By LESLIE LUDY
Our Twenty-Year Romance Deepens
After twenty years together, God is still writing our love story. Our relationship has moved beyond the fresh, innocent, fairy-tale love story of twenty years ago into something far deeper and even more beautiful. Pouring out of lives for the Gospel, living in the public eye, carrying the weight of leadership upon our shoulders, embracing the unique challenges of adoption, and raising six lively children have brought difficulties, struggles, and heartaches into our lives than we ever could have anticipated. Yet, it has not been in spite of the challenges that our love for each other has deepened and grown; it has been because of them. As we have learned to approach each trial, challenge, or difficult situation with faith, prayer, love, joy, and unity, we have grown to love, respect, and appreciate each other more and more with every passing year.
I was deeply inspired by the story of Richard and Sabina Wurmbrand, who were each imprisoned and separated for ten years because of their stand for Christ. When they were finally reunited, they had been through unspeakable horrors for the sake the Gospel, including torture, persecution, and poverty. Yet, because they had kept their eyes fixed upon Jesus Christ through it all, their marriage relationship actually became stronger through their extreme challenges. Though their bodies were wasted from starvation and imprisonment, Richard and Sabina had a love, admiration, and devotion to each other beyond what most married couples ever experience? Why? Because Jesus Christ was in His rightful place in their lives.
That story is a powerful reminder that in God’s design, marriage is meant to become more and more beautiful with every passion year – but it can only happen when Jesus Christ is given first place in our hearts, our marriages, and our homes. As C.T. Studd once wrote, “Marriage can either be a taste of hell on earth, or Heaven on earth, depending on where you place the Cross.”
Over the years, some critics of When God Writes Your Love Story have complained that Eric and I are promoting an unrealistic fairy tale and that we are giving people unrealistic expectations that marriage can be lasting and beautiful. They say that this kind of love story can only be discovered by a few people in every generation. But the reality is that Eric and I didn’t just accidentally stumble upon a fairy tale. The beauty of our love story doesn’t flow from circumstances, luck, or our own personal skills in relationships. Rather, the beauty in our love story comes from a choice we made – a choice to put Jesus Christ first and run to Him for grace, wisdom, and strength with every challenge life has brought our way. And this is a choice that anyone can make.
Our life over the past twenty years hasn’t been an easy, comfortable fairy tale. We have had many beautiful memories together, but we have also experienced great difficulty and many tears. But our marriage has grown stronger through the difficulties because we have continued to go after Jesus Christ with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength. And that, in a nutshell, is the secret to a beautiful and successful marriage.
With every challenge, trial, and uncertainty we face, it simply chases us into the arms of Jesus; even the difficulty becomes beautiful. When heartache and disappointment becomes a northern star that points us to Him, our weeping is turned to joy.
Focusing on Jesus changes everything. A marriage that otherwise would have succumbed to mediocrity can thrive when He is at the center and when He holds the pen. Marriage can become more and more beautiful with each passing year when the Author of true love continues to hold the pen and script the story.
So my summary of twenty years with Eric Ludy is this:
My husband isn’t perfect, but he is completely submitted to the One who is. Each day I see the light and love of Jesus Christ shining through Eric’s life. And I will be forever grateful for the gift that God has given me – a husband who loves the one true King above all else.
I can’t wait to see what God has in store for our next twenty years together! Truly, He has been faithful, and He will continue to be!