Dr. James L. Snyder
This month The Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage and I celebrate the 52nd anniversary of our engagement. In August, it’ll be the 52nd anniversary of our wedding.
I can’t believe we have been together for 52 years. But, alas, here it is.
I first met her in September of 1970 when I went to Bible college. Knowing that God was calling me to be a pastor, I understood that I would need a wife to help me in this ministry.
Not being woman-wise, and no dating experience: I thought a date was simply a dried-up prune.
Not knowing what to do, I simply put it in God’s hands. Before I went to this Bible college, my prayer was, “Heavenly Father, make the first young lady I meet when I go to school be the wife you have chosen for me.”
It sounds ridiculous, but not being woman-wise, it was my best choice.
My parents took me up to New York, where the college was, as we drove into the men’s dorm driveway a young lady was coming out. This young lady had her hair rolled up in tomato cans which was rather usual at that time.
When I saw her walk out, I quickly prayed, “Not yet, Father. My feet have not touched the ground.”
I think God was chuckling. For some reason, I was never able to get away from her because it was a very small college, and everybody knew everybody.
Not being woman-wise, I did not know how to conduct myself in such a situation.
In December, we were on some date, and she happened to say, or so I thought she happened to say it, “Wouldn’t it be nice to get married?”
Again, my not being woman-wise did not allow me to understand what was going on. I simply replied to her, “I think it would be great to get married.”
Foolish me, I thought that was the end of the conversation.
The next day in school, as I walked down the hallway, everybody looked at me, smiled, and said, “Congratulations.” So I smiled back and thanked them.
I had no idea what I was being congratulated on, I thought perhaps I finally passed a test in school.
After a while, I stopped somebody congratulating me and asked what he was congratulating me for.
Laughing, he said, “Oh, you silly boy. I’m congratulating you on your upcoming wedding.” Then he walked away.
I stood in the hallway for a moment, trying to process what he had just told me.
What wedding was he talking about? Who did they think I was marrying?
Later that afternoon, I met her in the cafeteria, she looked at me, smiled, and said, “I’ve told everybody, and everybody is happy for us. Isn’t it wonderful?”
I then realized I was the last one in the college that knew I was getting married.
God was the first one to know whom I was going to marry, and I was the last one to know. That is chapter 1 in woman-wise psychology.
Although it’s been 52 years, I still have not progressed to chapter 2.
Perhaps chapter 2 would begin with, “Do you want to be right or happy?”
I am here to tell you that during those 52 years, I have been happy.
According to tradition back then, the next step was to get permission from her father to marry his daughter. So you understand I was rather nervous along this line because I had never met her father or mother.
Before the engagement, we traveled back to visit her family. It was then that I met her father.
I took him aside and said, “Sir, I would like to ask your permission for your daughter’s hand in marriage.”
He looked at me with a rather strange look and said, “No.”
At this point, my flabber just got gasted, and I didn’t know what to say.
He looked at me strangely and said, “Young man, you take my entire daughter or none of her. Not just her hand.”
At this point, I realized I was also not father-in-law-wise. That was well beyond my pay scale. My heart sank, and I did not know the next step.
Looking at me, her father finally broke down laughing. I had no idea what he was laughing about.
“Of course, you can have my daughter’s hand in marriage as long as you take the rest of her.”
I tried to laugh as best I could but had no idea what was happening in the world. If this is what I was marrying into, it will be a long voyage.
As we were driving back to school, the future Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage looked at me and said, “Well, what do you think of my family?”
I just smiled back at her and she said, “Welcome to my family.”
I smiled and thought about my favorite life verse from the Bible.
Proverbs 3:5-6, “Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.”
This verse has guided me throughout my entire life, especially in the area of marriage. Either I can lean on my own understanding, or, I can trust in the Lord with all my heart. If I’m going to go down the right path only God can lead me.
Dr. James L. Snyder lives in Ocala, FL with the Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage. Telephone 1-352-216-3025, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org, website www.jamessnyderministries.com.
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