Her “fall from grace” happened when she was a little over 25 and he was a bit older. She had been in love with him for several years but he was not of a mind to make a commitment just yet. And then she became pregnant. This situation, in those days, was unpardonable. Of course, it must not get out! A very few members of her family were told and together those family members hatched a plot.
The gentleman was compelled by them, and of course by his own honor, to do the right thing; and swiftly the young woman became, as they said in those days, an honest woman. Meanwhile, those few members of the family who were “in the know” spread the word that the couple had been secretly married one year earlier.
It turned out that the new spouses were meant for each other. They went to church together, donated time and money to worthwhile causes as a team and grew old together in almost total harmony. They both lived until they were married nearly 60 years.
On the couple’s “50th” wedding anniversary, their immediate family arranged a party for them. They received many gifts, and guests present at the party also festooned a bare branch planted in a clay pot with dozens of dollar bills.
After the party was over, the “money tree” was placed on the mantelpiece and left there month after month. Then, when the next anniversary rolled around, the tree was taken down and the money was spent for some small luxury. Gift towels, received one year earlier, appeared in the bathroom.
This honest wife was willing to make use of her “50th” wedding anniversary gifts only when she had truly been married for 50 years.
Do you wonder how I know this true story? Many years before the anniversary party, I was told, in confidence, the truth about the marriage by an elderly member of the wife’s family. Then, on this good wife’s “51s’t” anniversary, she told me herself that she thought she had held onto her 50th anniversary gifts long enough and it was time for her to begin to use them.
I never said anything to indicate I knew her secret and even though she has long since passed away, I won’t reveal her name now. I’m telling the story because the woman’s honesty before God is so inspiring. As a matter of fact, I take back the first sentence of this article. This dear woman never fell from grace. At most she stumbled, as do we all; and I think she more than pleased God with her commitment to Him, to her spouse and to honesty.