“In spite of ourselves
We’ll end up a’sittin’ on a rainbow
Against all odds
Honey, we’re the big door prize
We’re gonna spite our noses
Right off of our faces
There won’t be nothin’ but big old hearts
Dancin’ in our eyes.”
— John Prine
Lynette and I tease each other that if we took that online match-making test, the results would tell us to run away from each other as fast as we can.
Thirty-nine years ago this spring Lynette and I started dating as she graduated from Oklahoma Baptist University in Shawnee, Oklahoma and I was pouring concrete and building storm shelters….and we could not have been any more different.
Here is an excerpt from a talk on marriage we gave a few years ago:
Joe: She listened to pop 40 music like the bands Bread, The Carpenters and America.
Lynette: He used to listen to twangy country music like Conway Twitty, Elvis and the Oak Ridge Boys.
Joe: She was Miss Preppy. She looked like the poster child of perfect Southern Baptist deacon’s daughter who will be an elementary school teacher. Tied her sweater around her shoulders. Said her prayers before her meals.
Lynette: Joe wore starched wrangler jeans, cowboy boots and a Stetson. (Joe drove a 1963 burgundy Oldsmobile he named “Ol Blue.” Who names their car a color?) He also drove a big motorcycle, wore sleeveless shirts and wore his hat backwards. He looked like a biker. Chewed tobacco and lived in a mobile home behind the skating rink.
Joe: She always went to class. Never got in trouble in school. Academically, she made the Dean’s List and the President’s List.
Lynette: Joe read a lot but had dropped out of college because he never went to class and tended to argue with the professors. He was a prankster in college…he was on the Dean’s list but for delinquent reasons and was always on probation.
Joe: She liked cats.
Lynette: On our first date he told me a story he calls “Operation Kitty Hawk” about a secret mission in which he and his brother-in-law created a parachute out of a beach towel for his sister’s cat that they would throw out of the brother-in-law’s airplane. He told me this story on our first date!
Joe: She grew up in the suburbs of Denver and was a city girl. When her family went camping it always a had sign that said “KOA” at the gate.
Lynette: Joe grew up in the mountains 9 miles from a town of 500 people. When Joe went camping with his family there was a sign at the trail head that said, “Wilderness Area: Enter at your own risk.”
Joe: One of us is a night owl.
Lynette: One of us falls asleep in his chair at 9:00.
Lynette: One of us is daring, impulsive and careless.
Joe: One of us would rather their legs grow together than try something new.
Lynette: One of us talks even when he has nothing to say and then takes notes on himself.
Joe: One of us is the queen of rule keepers and would turn herself in to the authorities if she accidentally removed the tag on the bottom of the mattress.
Lynette: One of us spends money like there was no tomorrow.
Joe: One of us likes to cuddle.
Lynette: One of us likes to NOT cuddle.
Joe: One of us is on time, while the other will be late for her own funeral.
Lynette: One of us is neat.
Joe: One of us has a tattoo.
Lynette: One of us likes conflict, looks for conflict, creates conflict…
Joe: One of us avoids conflict at all costs.
Lynette: I knew I was marrying Mr. Right but I didn’t know his first name was Always.
Joe: Are you saying that I am an idiot?
Lynette: Some things go without saying.
Lynette and I fought for years over these seemingly silly differences … now we laugh at them and even make allowance for them to the degree that part of our affection for one another is found in our profound differences.
Thirty-eight years ago, we were married.
Here is the secret:
“Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ has forgiven you.” Ephesians 4:32