Newlywed Love (#124)

Newlywed Love (#124)

As Nate and Meg come to the end of their newlywed year, this post will be the last in that series. Future months might bring further chapters of their adventures, but for now we’ll put their love story to rest. Maybe we’ll tell a faster version at some point one month of married life per blog or maybe a series titled “Twenty years later: Middle-aged Love” or “Forty years later: Senior Love.” For now, however, it’s Happy 1st Anniversary!


November 29, 1970

Nate’s and my first wedding anniversary didn’t disappoint. The two of us began the day “snestling” in bed as we always did, this time wishing each other a Happy Anniversary. As the hours went by, we each found multiple notes here and there, full of rich sentiment.

A cardAnniversary card






The card reads: “I’ve never been happier than I am this day, our 1st anniversary as a married couple. Thank you abundantly for all the grand happiness of this year. I love you! Meg”

We headed back to the bedroom for a couple of “romantic interludes” during the day and planned a dress-up dinner at a classy restaurant that evening, a place we hadn’t visited since we were dating.

Round BarnNate had taken me to Champaign’s Round Barn in February of 1969, when he had been trying hard to win my heart. It must have worked, because when he asked me which restaurant I’d like to go to tonight, that one immediately came to mind.

We also made plans to have a very special dessert at home afterwards. As wedding tradition had it, Mom had saved the top layer of our wedding cake for this important day… in her deep-freeze… for an entire year. She and Dad had delivered it to us when they came for Thanksgiving.

Wedding cakeBack when we ordered our six-layer cake before the wedding, it was traditional for the inside to be all white. But both of us requested that the small top layer be made of dark chocolate. Now we couldn’t wait to feed it to each other, reminiscent of our wedding cake-feeding.

The plan was to use this private cake-ceremony as a symbol of that important day. We wanted to talk over the vows we’d made a year earlier, checking ourselves against them today. And we guessed it might be pretty romantic to feed each other – this time without an audience.

Throughout the day we chatted about all that was happening “a year ago at this time.” Nate brought up specifics I hadn’t remembered, and vice versa. Then, as we cuddled on the couch, we paged through our wedding album, checking to see if our memories were correct. It pleased me greatly that I had married such a sentimental guy.

The mail delivered quite a few anniversary cards, some actually with checks inside. So we took immediate advantage of that generosity at dinner. Nate ordered lobster, and I enjoyed filet mignon – something we probably wouldn’t do again for years.

Although I didn’t journal that night (being busy with better things), the next day I wrote about our cake-eating ceremony, using quite a few exclamation points:

Anniversary evening

The entry reads: “Nate’s prayer of thanksgiving (over our wedding cake) for marriage and me and us was so great —- Nate is so great. How very VERY lucky we are to have each other and mostly a marriage unified in Christ. So perfect is life. I’m in love with Nate and with Christ and with life, all at once. And I’m soooooo HAPPY AND LUCKY!!!!”

It had, indeed, been a wonderful day of love and loving, a springboard into what we hoped would be a 2nd year as good as the 1st.

“My child, listen and be wise: Keep your heart on the right course. If your heart is wise, My own heart will rejoice!” (Proverbs 23:19 & 15)

Newlywed Love (#122)

November 27, 1970

Journal about breakfastAfter a happy Thanks- giving Day, Nate and I started our 1st anniversary celebration-weekend with a bang – by sleeping until 12:30. Then together we made a big breakfast and set the table with silver, crystal, and our wedding china. With candles burning, we sat opposite each other in the center of the fully-extended table (which we’d needed for Thanksgiving) and talked about our marriage.

It was fun reminiscing about our wedding day. We laughed hard remembering our wild get-away from the church with John at the wheel, Nate changing out of his tux in a ladies room, and our mad dash into O’Hare airport – and out again.

Holding hands.We recounted each of the four days we had at the Drake Hotel as honeymooners and then went through the year recalling highlights. As we held hands across the breakfast table, Nate prayed a beautiful prayer of gratitude for all that had happened during this first year, and dedicated our marriage to God for the duration.

After doing the dishes, we got dressed up fancy and headed to Lincoln Square, the local mall, to look at Christmas decorations and buy each other an anniversary gift.

Cookie jarAlthough we’d received anniversary checks from both sets of parents and also Bervin and Mary, generally our finances were still tight. So we settled on a low-budget gift that would benefit both of us: a cookie jar in the shape of a big orange. I promised to fill it later with Nate’s favorite – frosted sugar cookies.

(This was our second cookie jar, but we were using the first one for candy.)

Although our actual anniversary wouldn’t come till Sunday, we splurged with dinner out (pizza) and a movie, figuring it would be appropriate to spend some of our gift-money on celebrating.

Back at home we made a fire and talked about what kind of Christmas tree we’d get the next day – shopping for it together. We talked about the previous year when Nate had surprised me with a tree (below), and I had burst into tears.

First treeAt the time I couldn’t believe he’d “cut me out” of that family tradition, and he couldn’t believe I hadn’t appreciated what he’d done for me.

As we remembered back to our first clash, we were thankful to have reached our 1st anniversary without too many more of those painful misunderstandings.

The day ended amorously — in each other’s arms, feeling warm, secure, and very happy.

“There is a time… for peace.” (Ecclesiastes 3:8)

Newlywed Love (#118)

November 10, 1970

Baron grows...After spending time with Baron, we always missed him more. But this time, after returning to Champaign, we got to enjoy another doggie, which took our minds off him.

Snoopy, a Beagle, belonged to one of my students. Jill was the daughter of old friends from Moody Church, and it was a happy coincidence that she landed in my kindergarten class.

One day her mom came to school to ask a favor. Would Nate and I be willing to keep Snoopy for a while so they could go on a family trip? We jumped at the idea, and in a few days, we had a foster puppy.

Snoopy.Snoopy made himself right at home and got us out walking multiple times every day. We were learning that we didn’t have to own a dog to get a doggie-fix every now and then.

We made another canine pal after I became friends with a teacher at my school named Barbara. She and her husband Rick lived in Danville, and we began asking them over for dinner here and there. One night when they had a power outage, they came and slept over. We used the time to plot and film a primitive home movie.

InkaWhenever Barbara and Rick came, they brought their dog Inka, much to our delight. Inka knew lots of tricks, and Nate loved moving her through her repertoire. Though our landlord didn’t allow live-in dogs, we didn’t think he’d mind a visitor now and then – and we loved having both Snoopy and Inka come over.

Nate’s studying was intensifying as the end of law school approached (January), and he had multiple papers due. Dog-walking was a nice diversion, and during Snoopy’s stay, he and Nate became good buddies. I think Nate actually enjoyed having someone to talk to while I was in Danville.

As the studying intensified, Nate would sometimes have to work well into the night. We’d have an extra-long prayer time on those days, though, just before I went to bed, asking God to give him efficiency, high quality work, and energy.

Nate's note.One morning I found a note taped to the bathroom mirror.

“Baby, thank you for the prayer last evening. I am more thankful every day that there is Unity in our marriage. I persevered until 3:30. Please wake me up at 7:00. I have to do footnotes. Love forever, Nate.”

We couldn’t wait till we were finished with school and out in the real world where paychecks would replace tuition payments and grades would be no more. And once we were settled, we might even be able to own a dog.

“Patient endurance is what you need now.” (Hebrews 10:36)