Part Two of the Love Story: Those who told them not to get married
There were many of my male friends who told me I was wasting my time trying to establish a relationship with her because she was just biding her time until her boyfriend returned from Korea. I was told that many times, and naturally I had some serious questions about that issue myself. It was a huge struggle for me. I was told many times that “You’re going to get your heart broken” when he gets home. I had some say, “She’s just using you. Why do you keep hanging on?” (I’ve since wondered why they were so concerned about me. I’m now convinced that they wanted to go with her, and they wanted me out of the way.)
On several occasions, when it was clear to me that she was not going to make any decisions until this friend came home from Korea, I began to feel that maybe these “friends” were right and that I probably should go on with my life because after a few weeks of dating her, I was absolutely sure that “this is the woman I want to marry.” (She was cuddly, like a little rabbit, and the sweetest person I had ever known.) I had gone with a number of fine girls, but there was not one that I was sure I wanted to marry…until I met her.
Guy Mitchell had put out a beautiful version of Hank Williams’ popular song, “I Can’t Help It If I’m Still in Love With You.” The words went like this:
Today I passed you on the street
And my heart fell at your feet
I Can’t Help It If I’m Still In Love With You
Somebody else stood by your side
And he looked so satisfied
I Can’t Help It If I’m Still In Love With You.
I used to sing that to her as we waited on the corner for the bus to come. (I didn’t have a car at that time.) She didn’t care much about my singing, but she liked the song.
The struggle about what I ought to do about this relationship got harder, but my final decision to stick with it and fight as hard as I could for her regardless of the outcome hung on two things:
I prayed every day “Lord, if this is not the right thing for me (us), please bring it to an end as hard as that will be.”
Then one day I heard Merle Haggard’s song, “Today I Started Loving You Again,” and that absolutely settled it for me. “I can’t quit now.” Win, lose or draw I determined to fight to the end. AND I GOT HER!
When I learned the morning after she had told him that she was choosing me, I felt like I’d won the lottery. I walked on air the whole day. I kept thinking, “She’s mine! It has been worth it all.” And she still is mine! And she is still very special to me.
We were told—at least I was told—that I was too young. I was. I was 19 years old when we got married. We were told we shouldn’t get married at that time. That was true. I was a junior in college. We didn’t have any money. That was true.
But through all of the hard times, I’ve never regretted marrying Jane. Never.
Looking back on all of the struggles, it has been worth it. I think, and Jane agrees, that we are most proud of five wonderful, smart kids whose lives today demonstrate the character, the principles, and the morals we dreamed and prayed that they would have…and eight precious grandchildren who are perfect in every way.