Once in a while in life, it really does happen. Once in a while romance and reality meet head on, sparks fly, and an eternal flame of love is ignited. In Midland Texas late in the summer of 1977, that is precisely what happened to a certain couple who now live
. not in Texas, but at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave., and who will be celebrating their 25th anniversary tomorrow.
Twenty five years ago last August a wonderful love story began that continues to this day.
George Walker Bush met Laura Lane Welch at a barbecue given by good friends. It was a set up from the start, but if ever a case of matchmaking succeeded, this was it! George W. was smitten by Laura, who was, to use his words, gorgeous, good-humored, quick to laugh, down-to-earth, and very smart. Laura thought George was kind of cute, and funny, and liked how he made her laugh. She obviously didnt play too hard to get, because in a few short months of a self-admitted whirlwind courtship, they became husband and wife in a small church ceremony on November 5th, celebrated together with a small group of family and friends.
Their married life began with a honeymoon in Mexico, and a campaign trek through Texas in a Congressional run by the groom which, though it failed, allowed the newlyweds the chance to spend all their time together
and both of them acknowledge that it was a very good way to start their marriage. The following years saw the birth of their twin daughters, Barbara and Jenna, involvement in church, school and community, scores of Texas Ranger baseball games, and eventually residence in the Governors mansion in Austin, Texas and a tumultuous candidacy and election in 2000 which led them to the White House, as President and First Lady of the United States of America.
Their marriage has not been without difficulty
..as none is
but theirs is a covenant marriage, and its obvious that the vows they took, and the commitment they made on November 5th were something to be honored, and their relationship something to be valued. Whatever challenges have come, they have worked through them, and when that is done in a marriage, it only strengthens over time. Even now, they nurture their relationship by spending both quantity and quality time with each other, jealously guarding their quiet evenings alone and early bedtime, and enjoying their early morning coffee time together, in spite of their overwhelming schedules and responsibilities.
Laura has said that marrying George Bush added excitement to her life, and their life together has certainly been an adventure, but she most likely never imagined what that union with him would eventually bring, or how important their strong, loving marriage would be in dealing with the heavy realities of their lives in the changed world following September 11, 2001.
George and Laura Bush have been said to exemplify a normal couple
regular people with a very real relationship
. but even though they are just like us in many ways, they are in other ways quite extraordinary
.. in their strength, devotion and ability to face the world together with uncommon humor and depth. And the circumstances of their lives, as God has led them together, are certainly not in the realm of the normal. They have had to deal with pressures and responsibilities far greater than that which most couples face, but they receive an infusion of strength from each other through the depth of their relationship, and the depth of the relationship they share with their Lord.
It has been a difficult year for them, to say the least, but as they walked down the ramp at Ground Zero on September 11 this year, hand clasped in hand, and as they walked among the families of the heroes of Flight 93 in Pennsylvania giving comfort and support, one sensed that their strength increased exponentially because they were not two, but one. They were experiencing a shared sorrow, and were not alone in their grief, as they are not alone in times of joy.
We as a nation have seen them weep together, laugh together, show resolve together, and fight against an unseen foe together. Who can doubt that George W. Bush has been a stronger President and leader because of Lauras love and support?
Marriage is one of Gods greatest miracles here on earth. It is a mystery in which two people, while remaining independent and individual, become fused into one
.body, soul and spirit. George and Laura Bush are so obviously one. They are both strong, intelligent and capable as individuals, but they are also intertwined into one being
. inseparable partners for eternity.
It is obvious to anyone who watches them that they are just plain crazy about each other. There is an electricity between them rarely seen in such an old married couple. They hold hands, they touch, they kiss with a tenderness rarely seen. Sometimes they are alone with each other, even in a room full of people.
They instinctively reach for each other without looking. One observer has noted that the President, who is high energy and sometimes in perpetual motion, is stilled by his wifes touch. At their first State Dinner with the Foxes, you could see her calming him by gently rubbing her thumb on his hand as they waited for the festivities to begin. There are gentle not-meant-for-public-consumption pats, adoring looks, and words of love spoken about each other.
The President is not the least bit shy in speaking of his affection for his beloved Laura, but sometimes the words are broken by the emotion he feels in talking about her. He has, at a Hispanic event at the White House, called her mi esposa
. my wife
my love. And he has struggled with emotion in front of a vast audience as he spontaneously called her the great love of my life
The Christian marriage physician and counselor, Dr. Ed Wheat has written that marital intimacy is a private little kingdom between a married couple and the King of kings, removed from public view
a special world of belonging, where two people find renewal and refreshment in each others love. This private kingdom results in security in each others love, stability in their lives, and serenity, flowing from a harmony of beliefs, a oneness of goals, and a mutual participation in what is most important to them.
It doesnt take much study to see the public manifestation of the private kingdom of George and Laura Bush
the stability and serenity they both exude is testament to the strength of their marriage. They are best friends
. satisfied, and completed by each others love, without the slightest need to look elsewhere to find happiness or fulfillment.
All this is not to say that our President and First Lady are not humans with flaws. Its entirely possible that they might even be irritated by each other on occasion! But Laura has said that in politics you have many enemies, and its better if its not your spouse. The teacher in her has to be at least slightly annoyed by some of his verbal missteps and plainspokenness, but when, in an interview with Tom Brokaw, the President blamed it on the Texas in him, she looked at her husband, smiled and said, I do like the Texas! I like the way he says things.
After 25 years they have learned whats important, and what should be overlooked. After 25 years of good times, and some bad times, of teasing and tears, of the joys and the stresses of raising their twin daughters together, of times spent relaxing and watching a ball game or waiting on pins and needles for election results, their love has deepened beyond the ability to express
and it radiates from them both. What a wonderful illustration they are giving America of what a marriage can be at its very best, when it truly is as God intended it to be!
HAPPY 25th ANNIVERSARY, PRESIDENT and MRS. BUSH!!
May your wonderful happily ever after love story continue for at least another 25 years!! Thank you for the example you are giving to our children, teens, young adults, and even to us old folks in the dignity, passion, tenderness, grace and love of your God-centered marriage.