Love that Goes the Distance

Love that Goes the Distance

So, our wedding. The whole thing was very ’80s. I wore a hat, a tea-length lace dress, and a new pair of shoes I could not wait to throw away.

Before I walked down the aisle with Daddy, I sang, “I love you Lord, and I lift my voice to worship You, O my soul rejoice.” Then at the end, Bill and I sang in harmony, “Rejoice, ye pure in heart, rejoice, give thanks, and sing!” It was really corny and also kinda wonderful and people clapped—back in the day when clapping in a Baptist church wasn’t the done thing.

For our reception, we served wedding cake and homemade mints in the church basement, then hugged people in the reception line for two hours.

That was it. Nothing Pinterest perfect, no honeymoon in Aruba. The entire wedding—dress, tux, rings, flowers, cake—cost us less than two thousand dollars.

Here’s all that matters. We’re still married, 30 years and counting. I am more in love with Bill every day of our lives together, and he kindly says the same about me. Only God could have blessed a (former) Really Bad Girl with a (forever) Really Good Guy like Bill Higgs, who chased away my Wedding Bell Blues in 1986!

Liz and Bill Higgs March 1986

What’s the secret recipe for a love that goes the distance?

Choose carefully.
Follow your heart, but consult your head as well. You’re making a vow meant to last a lifetime. Ask hard questions. Seek wise counsel. Think long term.

Love unconditionally.
Once you say “I do,” then do. Keep a mental list of all the things you love about your mate. Remind yourself of those wonderful qualities on difficult days.

Laugh regularly.
Play together. Do goofy stuff. Read funny books to each other. Share inside jokes that only the two of you get. Look for humor all around you.

Pray continually.
Make prayer your go-to. Before meals, before bed, before you get in the car, before you make important decisions, before you say something you’ll regret.

If I’ve missed anything major here, please let me know in the comments. This short list pretty much sums up life at the Higgs house. God and His Word are at the heart of everything, and He is beyond faithful.

For this month’s Bible study, let’s take a quick look at one verse that speaks to the essence of loving someone for a lifetime.

Her husband has full confidence in her and lacks nothing of value. Proverbs 31:11

Not a highly romantic sentiment, but a hugely practical one. Being both trust-worthy and trust-giving is essential for a love that lasts.

Inspire trust Proverbs 31:11 (voice)

Her husband has full confidence in her… Proverbs 31:11

When a man gives a woman his heart, to have and to hold, he’s doing a very brave thing. It means he “depends on her” (CEV), “relies on and believes in her” (AMPC), and “trusts her without reserve” (MSG).

Bill had plenty of reasons not to trust me when we first met. My life B.C. (before Christ) was a total mess. You probably know my story.  The Lord came roaring into my life 3 years before Bill did, so I truly was a new creation.

Even so, Bill might have worried about me slipping back into some dangerous old habits. Instead, he trusted me and, more to the point, he trusted God. One paraphrase of this verse is especially lovely: “She inspires trust, and her husband’s heart is safe with her” (VOICE).

May it be so, Lord. Always.

Every good thing. Provers 31:11

…and lacks nothing of value. Proverbs 31:11

Okay, sure. Whatever You say, Lord. Except, I need a little help understanding this second half of the verse. “He shall have no lack of gain” (ASV) sounds like he won’t run out of Gain laundry detergent, and “he shall have no need of spoils” (DRA) means I better not cook anything past the sell-by date. (Let’s not talk about the spices in our kitchen cabinet that go back to the Reagan years.)

How about this? “She will prove a great asset to him” (CJB). Yes, I get that. “She never lets him down” (CEV). I’m on it. “She will greatly enrich his life” (NLT). A wise goal. Another beautiful paraphrase, “Because of her, he has every good thing” (VOICE).

This kind of thinking helps us put the other person first. If a husband does every good thing he can for his wife, and she does every good thing she can for him, so that together they “submit to one another out of reverence for Christ” (Ephesians 5:21), then marriage becomes the blessing it’s meant to be and not a millstone around anyone’s neck.

30 years ago I said:

I, Elizabeth, take you, William, to be my husband, to have and to hold from this day forward; for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, till death us do part, according to God’s holy law. In the presence of God I make this vow.

Still keeping that vow. Still having fun doing it.

Liz and Bill Higgs July 2016

Now, our crazy giveaway. My first novel back in 1999, Mixed Signals, was set in an oldies radio station in small-town Virginia. Bill started writing his first book, Eden Hill,  soon after we married, carving out time to write between caring for our family, managing my ministry, and serving in our church. Finally, his debut novel, a nostalgic gem set in small-town Kentucky circa 1962, was published this summer! Jerry Jenkins calls Eden Hill “a curl-up-and-settle-in delight.”

What fun to share both our novels and a vintage Songbird portable radio made by Crosley Radio with three happy winners: Becky, Annie, and Joan!

Mixed Signals, Crosley, Eden Hill Giveaway

Even though our contest is closed, why not post a comment below, sharing your own secret ingredient for creating a love that goes the distance?

Until next time, bless you for giving me the absolute joy of encouraging you!

Your sister, Liz
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News Notes:

Really Bad Girls of the Bible 2016

Just released: Really Bad Girls of the Bible, an updated and expanded edition for 2016, with a new Discussion Guide for book clubs and a rich, new Study Guide for Bible studies. Also available as a new, full-length audiobook, read by yours truly.

31 Verses to Write on Your Heart

Coming October 18: 31 Verses to Write on Your Heart, a new daily devotional with a Bible study guide, wrapped in a lovely gift book overflowing with grace!

Liz's Speaking Calendar

Lots of speaking this autumn: Look for me at events in Oklahoma, Indiana, Florida, West Virginia, Missouri, Virginia, Texas, Mississippi, Vermont, Michigan, Pennsylvania, New Mexico, Georgia, and Colorado. I’d love to see you!

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