It has been suggested that, having survived 50 years of married life, Richard and I might have “some marital advice and wisdom to pass on” – NO, I’m afraid , we do not!
For one thing, like most others of our age I guess, we have just muddled through!! We have never sat down and examined and discussed our relationship – and we have never had a ‘date night’!
For another, our lives have not been in any way ‘normal’. In these 50 years we have spent 30 years as missionaries, mostly in East Africa, sometimes in very precarious, or even, dangerous, situations.
But maybe, now is a good time to look back. What has kept us?
· Commitment. We made our vows before God, believing He had brought us together, and never, ever, thought of breaking them.
We met through Pip n’ Jay and the wonderful teaching and in-depth Bible teaching we received from Malcolm Widdecombe (vicar 1963-2009) have been the foundation on which we have built our lives and marriage.
· Christian friends. Friends who have always been there for us, sharing our ups and downs, praying for each other and supporting each other. One privilege of being a missionary is that your family probably gets prayed for more than most!
The Lord’s leading and guidance. This should probably have come first! When 3 different people, who all believe they are being guided by the Holy Spirit, are asking you to go to 3 different countries, you do need to hear from the Lord! He has always answered our prayers and led us very clearly where He wants us to be, sometimes that has meant long separations.
· We have also needed God’s wisdom in many and varied difficult situations, He has never let us down.
· Knowing you are in the place where God wants you to be gives wonderful peace. So many times we have thought, “this did not take God by surprise. When He put us here He knew this was going to happen, we can trust Him”
Certainly marriage is an adventure – and with God it’s an exciting adventure!!
- Richard & Pat Bright