Redemption Story – Marriage
I love to tell the story of how Bob and I met. In part I love to tell it because being married to him makes my heart happy and brings me joy. Yes, I do love being married to Bob Baulch. However, more than that – and even more importantly than that – the telling of my marriage story glorifies the One who made it possible. Our courtship, our marriage, and our life together would not exist outside of the redemptive work of Jesus in both our lives. Our public persona is reality. A reality that is rooted in the grace and mercy of Jesus.
I met Bob years before we became a couple. In fact, he was actually married to someone else when met. He was the new hire who was replacing me in a teaching position and it was my responsibility to train him. This required Bob to follow me around from class to class with all of the students literally shouting out when we walked in the room, “Is this your husband?” I think Bob was a little mortified by the uninhibited questions of junior high schoolers. In addition, as I said earlier, he was married to someone else. He would turn beet red while I would just laugh and with an emphatic voice reply, “NO!” And to myself, “Oh Lord, he is not even my type.” Oh the irony! With that being the case, from the beginning, our relationship was strictly professional. He was just Mr. Baulch, that very nice and funny man with whom I taught and who also could fix computers. (That’s a little fact that will play a huge part down the line.)
I need to interject here and say something of vital importance…Bob Baulch never once, not to me or any other female teacher, made a suggestive or inappropriate remark or overture. He was always courteous, friendly and helpful. Always professional, he never once flirted as some men and women will do in the work place. He was married and he conducted himself accordingly. This is significant, because had he been anything but professional, I would never had been able to trust him. Had Bob Baulch not been a man of character, married to me years later, I could never have been sure of how he conducted himself when he was away from me. And honestly, I would have never considered dating him had he been anything except a gentleman.
So…Bob and I worked at the same school for a couple of years and he was just Mr. Baulch, that nice man. After a few years, I moved to another campus and I had no further contact with him. Fast forward to the year 2009. That year was a year of deep healing and restoration in an area I had been praying about for a long time. It was also the year I decided to fully embrace technology-LOL… So, I bought my first smart phone and set about embracing! In the fall of 2010 a friend/coworker from the campus I had previously worked had a birthday celebration. Low-and-behold but who should be there too? You guessed it, Mr. Baulch! It was great to see him since my old computer was in dire need of updating. Of course, I said, “Hello Mr. Baulch it is so nice to see you and by the way, do you still fix computers?” He did and gave me his phone number. Then I went on my way, not thinking twice about Mr. Baulch, except to consider it fortuitous for myself that I ran into him, and I could now get my computer fixed.
However, I didn’t think any more about it, except over Thanksgiving break I suddenly remembered my computer needed fixing. I called Mr. Baulch and we set up a time for me to bring it over. He agreed to fix it for free. The only caveat being was that I stay and learn how to do it. Well…I really would have rather paid him or poked out my own eyes with a stick than embrace that much computer knowledge. But, since I had determined to embrace technology…there I was, hours later, enjoying Mr. Baulch’s company. And it did take hours. There was something about old computers and new operating systems – uploading, downloading, backing up and restoring. I didn’t learn a thing, but I did have a wonderful time. We talked for hours, ate pizza, and I saw a completely different side to Mr. Baulch. Not only was he nice and funny, he was smart, talented and interesting. I left with a working computer and a whole new appreciation for a man who had, prior to my visit, just been a co-worker.
On my drive over to his home, I had no idea that he was not married any longer. I did not find out until I walked into his apartment, fully expecting to meet his wife, that he had gotten a divorce. I was truly sorry to hear that news. I have always felt that regardless of who wanted the divorce in a relationship – it generally was not easy for either person. One of the things we talked about was his divorce and relationships in general. He wasn’t ready for a serious commitment . In fact, this divorce had even shaken his faith. As for me, about a year before Bob came back into my life, I had finally reached the place where I had stopped looking back at all I had lost. I had given that place of deep longing and sorrow over to the Lord -finally laying it at his feet. Letting go of only seeing what I didn’t have, I had chosen to look forward to the future. I had chosen to trust that He had something better for me. Consequently, I was content-content to live my life, to enjoy all the things that were available to me-travel, friends, family, and most importantly, I was finally content to let God be my husband and wait.
It took him a few days, but eventually, Mr. Baulch texted me and asked if I wanted to go to his campus’s Christmas Party. I was intrigued. I thought, okay, what do I have to lose? It would be fun and in addition, I knew other people he worked with. If nothing else, I would get to see them. Then a few days later, since the Christmas Party was a few weeks away, he called this time and asked me on a date. I said yes and we went out to eat. I must confess at this point, I was thinking…Oh My! Is this a date or just two people going to eat, because, well you know…everyone has to eat! Then, I was like, what if??? What if he tries to kiss me…what should I do…what if he’s a lousy kisser…I could never date a lousy kisser…he’s probably is a lousy kisser…he’s so nice…should we just be in the friend zone…it would be nice to have a friend to go places with…LOL…well you get the picture! However, I got a grip. I just relaxed into it and thought, it will be what it will be! Lord, I surrender it to You. We went on the date, it was great. He still was just as funny and charming as I found him to be the night he had fixed my computer.
So now, Mr. Baulch was Bob Baulch. And, we were friends who immensely enjoyed being in each other’s company. We dated, however we didn’t have an agenda. Meaning, neither of us in the beginning dated to be married. We went to movies, out to eat, we laughed and we talked… We talked about our past, our mistakes, our fears, and we talked about what we wanted from our lives. The longer we dated, the more I realized what a wonderful man he was. Consequently, a wonderful by-product of not having an agenda was, we were able to be ourselves.
I think it was during this time that the Lord began to plant a deep level of love for Bob in my heart. I didn’t recognize it at first. In truth, what I was feeling for him was something new for me. I cared about him deeply and I was attracted to him, but there was a peace about us. This peace brought stability-a type of love that was sure, steady and wonderful all at the same time. Then I realized what was so different in me. I wanted the best life possible for Bob. So-much-so, that if I wasn’t the one for him-if the Lord had other plans for his life that didn’t include me-that was what I wanted too! My heart’s desire was for Bob to be happy even over my own happiness…in fact, his happiness brought me be joy. The Bible has a word for this kind of love. It is called agape love and in all of my 48 years, I had never wanted this for a man in my life. Of course looking back, this was the turning point for me in that I began thinking about us being more than friends. I knew that there was a God plan unfolding and I wasn’t sure how I felt about that at first. However, I just tucked this realization away and we continued to date.
I’m fairly certain that I realized before Bob that the Lord was at the helm, working behind the scenes. The truth is we both had baggage from our past that we had to hurdle. In some ways, we took it slowly and gradually our conversations began to change. I continued to pray for God’s will to be done. I knew at this point I was in love with Bob, an even if he didn’t choose to move forward with our relationship, I still wanted God’s best for him. I realize now that I was capable of this attitude because I had totally surrendered to the Lord’s will for my life. I had surrendered my agenda in this area of my life, and had chosen to believe the Lord would see me through no matter what the outcome.
Well, eventually, Bob Baulch orchestrated and surprised me with a beautiful ring, and a wonderfully planned out proposal. He even had asked for my father’s blessing. So at fifty years young, in front of family and friends, I walked down the aisle and married a man that far exceeded my hopes and dreams.
People ask me how easy/hard it was to adjust to married life after being single for so many years. Of course, there were some adjustments-LOL- I was used to doing things MY way and in MY time frame. And for all of my adult life, I had taken care of myself. There had been no one to answer to but God. In truth though, the transition was not that difficult. I love everything about being married to Bob Baulch. He is a wonderful husband who has been a blessing to me all the days of our relationship. Bob is a man of integrity-a man who walks in grace and truth. He loves Jesus and desires to let his life reflect Him. In my opinion, he’s pretty close to perfect-or at least perfect for me.
I’ve learned so much about walking in peace from being married to him. We’ve already weathered a few storms and because of the Lord, they have only served to strengthen us. Bob Baulch brings out the best in me and always points me to Christ. His love for me makes me want to be the best wife I can – to honor him and thereby ultimately honoring Christ. There has been nothing that I have had to give up or situation that I have had to compromise on, that really mattered in the light of our life together. I thank God for him daily.
As I have written before, “I love being married to Bob Baulch.” Our love story, however, only had a beginning because of a greater Love Story. This is a love story that has its beginnings’ in the foundation of the world. This is a love story that spans centuries. It is the most important love story of them all. For without this Love Story, Bob and I both know, we wouldn’t have a story to tell at all. Our marriage exists solely due to the grace and mercy of the true Lover of our souls. And, because of this truth, we purpose to have a marriage that honors Him.
And in case you’re wondering…he is a fabulous kisser.
Rachael Wendy Baulch