The following is an excerpt from the book, Real Life Moments, by J. Mark Fox.
“Who can find a virtuous wife? For her worth is far above rubies. The heart of her husband safely trusts her” (Proverbs 31:10-11).
One day in graduate school at UNC, I found a Bible in the parking lot. When the owner came to get it, he said, “Hey, have you met the girls that live downstairs?”
He took me down and introduced me to the four roommates, but I only saw one that day. Her name was Cindy and she was the most beautiful girl I had ever laid eyes on. She still is. I didn’t waste any time asking her out, and on our second date I didn’t waste any time asking her to marry me. She said “I don’t know,” and kept me waiting for 4 months. One year after we met we were married and seven children and 25 years later, we are still in love. In fact, more so than we even knew possible back in those days.
That story plays such a pivotal role in my spiritual journey. You see, I had been engaged once before. It was a few years earlier. I woke up one morning as a first-semester senior at UNC and said to myself, “I am going to graduate in May. I have got to find a wife!”
That’s about how deep the thought process went.
I was dating a UNC senior at the time, so I proposed and she accepted. I bought a wedding ring, she bought a wedding dress, and we began to make plans. But something in me was just not settled. I didn’t understand it, so I ignored it. Then I went home for Christmas.
I remember sitting in Sunday School class, and the teacher’s subject was what he called “The Three M’s.” He said, “Before you choose a mate, you need to make sure that you know what your mission is. And before you choose a mission, you need to know who your master is. If you put the cart before the horse, you are going to have a big mess. You cannot know your mission unless you have surrendered to the master, the Lord Jesus Christ. And you are in no position to choose a mate unless you know what the Lord has called you to do.”
That was a “two-by-four to the head” moment for me. It was like God was saying, “I have been trying to get your attention for a long time, Mark, and you just wouldn’t listen.”
You see, I had given my life to Jesus Christ as a teenager, and at the age of 15 I knew that He was calling me to preach the gospel. But when I got to college, I began to pursue my own agenda, and I ran as far away as I could from the calling and the relationship I knew was there. I spent lots of nights in Chapel Hill bars, and lots of nights running after the thrill of instant gratification. When I decided to find a wife as a senior in college, it was on my terms. I was my own master, and my mission at that point was just to have fun. Then the two-by-four shook me back to reality, and I had to do one of the most embarrassing things I had ever done, and break off an engagement.
I wish I had heard about “The Three M’s” as a teenager, but I am so grateful that God woke me up before it was too late. Besides the Lord, I have no greater treasure than my bride of more than 25 years.
Prayer: “Thank you, Lord, for giving me the wife You chose for me before the foundations of the world!”
Action: Write your wife a note or compose a poem or a song that expresses your love for her. Be ready to catch her when she starts to pass out.