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In 1960, I sat on the floor of our three-room house in Waterloo, Iowa, typing with two fingers on a borrowed Smith Corona typewriter. I was seventeen, a ninth-grade dropout married one year, and I wanted to write a book about marriage. I loved my nineteen-year-old husband more than I had ever loved anyone or anything. I felt fully understood by him. Buddy was my best friend. That was all we needed, wasn’t it, to make our marriage last?

For me, marriage was the natural evolution of our friendship. One April day when I was fifteen, Buddy and I skipped school. We spent the morning driving around in his black 51 Chevy. Around noon he had to go to his part-time job at the Shell gas station. As he pulled towards the curb ready to drop me off at my house, I had a brilliant idea. “Hey, let’s get married!” He reacted just like he does now whenever I suggest something he likes. He answered, “Okay.”

We were married in a church six months after our engagement.

“We win” comes from the film Life Is Beautiful. We’ve adopted other sayings through the years. For instance, “We’re gonna make it Kizzy” is one we picked up after seeing the series Roots. In many ways, we’ve connected with the struggles of the characters in these films as we hooked onto these bits of dialogue, they seemed to encourage us to stick together. Sayings like these still encourage us and serve as a reminder that we can make it through difficult times. For example, we’ve been very wealthy and we’ve been bankrupt. Ten years out of high school, my husband attended college and graduated with a degree in philosophy and religion. Forty-one years after quitting school in the ninth grade, I graduated with an English degree from the University of Wisconsin. When I dropped out of school in the ninth grade, I left behind a misery of learning experiences. Asthma had kept me out of grade school nearly 50 percent of the time.

Our daughters, Laurie and Julie both exemplify what it means to be winners.  Spiritually they are a reservoir of faith and encouragement.    Our four grandchildren are following their parents. We can even see destiny in our three great grandsons.

We’ve learned there is wind blowing against us in all areas of life.  It’s the wind of injustice, indifference, injury, and pride. It as though life is designed for our downfall.  But we’ve also learned that we can trim our sails, so that the same wind can push us to rewarding marriages and lives. The Bible is true in saying that all things work together for our good.    Fifty plus years into our marriage, without one doubt, both of us know the solid rock of US is:  Jesus.  We both gladly answer to Him.

I love something Buddy once heard:   “Life hinges between a risk and an opportunity” – Just try!  Go for something good. Ours is a Christian perspective. Psalm 103:4 tells us that God wants to “redeem our lives from destruction” and to “crown us with loving kindness and tender mercies.” I guess we’ve wanted that for each other, our children and have come to want it for all the people we meet.

Our website, books, international e-mail ministry, missionary outreach in the market place, and opportunities to speak are gendered by the love of Christ for the world. Love never fails. Faith works by love. God “So” loved us, that we are impelled to share His love wherever we can. That’s what Jesus did. He tells us “So send I you.”