Newlywed Love (#45)

March 21, 1970

BlondieBetween Nate and I, he was the one with the beautiful hair. He didn’t think much about it, but I loved his heavy blonde tresses and encouraged him to grow more of it.

By 1970, most young men had said goodbye to their crew cuts and flat tops, which were considered “very 1950’s.” The Beatles, with their mops of hair, had hit the States in 1964, causing gasps of disapproval from every parent in the country.

More hairBut now, 6 years later, longer hair on men had become fashionable. Nate decided to let his hair grow over his collar and also to grow a mustache. I was thrilled about all of it.

Jumping on the band wagon, I decided to let my hair grow, too, though it was fine and thin and would never look as good as Nate’s. It grew slower, too, and my current not-short-but-not-long hairdo was, I thought, ugly.

 

 

Shiny wigI’d been wearing an artificial hair wig that had so much shine to it everyone knew it was fake. But as the weather warmed, it felt like a winter cap – hot and uncomfortable.

One day while Nate and I wandered through the local mall on our way to buy coffees, I spotted a human-hair “fall” in one of the stores. It was sandy blonde and was attached to a headband. Getting ready for work in the morning would be so easy with that! All I’d have to do would be comb my real hair back, hiding its choppy look, and slip on the headband.

Unfortunately the fall had an exorbitant price: $27  [$184 equivalent], much too pricey for our lean budget.

The fallAs always, though, Nate was watching me closely and listening to what I said. Within the week he had donated a pint of blood, presenting me with the money and insisting I use it to buy the fall. I was thrilled and jumped all over him in a show of appreciation.

The first day I wore the fall to school, my students scrunched up their noses and expressed loud disapproval. “It’s not your real hair!” they insisted. “It looks dopey!” But just like they’d gotten used to my new name, after a few days they adjusted to the new hair.

No doubt the general public knew it was an add-on, but I fooled myself into thinking it looked natural. And lightening my own hair to match the fall made me feel like a brand new woman.

Once I set aside the wig, Nate admitted he hadn’t really liked it all that much, though he quickly added that even if I was completely bald, I would still be the most beautiful woman he’d ever seen (….quite the exaggeration, in my opinion.)

As I worked with the fall and learned to care for it, I wondered if he disliked that, too. Any considerate wife would have asked him outright, before she opened the original packaging. That way she could return it, if her husband wasn’t all that fond of it. But I hadn’t checked with him – because I wanted to keep it.

And I wondered, what did that say about me?

“Love does not insist on its own way.” (1 Corinthians 13:5)

Newlywed Love (#34)

February 17, 1970

NoteNate and I did a good job keeping track of each other. If either of us was planning to divert from our usual routine, we told the other ahead of time. If plans changed without advance notice, we’d leave notes.

Some of our friends thought that was “too confining,” though Nate and I saw it as simple courtesy. But this was just one of many points of disagreement we began having with some of the new friends we were making through the university.

As we got to know people, we would often share a meal during which a handful of us would round-table different ideas, sharing opinions. Inevitably, some of our discussions would become heated and uncomfortable.

Nate and I would talk privately afterwards, always stunned to see how radically different we and others thought. After all, the whole group had much in common. All of us were in our twenties. Many were in grad school, and quite a few were paired in couples – some married, some not.

And we were all sharing our young adulthood years during a time of sweeping societal upheaval. But opinions were swinging every which way. Morals were changing rapidly, and feminists were preaching a philosophy that confused both men and women.

Vietnam WarCollege students were rioting on campuses. People who’d been raised in churches were leaving them…. and leaving God. And for the very first time, we were watching a horrific war take place on our television sets.

Nate and I concluded that the diverse opinions we were hearing from our peers were the fallout from these many changes. As America began throwing away the traditions of her history, we and our friends were interpreting things in different ways.

There was, for example, talk of “open marriage.” The premise was that if a husband or wife met someone that caught their fancy, they were free to explore that relationship (even sexually) while remaining married. It would be just a dalliance, nothing permanent, and if both marriage partners understood this, no one would be hurt.

Students eat and talkNate and I were bewildered when others nodded in agreement, since we didn’t see how this could possibly work. When we asked what would happen if just one partner enjoyed frequent dalliances and the other felt left out or jealous, the consensus was that that person would be free to leave the marriage.

How could intelligent people, we wondered, think such crazy thoughts? As time went by, these debates left Nate and I feeling more empty and unsatisfied.

It finally occurred to us that the discussions we had in our couples Sunday school class were more rewarding than those with university pals. We concluded it was because Jesus and his Word were at the center, standing strong with a set of standards that didn’t blow with the wind or change with the culture.

From then on, Nate and I began choosing our friends more carefully. We were learning an important lesson: we could associate with all kinds of people, but our most fulfilling relationships would always be with other Christians.

IntertwinedWe learned that core beliefs control the way people think and act. When hearts and minds align on those, deep connections can be made that can’t be made when they refuse to line up. It was a meaningful discovery for us, and we were thankful anew for each other – and our shared beliefs.

 

“There is one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is over all, in all, and living through all.” (Ephesians 4:5-6)

Newlywed Love (#1)

Nate and Meg are back on this blog (by popular demand), but if you’ve had enough of them, you know where the delete button is.

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December 1, 1969

As Nate and I embarked on our brief 4-day honeymoon, we were reminded again that God keeps his promises. “The Lord is trustworthy in all he promises and faithful in all he does.” (Psalm 145:136)

In his Word he had told us to wait for sex until we were married, implying that if we did, he would bless us in special ways. We experienced that divine blessing again and again at The Drake Hotel, so much so that Nate would often say a prayer of gratitude both before and after we were intimate.

Scripture says, “Marriage is honorable by all and the bed undefiled.” (Hebrews 13:4 KJV) This means it’s no sin to have all the married sex you both want, and assures that as you take advantage of such freedom, God is nodding his approval.

A synonym for “undefiled” is “pure,” and our honeymoon was full of pure fun. Peter wrote about loving each other fervently with pure hearts, and purifying our souls by obeying God’s truth. (1 Peter 1:22 KJV) That’s exactly what we were doing.

I told Nate, “When God invented sex, he sure had a good idea there.”

BreakfastBut of course lovemaking wasn’t all we did on our honeymoon. The morning after our wedding we ordered brunch through room service, a lavish treat we justified for that special occasion. I ordered my favorite – lamb chops – eating them with my fingers. Nate got scrod, and everything was served on linen and silver. “Even a free newspaper!” he said.

 

Vespers serviceWe did some sightseeing, sat in the front row at the new Broadway show Hair (quite controversial!), ate at The Cape Cod Room and Don the Beachcombers, shopped, saw the comedy show at Second City, and participated in an evening vesper service at a nearby church. We also spent a bit of our wedding money. I shouldn’t say “we,” because most of it was spent on me.

Nate said, “I think we should buy you a new coat.” My “Jackie Kennedy” had seen better days, and it was time to retire it. Modeling coats for my admiring groom was a delight, and I relished his many compliments.

The new coatI told him the choice was his, and he picked a black coat with fake fur, leather trim, and silver buttons. I loved it, especially knowing that every time I put it on I would be reminded of our honeymoon – for years to come.

At the Marshall Fields glove counter, we were pondering which pair of black gloves to buy (me again) when the clerk said, “I’m gonna guess you two are newlyweds.”

“How can you tell?” Nate said.

“Your rings are still shiny… and also… all that giggling.” We loved our new label.

Do not disturbNo matter what we did, though, we never strayed far from The Drake. Nate would look at me or I’d look at him, and one of us would say, “Let’s go back and take a nap.” – an invitation to have some more “pure” fun.

“A man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife.” (Genesis 2:24)