Sunday, May 27, 2012


MAY 28th 1959/MAY 28th 2012 

Some days you just don't forget. Fifty-three years ago today is one of those. It was hot, humid, and the air conditioning at the First Baptist Church in Edmond Oklahoma had gone out. On top of that, all ten siblings of the bride were in the wedding. I waited at the front so long I needed to shave again. I thought the event would never transpire.

After six hours of waiting, [ministerially speaking] she came in. One look and I knew she was worth the agony of de-wait. I can still see her start down the aisle. I had sung a very special song to her many times in the past. [This was when music WAS really music.] It was now happening.

First a boy and a girl meet each other
Then they sit down to talk for awhile
In your heart you want her for a lover
While each step draws you closer to the aisle

You may start with a simple conversation
Like darling please put me on trial
Then you'll know in your heart she is just for you
While each step draws you closer to the aisle

Then you put a ring on her finger
And the tears start flowing about
In your heart you'll now she is just for you
While each step draws you closer to the aisle

The preacher did his part. [He was her dad] He asked "do you?" We both said "I do." He said "you are." And we were married at the ripe old age of 17 [her] and 18. [Me]. I kissed her and was perspiring so badly [the heat you know] I slid off her lips. Fifty-three years later___today-May 28th___I'm still kissing her but not sliding off as I once did. It's created a few problems across the years. Four children, thirteen grandchildren and three great-grand children to name a few. And, as the country song says "If I had it to do all over__I'd do it all over again." Those are the kind of problems you wouldn't miss for the world.

Now, you're probably wondering what could have possessed Mary to do it and to stay with me for so long. She wasn't too sure the night before the wedding. She got cold feet. She doubted slightly. I fixed that. I reminded her It was God's will. This was back in the days when I knew God's will for everyone if they would just listen to me. Some did some didn't. She did. I'm glad. I think she is too.

But to celebrate this day seriously, I do need to speak seriously for a moment. [Though Mary and I have learned to not take anything too seriously these days.] What does go into a marriage enabling it to last for fifty-three years?

Simple answer? Only the Grace of God and the reality of Christ as our life is the bottom-line, but to break it down into bite size portions I would say......

Acceptance___We're learning to accept each other where we are, as we are, with no demands for change made by the other without seeing that change has to happen both ways. [And it does need to happen.]

Respect___We're learning to appreciate each other as individuals NOT defined by the other. Funny how the Bible DOESN'T teach the "two shall become one." When someone says that to us, Mary always asks a wise question of them..."which one?" It does teach the "two shall become one flesh." But that's the kissing part. It kind of seals the union of the two completely. Now two different, whole, unique, individuals are in a life long covenant and seal it with....that kiss. [And a lot more if you get my drift.]

Commitment___We're learning to be genuinely committed to the life we have in Christ by the Grace of God and___ a willingness to change___ as we continue to grow in every way. [Mentioned above.] You do have the chance you know [if you stick around with each other long enough] to grow up, grow older, wiser, more gracious, more forgiving and all those other christian things that are really just His Life being experienced.

In fact, the key, if there is really just one, may be in the second and third words in each of the preceding paragraphs___"We're learning." If that ever stops you're dead in the water and the marriage will start leaking and probably sink. We've had some leaks,  we've had to fix them, and then we found some more. But the Grace of God is a gorilla of a glue.

That's the only way Mary's done it. Me? I've been perfect for the past thirty or forty years or so. :)

The truth really is Mary is that gorilla glue [Grace] embodied in a woman. Were that not a fact, fifty-three years would have never happened. My true thoughts of her are still those thoughts I had when I saw her start down that aisle a long time ago. The line of another song says what those thoughts were and still are today..."She's close enough to perfect for me."

Happy anniversary Mary. Thank you for the best years of my life.



Johnny D. said...

Happy Anniversary, Paul & Mary!

Paul Burleson said...

Johnny D,


Kristen said...


Paul Burleson said...



Bob Cleveland said...

Happy 53rd, Paul & Mary. We've been married for 53 years, for 2-1/2 months now (it gets better).

Aussie John said...


Congatulations to you and your gorilla glue.

It thrills me to read you using present tense words such as "We're learning to accept each other where we are..","We're learning to appreciate each other as individuals NOT defined by the other...","We're learning to be genuinely committed to the life we have in Christ by the Grace of God...".

Happy anniversary! Praise God His great grace in you both!

Oone of the two security words, quite appropriately, is SERVICE.

Wanda (Deb) Martin said...

Happy Anniversary Paul and Mary!

My parents will celebrate their 57th wedding anniversary this coming New Year's Eve. My dad, who is American, met my mom, who is Norwegian, when he was serving in the Air Force during the Korean Conflict. They met on the first night he was stationed in Norway.

They have a marriage much like yours, and I am so blessed to have parents who have been wonderful role models.

Thank you for sharing this fantastic news!

In closing, I will be forever grateful for you son Wade. He is such an encouragement to me!

Blessings to you and your family.

Paul Burleson said...

Bob, Aussie J,

You guys are the best. Thank you and you both, I'm sure, know what it is for a wife to be the "glue!" ;)


I'm appreciative of you in more ways than I can say. I miss my "daily fix" of the Wartburg Watch and am looking forward to it being up and running soon.

Steve Miller said...

Happy Anniversary Paul and Mary. Thanks for being honest, open and transparent.

Steve and KaJean Miller

Anonymous said...


I'm missing all the great comments people write on our blog.

Just want to let you know that we've found an "underground" place to hang out until we're back online.

They're down

It must have been divine providence, but early last week we heard from one of our faithful commenters, Sergius Martin-George, who was coming through North Carolina later in the week. Dee and I only knew him from our online exchanges, and we met him for dinner Friday (several hours after our website went down).

He put up a Memorial Day post honoring us and has provided a great way to communicate (for those who can find their way to the steam tunnel).

If you enjoy great satire, you ought to take a look at some of Sergius' work. He's only been blogging for a few months. Radio Free T4G is one of my favorites, along with the hedonistic TP ad.

It's great to be able to laugh in the midst of what appears to be a trial...

Wanda (Deb) Martin said...


I didn't mean to post as "Anonymous". Sorry about that. I take full credit for the above comment about the Steam Tunnel.

Sometimes I feel like I'm all thumbs...

Off The Cuff said...

Bro. Paul,
The moving testimony of your 53 year journey with your beautiful "help meet" leaves me speechless. It is a great testimony to love, faith and commitment.

Rex Ray said...


Thanks, but the poem was written by my twin brother, Hez. If my dad had not died at 93, he would be 115.

June 3, 2012
Congratulations. How is it in looks, time is is kinder to women than men? Also in youth, they’re older than we are and in mature years they stay younger? Maybe it’s not the time but the mileage? Huh?

I couldn’t help but notice in the picture there were none seen on the groom’s side of the church. Did you not have any friends? :)

I recognize the wedding dress—just like the one Belle wore. Even if it was a hot Oklahoma day in July 1957, (no air-condition car) it was a shock that she took off all those petticoats under the dress as I drove. I thought she would have me stop at a service station bathroom, but then I really had a lot to learn about married life. We were both 7 years older than you guys.

Thirty something years later, we were on a long Volunteer Christian Builder’s trip and she said, “Do you remember this town?”

“Never been here in my life.”

“This is where we spent our honeymoon!”

Big oops.

Next month will be our 54 th.

Rex Ray said...

Don't know what's wrong, but Rex Ray said the above.