Caleb Brown of the Royal Tyrrell Museum of Paleontology in Alberta, Canada may have won this year’s “most creative wedding proposal” award. He published a study last Thursday describing a recently-discovered dinosaur species. In the paper’s acknowledgements he stated, “C.M.B. would specifically like to highlight the ongoing and unwavering support of Lorna O’Brien. Lorna, will you marry me?” She said yes.
I’d like to adapt Dr. Brown’s idea for today’s Cultural Commentary. Thirty-five years ago yesterday, my wife and I were married. You can be forgiven for not knowing that we were married on June 7, 1980. We didn’t make the cover of Time magazine that week, which was devoted to the Mount St. Helens eruption. Nor did anyone write a novel about us—Robert Ludlum’s The Bourne Identity was making headlines, but nowhere mentioned us. Mel Gibson was married on the same day—his wedding made more news than ours did.
As our 35th wedding anniversary approached, I began wondering what I should get Janet. Research revealed that a traditional gift for the occasion is coral. The name comes from a Greek word meaning “nymph of the sea.” This seemed appropriate for Janet, since she spent her high school years going to the beach in California. However, I also learned that people used to wear coral to ward off demons in the darkness. This knowledge ended my search for a coral anniversary gift.
Next I learned that the contemporary gift theme for our anniversary is jade. This was better news. One website states that jade is “a stunning gem.” Various cultures have valued its beauty for 8,000 years. Since I have valued Janet’s stunning beauty from the first time I met her, jade it was.
But the jewelry I bought her is not enough. The writer of Proverbs 31 asks, “An excellent wife who can find?” and notes, “She is far more precious than jewels” (v. 10). Everything the writer says of his wife, I can say of mine. He states, “The heart of her husband trusts her” (v. 11), and I agree. In fact, I can testify that Janet is the most genuine person I have ever met. In all the years I have known her, I have never heard her say an insincere word. All who know her know that she is truly a woman of God.
The writer notes that his wife “opens her hand to the poor and reaches out her hands to the needy” (v. 20). Janet has a remarkable passion for those in need, serving countless hours with benevolent ministries across the years of our ministry together. The writer’s wife “opens her mouth with wisdom, and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue” (v. 26). My wife is one of the most anointed teachers I have ever known—thousands have been blessed through her book, Bible studies, blogs, and website. Her Christian Parenting website, coming this fall, will be a great gift to families as well.
The writer states, “Her children rise up and call her blessed” (v. 28). Both of our sons are in vocational ministry today, and know that Janet is God’s greatest gift to our family. And so I agree with the writer of Proverbs 31 that “a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised” (v. 30). For our 35th wedding anniversary and every day, I praise Janet and I praise her Lord.