23 Years with a Girl

Like so many great happenings in my life, I met Ruth Elaine Martin around the same time I met Jesus through InterVarsity Christian Fellowship at Florida State University.  I recall attending a Bible and Life conference somewhere in Florida.  There was a Christian commune where we stayed for the weekend.  I met Ruth at a nearby fast food place where some of us had gone.  I had one of those M.C. Escher shirts on, the one with the image of the stairs that inexplicably go nowhere.  What I remember about her was her smile.  Even as I write this, I can feel the warmth in that smile.

We became friends after that.  She noticed I was driving around on a temporary spare and convinced me to let her help me change it (I’d been immune to my father’s efforts to teach me).  We became prayer partners (against the rules as a guy/girl combo), but we prayed earnestly and well together.  One day we had dinner with a friend.  Ruth mentioned she was thinking of never getting married and giving her life to medicine.  It was as if she had picked up a steak knife and stabbed me in the heart.  But I didn’t say anything.

About a year later, I found myself hiking on a mountain in California and had a thunderbolt realization that she was the one and had to be the one.  But knowing it and convincing her of it were two different things.

Through God’s providence I finished graduate school in Athens, Georgia and got a job in Jacksonville, Florida only two hours away from Ruth in Gainesville.  By that time, she was a driven and determined medical student.  I visited her at a dorm she stayed in while spending a month rotation in Jacksonville.  The intensity of the students in the building was palpable.  I mentioned it to Ruth.  “These are such serious people.”  She responded, “I’m a serious person.”  She was right.  And she’s still that way.  I love the fact that she cares and is all business when it counts, especially for her patients.

I eventually got that serious girl to include me in her plans.  We’re 23 years into this marriage with as many years as God will give us ahead.  As much as I liked her back then, I like her so much more today.  The serious girl is just as focused and determined as she ever was, but it is a beautiful thing to be married to someone of her character and spiritual commitment.  If you could win the lottery or marry well, I think I’d advise you to marry well, because I wouldn’t trade Ruth for as many millions as you could muster.

Happy 23 years, sweetheart.  Let’s put together 23 more and then maybe another 23 after that.  — HB

4 thoughts on “23 Years with a Girl

  1. Thank you Hunter. Here is to many more adventures together! I love and admire you so much.

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