April 14, 1970
Nate hadn’t had a migraine for quite a while, a wonderful reality. Tension over his studies and the long research papers he was writing had ratcheted up his stress to an all-time high, yet he remained headache-free. “Maybe all these weeks of marriage have helped you,” I said, hoping that was the case.
Both of us were happy with the way things were going between us. Though marriage had brought some surprises, virtually all of them were good. One night at dinner we decided to list everything we’d learned about each other since the wedding, positive or negative.
Most were silly things: we both thought broccoli was the best vegetable; neither liked rock music; both had red as a favorite color; both liked to read the Bible every day; both were born in August of 1945; both loved sex; both had Swedish heritage; and both liked to play a new record over and over on my old stereo set.
After dinner that night I wrote about our table-talk in my journal:
The only things we don’t have in common are, he likes Cheerios and I hate them; he likes a big fluffy pillow, and I like a flat one.
I also wrote:
I have never been more steadily happy and optimistic in my life. When I consider our marriage thus far, I am pleased pink. Not any area has been a disappointment. Actually, all areas have become better, more meaningful, more dear than I’d ever anticipated.
There was only one cloud on the horizon. Now I began having headaches. They weren’t migraines and didn’t involve blinding pain or vomiting, but they were frequent, sometimes daily. Each morning I left for work headache-free. But by the time I came home, the throbbing forehead pain was usually back.
Nate was concerned, running and doing for me in an effort to make things better. When I came in, he insisted I lie on the couch for a pre-dinner nap, gently taking off my shoes. He brought aspirin, cool water, a snack. He did the dishes and all the cleaning.
We wondered if I was eating something that was causing a reaction or if maybe the headaches were stress-induced by my upcoming Board of Ed interview in Danville. It was true that I was worried about my lack of teacher certification, hoping by asking for a school transfer I wasn’t drawing fresh attention to my weak status. But I had never experienced headaches like these, so frequent and unrelenting.
Although Nate was anxious about my teaching status too (along with many other things), each afternoon he set his issues aside and made a valiant effort to soothe my misery with uplifting words.
We began praying about the headaches, asking the Lord two questions: What was causing them? And what could be done about them? Within a few days God had given us both answers.
“The Lord grants wisdom! From his mouth come knowledge and understanding.” (Proverbs 2:6)