Before We Even Met

Pete and I were married six months after we met.  Our first Thanksgiving together was a special one – my first holiday meal with his extended Italian-American family.

I was amazed when spaghetti and meatballs were brought on heaping plates; I’d always had turkey and all the trimmings.  This is going to be interesting, I thought.  It was a large helping, but I was determined to get every bite into my 110 pound body.

To my astonishment, turkey and all the trimmings followed, then salad and bread, then nuts and fruit, and finally a dessert.  Only the women of the house left the table – in almost four hours.

On the way home Pete and I laughed about my limited capacity for food.  It was then I remembered the previous Thanksgiving. “Did anything unusual happen to you a year ago?” I asked.

He thought only a moment, then launched into his recollections.

He was in the U.S. Army, stationed in Germany.  He had arrived there as a new Christian.  He’d had quite a worldly background, so he was eager to follow the Lord in every area of life, especially regarding dating and marriage.  Early in his walk with Christ Pete had promised the Lord he would let Him choose his wife for him.  “Just put her in my path, Lord.  I can’t make such an important decision for myself.” He renewed that commitment and request each day for three years.

But Thanksgiving in Germany, having the turkey plopped onto his metal tray by strangers who saw this day as no different from the next, was a far cry from the large family gathering taking place in California.  Homesickness grabbed him by the throat and squeezed tight.

Suddenly he remembered the cute fraulein – what was her name? –  who worked just off base.  He decided he’d sin, just today.  He determined to take her for a date – to a movie, then to bed.  He was sure she was available – and willing.

After dinner he took her to her apartment building.  He was still wondering what her last name was, and was embarrassed to ask, considering his intentions.  Inside the double set of doors was a row of mailboxes.  This was his chance to learn her name.  As she put the key into the lock, he turned briefly and pointed to the boxes.  “Which mailbox is yours?” he asked as he heard the latch open.  He turned back for the answer, but she was gone.

Quickly he looked through the glass in the door, searching the hallway and the stairs with his eyes.  Instinctively he opened the outer door and looked up and down the street, but he knew she couldn’t have exited that fast.  He knew it was impossible, but she was nowhere to be seen. There was nothing left for him to do but to return to his barracks.

As Pete finished his story, he looked across the front seat into my eyes.  Maybe he was wondering if I was offended by the account.

I sat in wonderment for a full minute, until he finally inquired, “Why did you ask?”

Now it was time for my story.  As I had the previous three years, on that Thanksgiving weekend a year earlier I had attended a youth convention in Los Angeles.  Young people from churches all over Southern California gathered to hear challenging speakers.  Of course, I admitted, we also looked forward each year to meetings guys and girls from other churches—well, mostly guys.  We even listened to learn in which nearby restaurants those we were interested in would be eating.

But, I told Pete, last year during the first service a burden of prayer had come over me.  I didn’t know what I was to pray for.  I only knew that the man I had been praying for daily for three years – the one I referred to in my prayers as the man I’m going to marry—was in need of prayer.  I explained that because of watching my own parent’s unhealthy marriage, I was fearful of marriage, and had decided that I would make sure I had God’s choice, or remain single forever.  So at the youth convention, for a day-and-a-half, I spent my time praying, every minute I wasn’t in the common meetings.

Then suddenly the prayer burden lifted.  I didn’t know why; I didn’t know what had happened.

We rode silently along California’s Interstate 5 for a while.  Both of us knew the treasure we had uncovered.  Even before we had met, God had used a high school senior to pray her future husband out of a situation where he was about to sin.

We have shared this story many times: in churches, in our Marriage Enrichment Seminars, and when we teach in YWAM’s Discipleship Training Schools. We encourage young people to ask God for His choice of a husband or wife for them, and we encourage parents to pray for the future spouses of their own children.

© Beverly Caruso

Adapted from our book,

Keeping It Fresh – A Love that Keeps on Growing
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