The Hard Work Begins

The wedding over, the hard work began: marriage. Mark and I had completed some premarital counseling at the church. It started with a compatibility test which we failed! I think the only thing we had in common was our recreational activities. I suppose it made sense since we met cross country skiing. I remember the pastor, in his own polite way, hinting multiple times, that perhaps this was not a match made in heaven. Mark was a Christian, I was not. Mark was a businessman, raised in a military household that attended church every Sunday in matching suits and sat down to a family dinner every night. He had a rebellious streak and partied with alcohol and drugs through his late teens and twenties. I was a vegetarian, tree-hugging, recent Berkeley graduate. My family rarely attended church, rarely sat down to meal together and certainly never wore matching outfits. I was a rule follower and definitely not a partier. In fact, in college I won my dorm award for quietest student. They gave me a dictionary. We completed the counseling, acknowledged there could be challenges and forged ahead.

I am definitely not suggesting this was the best way to start a marriage. I now recognize that beginning a marriage unequally yoked is not propitious beginning. Since I was not a Christian at the time, I did not understand the big deal. We faced many challenges. Looking back, God did use this time in an ironic way. I had many questions. I would attend church or a Bible study with Mark. We would get home and I would hammer him with all the apparent inconsistencies or questions I could come up with. Mark would diligently research and seek answers. We would have pretty intense conversations. This not only strengthened our marriage but was probably excellent preparation for becoming a pastor…and people say God does not have a sense of humor!