Twenty-seven is an odd number. What makes a number odd as compared to an even one? According to generationgenius.com “An even number of objects can be paired in groups of 2 with nothing left over. An odd number of objects cannot be paired in groups of 2 with nothing left over. One of the objects is not paired.”
So for the object not paired, left behind, all by its lonesome—it probably does seem odd. I remember when I was viewed as odd simply because I was single and not married. Back then, it bothered me when I read a particular scripture: “Then the Lord God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper who is just right for him.” (Genesis 2:18, NLT)
I told God how that verse made me feel, especially when certain Christians repeatedly pointed out the relationship void in my life, like I wasn’t aware. I kept going back to God for ten years asking for that helpmate He seemed to promise.
But he made me wait, as He slowly and gently swept away the dysfunctional dirt that had accumulated in my being over time. God didn’t want me to carry my junk into a marital relationship. I prayed. He worked. I waited.
Then one day the heavens parted and a beautiful blessing came down. I recall how different the wind felt one night in late October 1994. Love was in the air and it blew my way above the Tennessee River, to where I stood at the entrance of the Walnut Street Bridge in downtown Chattanooga.
That bridge has a history. Designed by Engineer, Edwin Thatcher, it was erected in 1890. The walking distance across is 0.45 miles and regarded as one of the longest pedestrian bridges in the United States.
I grabbed Gina’s hand and we started walking. It was our second go-around at dating after being apart for two years. We had just finished coffee at Rembrandt’s in Chattanooga’s Bluff View Art District. As we strolled along, “I love you” came out of my mouth naturally when our eyes met.
I knew it was probably too soon for her to echo the three words I spoke. Like me, she had already walked through a lot of emotional ups and downs. God did an amazing work in us while we were apart. But my feelings couldn’t lie dormant any longer. She didn’t say anything but squeezed my hand harder than when I initially grabbed it, a good sign.
A couple weeks later, Gina sent me a card and on the inside she wrote, “I love you.” We both were smitten, taken in by our whirlwind romance. And on New Year’s Eve I decided to take our relationship one step further by asking her to hold my hand as we took the longest walk across a bridge called marriage.
And later this month, April 2022, we will have walked that bridge for 27 years. The world seems to think it strange and odd if a couple sticks together that long. “Isn’t it boring to stay with the same person?” But they remain in the dark about one of the best kept marital secrets.
Listen to what a therapist told Ann Voskamp:
“When you’re all wrapped up in you, it’s going to be hard to wrap around him—or let him wrap you up in his arms.” I smile weakly, nod, trying not to imagine what kind of visual she’s imagining in her head. She leans forward like she’s about to pack one of my wounds with gauze and wisdom. Do you know what research has discovered to be some of the keys of happiness?” She starts numbering the instances on her fingers. “We are the happiest when we are standing before some natural wonder like the Grand Canyon. We are the happiest when we are in a deeply creative zone, what they call the flow. And? We are the happiest when we are deeply intimate with our spouse.” (Waymaker, pg. 67)
Intimacy does get better as the years go by, not experienced by the people who keep changing partners or pursue the kind of open marriage that Will Smith’s wife, Jada, has talked about publicly.
But the truth remains, marriage is two sinners living together. As Dane Ortlund writes, “But we humans are fickle. Even in marriage, we enter in by force of a covenant. Why? Because we know our feelings come and go. We need a bond that goes deeper than our feelings to bind husband and wife together.” (Deeper, pg. 29)
Inside the Valentine I chose for my bride this year I wrote, “I’ve learned that if I keep God as my first love (Revelation 2:4) then I love you better!”
Voskamp seals the deal. “Our marital union is a sculpted image, a symbol of the sacred intimacy God means to have with us.” (Waymaker, pg. 73)
Wanna love your spouse better? Fall in love with God and see how He will bless your relationship, no matter how odd it may appear to the world.