Thanks! Christi and I have been married just over twenty five years. If I’d kept on the same trajectory I’d been on through my growing up years and beginning of college, I probably wouldn’t be married today. I was just too shy – especially around girls. Raised in a family of boys, I hadn’t spent much time around them.

But at college Christi decided I was someone worth talking to and getting to know. Since she was gentle in her approach I wasn’t scared away. While I have not yet figured out females, I did figure out that marriage to her would be a good thing. So here we are.

Christi has been an encouragement all along the way. When I’ve felt like giving up at some point along the way, she’d tell me to keep going. When I needed help, she’s always been there.

One area I’ve always needed help is in my written communication. Since we were engaged for two years, and apart for much of that time, we wrote letters to each other pretty much every day. This gave her extensive practice reading my handwriting (I won the Gutenberg Award in high school biology class for having the handwriting that led them to invent the printing press). Now when I need my writing interpreted, proofed, edited or corrected, she’s able to do it far better than I can.

After all these years I’m still an introvert. I’m (usually) happy being an introvert. But I am much less shy than I used to be (my church people hardly believe it of me now), and I have to give most of the credit for that to Christi. Knowing her and being married to her all these years has helped me open up on many levels.

I’ll mention one last influence Christi has had on me. This one’s probably the most important. Mercy is one of Christi’s spiritual gifts. If you have that gift you know how painful that gift can be, not just because you can never meet all the needs you see, but also because you never want to tell people “no,” but sometimes you have to. I don’t have the gift of mercy, but I’ve learned a tremendous amount about mercy and compassion from Christi. I am much more gentle in my thoughts toward people than when I was young. When I was young and saw someone doing something stupid or destructive, I’d think to myself (fortunately, being shy, I almost never said it out loud, “There goes an idiot” – or something to that effect). I observed Christi in the presence of people acting like that and her comment was, “They must be having a bad day.” Through that and similar influences, she has molded my character to be more Christi-like. (As authors sometimes say, “Any defects that remain are purely of my own making.”)

Thanks, Christi!

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