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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396 Responses to “My man and me”

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Comments:

  1. 301
    Billie Galyen says:

    Girl…..I love this. Thank you for sharing your journey. I LOVE you and the honesty. It is so refreshing and makes me want to cry. Love you.

  2. 302
    Melissa Day says:

    I loved this so much, thank you for sharing and congratulations on 38 years! Here’s to many, many more or Moore;-)!!

  3. 303
    Penny says:

    Dear Beth, One more time I love you for your honesty! How your words parallel our marriage and we have been married for 35 years! Bless you, your hubby and your ministry! Looking forward to another Siesta Sister Memory Verse Year and hope to celebrate this time…I saw you in Reno last year and I have a directional problem…when they explained which way to go if you were a Siesta Sister I got lost and missed out on the group photo…I was very very sad and tried not to cry but I did! Love how you love Jesus!

  4. 304
    Marie says:

    Happy anniversary, Miss Beth!

    I wish more people would share stories like this. Makes me feel less alone. Hubs and I have a HARD marriage. His family doesn’t like me, chronic illness, infertility, plain stubbornness… Lots of tough things. Some days I really want him to just go get his own house. We could share a yard. 🙂

    If not for Jesus, we’d have divorced long ago. But 10.5 years in, we truck along across bumpy terrain, Faith and twisted senses of humor keeping us together.

  5. 305
    Linda McMorris says:

    Thanks for giving us all one more ounce of fight to keep our marriages.

  6. 306
    Randa Lea Hohweiler says:

    Congrats and thanks for sharing your story. Gary and I will celebrate 35 years on Jan. 2nd. We are “odds beaters” too by the Grace of God!

  7. 307
    Tina Melendez says:

    Congratulations to you and your prince!!!! I enjoyed reading this post and it encourages me to continue to love my prince through everything that He brings us through daily. We just celebrated 25 years and look forward to many more years together. May God continue to bless you and Keith.

  8. 308
    Lynda Rickey says:

    Love you so much for being honest. You’re awesome and I love you.

  9. 309
    Pamm says:

    (Thank you, God, for this fantastic woman you created. We have learned about Sweet Jesus from Beth and get to adore her from afar! Please continue to speak through her and bless her. We love you, Jesus, and we love our precious Beth Moore) AMEN!

  10. 310
    Marie Rupe says:

    Mr. & Mrs. Keith Moore, Congratulations!!
    My other half and I celebrated our 38th anniversary at the end of August. I like you believe God has got us through many hard times. But He has blessed us through them as well as the good times. I love your transparency because as mentors to the younger women God puts in our paths we need to let them know that we had those difficult times and that OUR GOD is the only reason we got through them. I remember thinking after 5, 10, 20, 25 years we would be guaranteed to have made our marriage last. We told each other before we got married divorce wouldn’t be an option but murder might be. I learned that marriage is work and an everyday decision to be committed to our vows we made before God and each other. I wish you a very blessed anniversary tomorrow. Thank you for all I have learned from your studies. Blessings Marie

  11. 311
    Candra Brown says:

    Happy Anniversary! Thank you for your transparency and honesty. Marriage is hard and your words are so encouraging!

    Praying Father blesses and grows your relationship this year!

  12. 312
    Ivy Morrison says:

    This was beautiful and hilarious all in one ❤ Happy Anniversary!

  13. 313
    Donna Oliphint says:

    CONGRATULATIONS!

  14. 314
    Anita Thompson says:

    Happy 38th anniversary!! To God be the glory!

  15. 315
    Pam says:

    Happy Anniversary! Glad to hear about happy people. It is so encouraging! I’ve been married 39.5 years and the last 2.5-3 years have been so hard! I am now married to a man who no longer loves me. No birthday or Christmas gift. Just stays with me for the financial security I think. Since I believe that marriage is for life, I keep asking Jesus to lead me and by the power of the Holy Spirit change me. I’m sure he has plenty of complaints about me too. I am just now getting strong enough to not isolate myself and pretend all is well.

    • 315.1
      Robin says:

      I hear you Pam. In the same boat. He fell out of love years ago. But we still have one in high school. After 30yrs I still love him. Working on myself so I can be strong and live on without him. I kept asking God for help and I do believe He is faithful in His answers. His timing not mine. If you haven’t read Lysa TerKeurst’s Uninvited, do so. It will change your broken heart. God is all we need. Best of luck. I am going to pray for you.

  16. 316
    Fran Plott says:

    Happy Anniversary, Mr. and Mrs. Keith Moore!
    Marriages like yours, plus your honesty, encourage and inspire others, including me!!

    First married for 25 years, then single again for 13, I took careful note of happy marriages during those single years. The main ingredients I was looking for: a man who simply believed God and loves Jesus, believed in staying married, a man who could forgive, and definitely a man who would make me laugh and laugh with me!

    A few times during your studies my ears perked up when yay said ” don’t burden your spouse and set yourself up for disappointment by expecting your husband to be what only God can be to you”.
    I never forgot that advice. That’s been my glue.

    We’ll celebrate 6 years in February! Six years of ups, downs, happiness, hilarity, butting heads and all!

    Here’s to your next 38!
    Fran

  17. 317
    Becky says:

    Through laughter and tears and FULL gratitude for this post, I wish you a hilarious and happy anniversary, dearest Mr. and Mrs. Keith Moore. xoxo

  18. 318
    Lisa S says:

    Beth, if you had doubts about hitting “publish”, put them to rest. This encouraged me beyond anything I’ve ever read in fifteen rocky years of marriage. Thank you for keeping it real.

  19. 319
    Jan says:

    Blessings on your anniversary. I was scrolling through my husband’s tweets and found your commentary and so can relate to your words. On Oct 15th we celebrated 50 years together. I was 14 and he was 19 when we married. We did not have to get married but we chose to get married. We were both virgins and I, for one, knew he was my soulmate. We were both Christians but we’re not actively involved in church. But Beth, without our knowledge, God had a plan for our lives that was much bigger than us. We’ve struggled over the years and so many times felt we did not love each other any longer but we honored our commitment we’d vowed to each other in God’s presense. We are both firm believers that God honored this and gave us back the love needed to survive and enjoy each other. God has blessed us & continues to bless us far beyond what we’ve ever deserved. Please pray for our grandchildren to grasp the importance of commitment.

  20. 320
    Tara says:

    Beth, thank you so much for your honesty in sharing this with us. I was in tears reading this. I am a newlywed in my late 30s and am blessed by this post. Even though we have never met, you have blessed my life so much. I started doing your Bible studies 20 years ago when I was in college. I feel like I know you and your family because you have been so gracious in sharing your lives for the benefit of us sisters. Thank you, Beth, and I love you. Congratulations to you and Keith and to God be the glory!

  21. 321
    Carolyn Stutz says:

    I seem to always be a day or two late, but nevertheless, the most sincere congratulations are heartfelt. I pray you had the most wonderful anniversary yesterday!! As always, and as most everyone else has said, thank you so much for your honesty and transparency. God bless you both, Mr and Mrs Keith Moore 🙂
    Carolyn Stutz

  22. 322
    RaeLeen Ellis says:

    LOVE this article, SO authentic. So needed in our society. LOVE YOU BETH!

  23. 323
    Bettye Davis says:

    I love it. This is so Beth Moore.

  24. 324
    Vicki says:

    Congratulations! I appreciate your description of your marriage. After 36 years of marriage, my husband and I could echo your experiences. Choosing each other over again is what makes it last!

  25. 325

    I can feel the truth in every word. This marriage thing is a hard thing. I have to pray each day that God will help me love my husband the way he needs to be loved.

  26. 326
    Kimberly Anding says:

    Oh my gosh! I just love this! God Bless you always!!!

  27. 327

    So good! Thank you, Beth.

  28. 328
    Sparki2003 says:

    HAPPY ANNIVERSARY, Miss Beth and Keith !

    BUT, I Did Not Realize that it is Y’all’s 38th Anniversary, “already” ! Praise the LORD !!!

    I knew that it was in late December; but, I forgot exactly which date Y’all’s anniversary was . . .

    Thank you for sharing your Love for one another, and for JESUS with us !!!

    Love in Christ Jesus,

    Jennifer Olmstead
    Southern Wisconsin, USA

  29. 329

    LOVE IT! Happy anniversary!

  30. 330
    Alison Sparre says:

    I love this, Beth. I’m older than you are (70) and have been married 49 years. It’s a flat out miracle of God that we are still together. I was like the woman in Proverbs 14:1, “The wise woman builds her house, But the foolish tears it down with her own hands.” By God’s grace and a commitment on both our parts, we survived! Your story lets me know that I am not the only Christian woman who has really had to hang in there. So glad I did. Congratulations to you two!

  31. 331
    Elsa McInville says:

    Happy Anniversary!,,, and many more.I just finished the Undoing of Saint Silvanus-thank you,it was wonderful.I could honestly not put it down.But thank you for your willingness to be a messenger for the Lord in your teachings-You are my inspiration-I thank God for choosing you

  32. 332
    Ann Cates says:

    Beautiful Beth! May the future be the beat part!

  33. 333
    Michelle says:

    Immensely relatable post! Thanks for writing it exactly as you did. Original, raw, & endearing!

  34. 334
    Eleanor says:

    Thank you for sharing how God has been with you and Keith in your marriage. You are such an encouragement.

  35. 335
    Kathy says:

    Beth, thank you for sharing your love story with us. Blessings to you & Keith. It’s lovely to be your friend & sister in Christ. Thank you also for answering your call. You have helped us weather the struggles of life with humor & very well researched sound teachings. I never dreamed after 20 years searching for Gods direction & healing for my family I would still be fighting the battle. Your ministry has been a life line to our Lord for me. God bless you dear !

  36. 336
    Kim Freeman says:

    I Commit! Psalm 139:1 You have searched me Lord, and you know me. ESV
    Kim Freeman Fort Worth Texas

  37. 337
    Kristine says:

    Beautiful story of grace!

  38. 338
    Kimberly Isaacs says:

    Thank you Beth for sharing and being so openly honest about your relationship. My husband and I have been married 33 yrs next month and we love each other very much but there were not so great yrs but we got through them with our love and Christ’s love for us and our commitment. Young couples should know going in a marriage that everything isn’t going to be sunshine and roses but with the help and love of our Lord and the love and commitment a couple has with one another they can make it through anything.

  39. 339
    Jeanie says:

    Beth, Beth, Beth! This resonated with me—you have no idea. Sure wish my 8.5 year marriage would have lasted like yours has. The shame of divorce is painful and lingering. Hence, I never remarried. His new wife, is, as my good friend says, “everything he never wanted.” Many days I wonder if it was all worth it and if he’s happier? Thank you for sharing your story…

    Will love seeing you next August in Colorado.

  40. 340
    Deb Mott says:

    Happy Anniversary Again! Thinking 1 Samuel 7:12 NLT appropriate for every married couple!
    Samuel then took a large stone and placed it between the towns of Mizpah and Jeshanah. He named it Ebenezer (which means “the stone of help”), for he said, “Up to this point the LORD has helped us!”
    Thankful for God and His help and people like you both that show us God in real time and ways!

    Sent from my iPhone

  41. 341
    Karla says:

    Thank you Beth! It is encouraging to hear that someone as devout as you struggled in your marriage because marriage is not for the weak of heart… your honesty is refreshing. We will celebrate our 40th this coming August. Yea, but for the Grace of God go we…because heaven knows it was not by my human effort. We had all sorts of baggage and it was messy, and at times, extremely ugly! There was more then one occasion when I threw up my hands in surrender and said I was done. Each time I was talking to God when I announced I was done and if it was His will that I stayed, He was going to have to make it CRYSTAL clear that I stay. Determined that I was out the door, God would ‘speak’ to me in a variety of ‘clear’ ways. Once it was in the morning after, (when His mercies are new) I opened up my devotional and it read “Do you feel ready to throw in the towel?”. Needless to say, the rest of the devotional spoke to me in a way that gave me the peace and strength to continue. On another occasion, as I drove down our remote, rural dirt road, ranting to God about ‘this man He had given me’, clearly, although not audibly, He told me to pray for ‘this man He had given me’. I knew this directive was from Him because it angered me even further…WHAT! PRAY for him! However, I did comply and obeyed Him, although begrudgingly. And as I prayed my heart for my husband changed and I began to see him as Christ does. I am finally learning to accept him as he is…and let God do His work in him. Because, after all, He is God and I am not. Life is still messy, but I am learning to trust Him more…thank you for helping me learn how to do that. Happy Anniversary Beth and Keith!

  42. 342
    Nina says:

    Oh my….Thank you so much! I’ve got my own version! We’ve been married 40 years….it’s Jesus…just Jesus!

  43. 343
    Diana Hutton says:

    Congratulations, you two lovebirds <3 What a wonderful, real account of your struggles. God bless you both — and it looks like He has for many years! <3

  44. 344
    Elizabeth Mitchell says:

    Happy Anniversary and God bless you both! Thank you for boldly sharing your testimony. You have really encouraged me. My husband is not a believer and we struggle a lot in our marriage. Sometimes it feels like our relationship keeps me from moving forward with God. But I know that doesn’t have to be true. God can use me and is using me to share His love with my husband. May God bless you both with many more years together. Thank you!

  45. 345
    Tiffany Greene says:

    This is awesome!

  46. 346
    Nkele Matsoso says:

    Congratulations Mr & Mrs Moore

    I have done a few of your Bible studies, finding you to be so real, practical and honest in giving examples.
    This post is nothing short of that!
    Thanks for sharing the story of your marriage and not depicting it as perfect. This certainly helps many women struggling in their marriages.

    You are such a great role model!

  47. 347
    Cyndi Maloy says:

    Congratulations to you both! Your story resonated with me to my very soul. We’ve been married for 26 years. Our families thought we wouldn’t last two weeks. We went into our marriage knowing that there was only one way out…and neither one of us was ready to die yet (although we have on occasion thought about helping the other one along!) Our marriage has not always been easy…but it has always been worth it!

  48. 348
    Allison Hunsaker says:

    Beth, I cannot adequately express how much I appreciate your post but the very fact that I’ve read it five times might give you an idea. I find hope and encouragement in your uncomfortably honest words that I dare say most Christian leaders would be hard pressed to publicly utter: “…I have not had a great marriage.” In a strange way, these words are a healing balm. “A pretty good [marriage] one” is something to celebrate. God bless you and thank you so much.

  49. 349
    Brenda Brandt says:

    Love your story! Beautiful! Thanks for sharing!Happy Anniversary<3

  50. 350
    Kristin S says:

    Dang, Beth, now I’m a weepy mess! Besides your love for Jesus, what makes us all love you so much is your bottom line honesty. Thank you.

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