It is our 264th Monthiversary!

Marriage Rings Photo by Mike Goodwin

22 years ago on Sunday August 15, 1999, I married Gail Halstead. As I recounted in last year’s blog post, my life plans had not worked out as I had planned.  Instead God’s plans were better.  It was an unusual courtship back then with Gail in Oregon and me in Colorado.  Because of that distance, we did a lot of emailing. Our six month engagement turned out to be unusual too.

Two months into our engagement, I became deathly ill with Guillain Barre syndrome.  Nerves disconnected and I was paralyzed from the rib cage down with other parts of my body slightly less affected.  I could not close my eyes, or pucker my lips.  My hands were pretty useless.   I spent 2 weeks in the ICU with a total of 6 weeks in the hospital.  I then spent 7 weeks recovering in a nursing home, doing physical therapy and learning to walk again.  After that, I continued my recovery at home. I ended up missing six months of work.  My goal was to be able to walk with one cane down the aisle to get married.  That I did, however I went back to two canes after the wedding for a period of time.

In many ways, this was not totally a negative experience.  It gave Gail a chance to ask if she could love a man who might remain bedridden.  Yes, she decided she could.  She was able to get off work and fly out to visit me more often than she would have.  It was very nice to see her even though I was in bed.  I had to trust her with my finances and the selling of my townhouse. It was a bonding experience for us.  And it was a faith growing experience for me.  I grew more aware of God’s grace and goodness during this illness.

When we became engaged, Gail started reading several books on marriage and gave me three books to read.  We wanted our marriage to be successful, because it is a vow, a commitment, we make for life to each other and to God.   What I learned is that marriage takes work.  I also learned that Gail’s love language was very different from mine.  Over the years, we have taken several marriage courses to keep our marriage going strong, and of course we were always reminded that communication is very important. About a year ago, we took another marriage course, Marriage in Christ.  It is a good course and we are planning on offering it at our church. You can also take the course online.

Our marriage has turned out great.  I am very happily married to Gail.  Marriage does take work and commitment.  You can not and should not take the other person for granted. And you need to be intentional in your marriage.  They are your partner in life and with some work you can have a wonderful marriage.

Happy 21st Wedding Anniversary

You never know how things are going to turn out.  When I headed off to college, I figured I would work for the National Weather Service somewhere in the Pacific Northwest, and I would settle down, get married and have a couple of kids.  And this would all happen by the age of 30.  Guess what?  None of that happened as planned.  As I grew older, I realized as a strong introvert that I liked being single and getting married was not going to happen.  Again I was wrong.

Back in 1995, I went on a mission trip to Latvia.  I had felt the need to step out of my comfort zone and do something different, something “risky” for God.  I was glad I went on the mission trip.  It was a milestone in my life.  Then in 1998, the wife of the couple who led the mission trip contacted me and said that Gail wanted an email pen pal.  She had gone on the same mission trip 2 years before me in 1993.  I realized the wife was matchmaking and because of that I almost did not email Gail.  The only reason I emailed Gail was that I was certain nothing would come of this long distance relationship.  She was in Oregon and I in Colorado.  Thank God, I was wrong yet again.

We emailed.  We met.  No sparks flew, but I felt comfortable talking to Gail and I enjoyed her company.  Then I belatedly realized I had fallen in love, and I was way out of my comfort zone.  Seeing God’s hand in all of this, I again embraced the risk.  We were married on August 15, 1999, and now I have been happily married to Gail for 21 years.  I am thankful that God put her in my life.  She is a wonderful woman and I am very happy to have her as my life partner. 

The heart of man plans his way, but the LORD establishes his steps. (Proverbs 16:9; ESV)

Here are a few pictures from that day 21 years ago.

Starting A Blog

I am starting a blog, .  In the blog, there will be a variety of posts.  I am doing this because I want to share with you.  From the posts you can find out what I am interested in and what I consider to be important.  Many of the posts will be Christian or spiritual oriented, but not all posts will be on those topics.  Since this blog was originally setup many years ago by Gail she may also post on it too. My plan is to do about 2 posts a month.  I will announce them on Facebook and via email. Let me know if you want to be on the email list. My posts will always have the category of “Paul”.  The blog will allow comments but they will be moderated so it may take a little time before they are approved and show up on the site.