I thought, “She’s always going to be there. She wouldn’t go. Why? We’re Christians. We have Jesus as the center of our life. Why would she leave me? She’d never leave me. We’ve got a big house. We’ve got the farm, the eight acres. We’ve got two dogs. We’ve got a cat. We have rental cows in front of the house. We’ve got the cars in the garage. We have everything. We’ve made it.” She said, “No, there’s more to it than that”, and she did leave me.
One of the things I did was take my eyes off what is important. I took my eyes of my wife and made my work more important than anything else. She came to Tennessee. I thought it was a game. I got back in the truck with the empty trailer and headed back to Iowa. I was crying hard on my drive back that I had to pull off the side of the road. As I beat the steering wheel I said, “Lord, I’ve lost the best friend I’ve ever had. I didn’t hear God audibly, but in my heart, I heard him say, “No you haven’t. I’m still here.”
He reminded that when were married at a church in Germany (Neither of us was Christians.), the Baptist minister took out the wedding ring and said, “You see this ring? There is no end to it. Just like the covenant you are going into with your wife. There is no end to the agreement you have with her. The only thing that can end this is death. But here on this earth, as long as you’re alive, it is a continuous life that you have with her.”
After our divorce, I was able to buy a piece of property next to where Petra had bought a piece of property. Petra loves to dance so as she would leave with a dance partner I would stand outside and wave, loving her, and saying, “Have a great time.” God just kept instructing me, “Stay straight. Stay true.” This went on for five years. Then there was an issue where I just got tired.
Then I got into a relationship with a very nice lady, and confusion set in. I didn’t even know myself. I would lie. I would say one thing to Petra and something else to the other person. I didn’t know myself and I didn’t like myself. All along, in my heart, I continued to see the wedding ring that was a never-ending circle, and the covenant I have with my wife. Although we were divorced I never saw her as not being my wife.
I had never proposed to Petra the first time around, which we laughed about, but I also think it was a sore spot for us. So when we finally came together again and I knew we needed to remarry I invited our two children, our daughter in law, and granddaughter over. It was Mother’s Day. In front of them all, I got down on my knee and did what I needed to do. I proposed to Petra and she accepted. We were married about two weeks later.
I thought our first marriage that was three weeks short of thirty years was good, but the last five years have been just wonderful. The person I married is a different person, as I pray that I am as well.