Thirty years ago Marilyn and I tied the knot. December 19, 1981 at New Salem Baptist Church Marilyn Elaine Elsea became Marilyn Elaine Duggan. It's hard to believe it has been thirty years ago. Wow, life has sure been a roller coaster since that cold December Saturday afternoon.
My wife married a young man with big dreams and stars in his eyes. I had just graduated (two days prior) from college with a degree in pre-law. I was going to practice law for a few years and put back some money for my biggest ambition, political office. My goal was no less than someday become governor of the state of Tennessee.
Marilyn still had one semester left before she would graduate with a a bachelor's degree in nursing. Years passed and she became a successful research nurse working for the UT medical school, and I kept drifting from one career to another, none of them as an attorney. I tried retail management for a while. I tried computer operations and later programming. No matter how I tried I was never satisfied I had found my calling.
In the meantime the Lord had blessed us with our first child. Only 18 months into his young life he was diagnosed with cancer. Marilyn left a lucrative career to be a full-time Mom to our sick child. That has always been her way. There is not a more giving and self sacrificing woman on this earth. That was never more evident to me than one night we were driving with our firstborn in the backseat. We had just been offered the position as pastor of Dallas Bay Baptist Mission. They required me to be full-time. The 7 families that constituted the congregation could only pay me about 2/3 what I was making as a programmer. Marilyn had never regained all she had lost when she quit to take care of our sick child. So in effect, we would be living on about half our normal income if I were to take the position at the church. I will never forget My wife's answer to the question I posed to her in the car, "Can we trust God in this?" She looked at our son in the backseat and said, "He hasn't let us down yet."
So if my ministry has blessed you or your family in any way over the last 22 years, you really have my wife to thank. She is the strong woman behind this weak man. She has home schooled two boys and nursed them through bouts of every sort of illness. Still her faith has remained strong. Never once has she ever complained about marrying an aspiring attorney and ending up with a Baptist preacher. Thanks honey, for all your sacrifice. Heaven only will tell all you have done that others do not know. Happy thirtieth anniversary! I love you!