  27. 177
    Jan says:

    Praise God for 38 years together and from Whom all blessings come. To God be the glory, great things He has done, is doing and will do.

    Happy Anniversary, Mr. and Mrs. Keith Moore.

  28. 178
    Sonya says:

    My husband and I make 27 years tommorrow. Most of what you said is also true of us.
    Our marriage has become very good by the grace of God, but for many years, it wasn’t great! We chose to keep on loving each other.

  29. 179
    Martha Salters says:

    Happy Happy Anniversary to you and your man!! I wish I had a dollar for every time I have said “I love Beth Moore!! She is so real and down to earth.” Thank you for staying that way after all these years!! My sweet man and I celebrated 42 this past August. We were 18 and 19 and had no clue!! I say all the time that it’s a good thing God knew what He was doing cause we sure did not!! Hope y’all are celebrating BIG!! Love you and am so thankful for your obedience!!

  30. 180
    Dione Reed says:

    Beth, I just realized that we were married on the same day, December 30, 1978. 38 years ago I married my man. Thank you so much for your transparency. At the foundation of marriage has to be God. He is our rock and when storms come we still stand. I am grateful for my husband and the man God called him to be. Happy Anniversary to the four of us.

  31. 181
    Kathy Banasik says:

    Thank you for sharing your beautiful love story. Congratulations on 38 years. May God bless you with many more!

  32. 182
    Karla says:

    Congratulations to both of you! This was a wonderful post. Thank you for your honesty. It can only help others. Happy Anniversary ❤

  33. 183
    Susan Kolb says:

    Happy Anniversary! Thank you for the sweet testimony of a marriage held together by God’s grace!

  34. 184
    Sandy says:

    Thanks so much for sharing and being so honest! Blessings to you both for many more wonderful years to love each other and Jesus.

  35. 185
    Amanda says:

    Thank you Beth for brutal, but funny honesty!! Life and marriage are a journey. My parents have had a similar roller coaster for marriage. But 65 years later, yes 65, they have taught me so much about Gods love, understanding one another, committing in all circumstances, fighting well and fighting badly, but never letting go of the coattail of Gods robe in all of it!!! I’m so very thankful they’ve never given up, and I’m glad you and Keith haven’t either!!! And yes, that is the best kind of example; perfection in anything is for heaven. Happy Anniversary and a Very Happy New Year!!!

  36. 186
    MC Martin says:

    Thank you for sharing this, my marriage will be at 20 yrs this new year and we don’t have a perfect marriage, we have scars but we have forgiveness and we are selfish, and boy I needed this. Thank you for sharing honesty and Jesus’ grace!

  37. 187
    Callie Budd says:

    Congratulations!!!

  38. 188
    Marge Turner says:

    Happy Anniversary! Thanks for sharing your story! God Bless you both.

  39. 189

    Beth,

    Your reflection of your marriage is simply delightful and so pure! Thank you so much for sharing your heart and your genuine outlook on marriage. So many attempt to portray a “perfect” marriage and this is a disservice to everyone, them included! Your reflection is full of grace, love, mercy, and truth-all of what God encompasses!

    I am so encouraged to keep trusting God in my marriage.

    Love you so much!
    Nicole

  40. 190
    Kathy says:

    Thank you For Sharing Beth! I grew up in a Christian Home, As did my husband also, But his childhood was quite different than mine, not that mine was perfect, but he grew up in a home where he heard his parents screaming & fighting EVERYDAY, And his parents were leaders in their church. So we struggle in our marriage a LOT, so I would appreciate your prayers. I’m believing with all my heart that he is coming back to the Lord and will surrender his life to him. Thank You Beth!

  41. 191
    Liz Watkins says:

    Congratulations on 38 years Beth! My husband and I recently made 25 years and your testimony sounds almost exactly like ours, except he passed away from bowel cancer last month. I will be forever grateful that God made us stick it out through the highs and the lows and to learn how to love regardless and laugh at ourselves and our selfish ways. What a blessing it is to me now to have those beautiful memories when everything within me over the years screamed to pack and leave! The wonderful thing was that God restored so much of the brokenness over the past couple of years that now I can’t even remember the pain… only the good times and the love. Love always wins! xx

  42. 192
    Becca says:

    Thank you so much for writing this. My husband and I have always joked that God thought it would be funny to put us together. We’re both quit broken but we’ve been married 11 years and to be honest I’m not sure I thought we’d make it this long. As much as I love a perfect story, I love yours more. You have no idea how much encouragement you’ve given me. Thank you for sharing.

  43. 193
    Jacki says:

    Happy Anniversary !!! God Bless.

  44. 194
    Crystal Peaks says:

    Thank you for your honesty Beth. I love how much you love your husband but are quick to say that you guys aren’t perfect. In a world of selfie-social media relationships leading people to think they’re always perfect, this is so refreshing. Congratulations on your anniversary!

  45. 195
    Bonita A Slattery says:

    Dear Beth:

    I thank you for sharing. May your marriage last until death do you part. Mine did. I lost my husband last year to alcoholism on October 6, 2015. We were married for 43 years. We adored each other. We were alike but very different too.

    Love to you and yours,
    Bonita

  46. 196
    Destee says:

    I just love you girl. This post has been such an encouragement to me. Your transparency is refreshing and reassuring. I can relate to this in so many ways. Married couples need examples of couples who fight for their marriage and refuse to quit. It really makes you feel like, “Hey, if they can do it so can we!” Love is a choice. Thank you for sharing!!!Praying God blesses your honesty and encouragement with many more “pretty happy” years and maybe some very happy ones ♡♡♡

  47. 197
    Rachel says:

    There are no words to express how much I love this. What a testimony to God’s grace and the beautiful mess that is marriage. Happy anniversary Mama Beth! Thank you for your openness and honesty, and may you have many more laughter filled years together!

  48. 198
    Libby says:

    Congratulations. Thanks for sharing that you haven’t had a perfect marriage. Good to know. Inspiring to me

  49. 199
    Helen Stevens says:

    Congratulations. Good to know that awesome people struggle just like the rest of us. My husband & I have been married for 41+ years. It’s to always been easy but we have stuck by each other thru good & bad.

  50. 200
    Jodi Hoesel says:

    Thank you for sharing and I would love you to write a book or devotional on marriage because in a world full of marital struggles we don’t need another perfect marriage. We need someone to honestly discuss the struggles of a 38 yr marriage. Thank you for your ministry and Happy Anniversary!

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