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Sometimes I think we just need to hear a good love story, don’t you?  I remember the first time I laid eyes on the one who would become my life partner.  It was in the autumn of 1971, and the place was Central Bible College in Springfield, Missouri.  I was a sophomore, and Janna was a freshman. By divine sovereignty we found ourselves in a sign language class, which required us to practice finger spelling with a partner.  My partner?  You guessed it.  Now that my hearing is going, we probably need to reacquaint ourselves with our finger spelling skills.

Our practice times became my opportunity to become better acquainted with this young lady from Kansas. I discovered she was going steady with a guy named Mike who lived in Wichita, but he was no match for my charm.  It wasn’t long after we met that Janna broke Mike’s heart and set mine on fire.  She endeared herself to me because she actually thought I was funny. Bo Derek may have been a “10,” but Janna was a 15 on a bad hair day.  On August 11, 1973 we tied the knot, and after 45 years of marriage we are still, in the words of Forrest Gump, “like peas and carrots.”

Our “Love Story” will never make the big screen like Ali MacGraw and Ryan O’ Neal, but our marriage has certainly endured the test of time.  Just for the record, who in the name of Pete ever dreamed up that line, “Love means never having to say you’re sorry?”  Are you kidding me? Every day I say I’m sorry, just in case I missed one or two the day before.  The truth is, love means learning to say you were wrong, which isn’t easy or pleasant.  Being able to humble yourself for the sake of the other and ask for forgiveness is a sign of a good marriage.

So why is it we’re all suckers for love stories?  Regardless of how much a man might protest their abhorrence for a good romance flick, be assured the more they protest, the more this quote from Hamlet rings true. “The lady (Man) doth protest too much, methinks.” If you can watch movies like The Notebook, Love Story, and yes, Forrest Gump, and not shed a tear or two, you are dead and just haven’t been buried yet.

We like love stories because love is in our DNA and even the hardest heart has a soft spot with a longing to be loved by someone. Why is divorce or the death of a soul mate so painful?  It’s because God created the bond between a married couple to be so strong that when the bond is broken the pain can be compared to something greater than the ripping apart of the human heart. Being able to love someone and be loved in return is an amazing gift from our Father.

In case you’ve forgotten, today is Valentine’s Day.  Take the time to give some quality thought to what you might do beyond candy, flowers, a card, and dinner on the town.  Do that too, but this year add something from the heart that will speak louder than something you purchased at CVS.  Here’s one of my “and then some” ways to say I love Janna, my soul mate.

I bless the day you walked into my life.

It was even better when you became my wife.

You have brought me more joy than words can tell.

To lose you would make living without you pure hell.

August 11 is the day of our anniversary.

Forty-five years has enlarged my capacity.

Over time my capacity to love has grown stronger.

Because of your love my heart now beats faster and longer.

We began in Springfield, moved to Butler then Princeton, Missouri.

Three cities in five years was the start of a long, long journey.

Off to Marion, then Stow, the Falls, and Barrington, Rhode Island.

Said goodbye to Barberton and hello to Akron, our Paradise Island.

Wherever we roamed you made a house a home.

Your decorative touch made any dwelling our own.

The gifts you possess are greater than matching colors.

It’s your grace, your style, and your charm like no other.

On this Valentine’s Day, February 14, 2018

This little poem is my way of saying:

You’re the best, you’re the bomb.

You’re the bestest Mimi and Mom.

Kimberly, Joshua, and the rest of their clan

Say thank you, we love you, forever we’re fam.

Greg and Shaylyn, along with their three little angels

Say we too bless the day God gave you to us.

So Janna this poem is just about to close

But before I go I’ll mention your clothes.

You ALWAYS dress classy and always look FINE.

Your style, your beauty drives me out of my mind.

Which explains why I act the way that I do.

I can’t stop staring and looking at you.

You’re the apple of my eye and my big banana.

You’re amazing and lovely, you’re my special Janna!

2 Comments, RSS

  • Hazel Beard

    says on:
    February 14, 2018 at 8:12 am

    I don’t know Janna, but I know that she must be an extraordinary woman to have inspired such love! I do know you Mark Ford and I know that your heart for righteousness is absolutely extraordinary! That you two found each other and have lived your dreams together is enviable and inspires everyone around you! You have a unique ability to identify and go after your own weaknesses! Saying you’re sorry isn’t a weakness, it’s a strength. Same for admitting your’re wrong, misspoke or just messed up. You don’t tolerate such things in your life and swiftly sweep them away, take them to the cross and walk away forgiven and inspired to share your journey with others. What most people run away from, you run directly at! You are an inspiration and wonderful man! I miss our days of working to spread the message and power of biblical peacemaking in NE Ohio! Be Well My Friend!

  • John Saros

    says on:
    February 14, 2018 at 11:40 am

    Wonderful story and poem. Linda and I have been “peas and carrots” for 47 years, and she is still the sweet girl I married. I am blessed like you sir, but thank you for your inspirational words.