A re-write from previous years. Twenty-nine years ago this time of year, my dad was not done getting his corn and soybeans out of the field. When Rob and I,(mostly me) suggested November 9 as our wedding day I was sure dad would be done and he wouldn't have to take a day off from farming to walk his firstborn down the aisle. Rob proposed the first week of June and his thought was to be married in the summer. No...he didn't know it took a few months to plan a wedding, even one in a small country church with the reception in the basement. It wasn't a fancy wedding where thousands upon thousands of dollars were spent. We had humble beginnings. On Sunday, twenty-nine years ago, I became Mrs. Rob Gates. Almost five years previous I laid eyes on him for the first time. My college days on a small town Bible college campus were full of studies of God's Word, courses in missions and a lot of time spent at the library...not to study but to meet up with the guy who spent most of his time there. We had fun too...didn't have a lot of money to spend on dates, but long talks in the cafeteria kitchen while he washed pots and pans are some of my fondest memories. We did go our separate ways after college graduation, but that story is told in As The Parsonage Turns category. I can't remember a day I did not want to be married and have kids. There were other choices, but I chose to be a wife, pastor's wife and mother, although I didn't give much thought to being a pastor's wife, that's another post too. I'm thinking about choices today, because of Hannah choosing to travel across the ocean, of Justin choosing the military many years ago and now choosing to live in Wyoming with his wife. Kelsey's choice to nanny in Italy several years ago. The opportunities available to all of us today are vast, unlimited and far-reaching. I think of two single gals from our church who have been missionaries in Africa and Bolivia, they chose to follow God's leading in their lives. And what does this have to do with an approaching anniversary? Twenty-eight nine ago I was losing sleep because I was so excited to spend the rest of my life with the man God had brought into my life. Two more sleeps and a new adventure would begin. Has it been easy? No. But it in a good way, because we have done life together. For richer and poorer, sickness and health we made a promise before God and many witnesses that we would stay together...only because of Christ. He is the glue, sometimes the only glue that has kept us plodding along in this great adventure called marriage. In a conversation this week with one of my kids she was telling me of a good friend whose marriage is failing and how sad she was. She said "it's so unfortunate to see so many marriages failing these days." I know I went into marriage with blinders on, thinking marriage would make me happy. Rob and I have been happy together, but if happiness is the goal of staying married then marriages will fail. Staying married is a choice. A choice to persevere and honor God. (To my divorced friends, this is not a post to make you feel you've failed or make you feel guilty) Hoards of books have been written on the subject, so I will simply say how thrilled I am to be celebrating our marriage, which I think is the best way to fight same-sex "marriage". Celebrate our lives together, work on our own marriages and honor God in our own lives before we take up the fight. Today I would choose you, Rob Gates, all over again. No regrets, no wishing I should have chosen another path. Happy to continue plodding with you.