Genesis 2:24 reads, “Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.” I remember hearing this read in a Sunday school class when I was probably in junior high and thinking, “I’m glad this doesn’t happen anymore. That would look weird.” Time has a way changing our perceptions. When I was young I dreamed of cowboys and Indians, or mushing across the Yukon like Jack London. Life was an adventure to be lived out on the edge. Women kept the home fires burning and the men brought home the bacon. If that sounds old-fashioned, remember how long ago that was.

All of that changed one day out in a hayfield. A girl that I knew from square-dancing was visiting a friend whose father had hired me as part of the crew to put up the hay. Most Saturday nights for the rest of my high school days could find me at the dance hall, just so that I could see her. Our first official “date” outside of the dance hall was an invitation to dinner at her house. Her whole family was part of the square dance club, so it wasn’t a nervous first meeting of the parents. It was an invitation to know her outside of a circle. That night after dinner I asked her to marry me and she said “no.” As my first enlistment in the Marines drew to a close, the one that filled my dreams and stole my heart became my wife. She finally said “yes” and then “I do.”

That was 33 years ago this week. She still looks as young and beautiful as she did back then. I’ve aged for both of us. Our life is truly a shared experience. We are currently recovering from the cold that we’ve been sharing. Daily we share a ministry as corps officers for the Salvation Army here in Kodiak. We’ve shared joys and trials that have only strengthened the bonds between us. Together we shared in the raising of two sons. She taught them how to behave and I taught them the rest. And even now, as I sit here thinking about her, I know that the scripture is true. We have become one.

The macho side of me wants to hold her by my side and protect her, but the scripture is true in this matter too. Genesis 2 tells us that God looked at his creation and said that it was not good for man to be alone, so he created a helper for him. He created someone who was weak where he was strong, someone who would make him better than he could ever be alone. Together, we walk where God leads us, serve where he calls us, and live as one with each other and him. I don’t love her because she needs me. I love her because I need her. Together, we love this paradise called Kodiak.

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