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Chris Fabry
Married to Andrea since 1982. We have 9 children together and none apart. Our dog's name is Tebow.
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Where We Are Now

After finding and remediating mold twice in our Colorado home, we abandoned ship in October 2008. Because of the high levels of exposure, our entire family was affected. After months of seeing different specialists for all of the problems, we came to Arizona to begin comprehensive treatment to rid our bodies of the toxic buildup. In August 2009 we moved into a larger home, four bedrooms, south of Tucson, north of Mexico. I am doing my daily radio program/ writing from that location. Thanks for praying for us. We really feel it.

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Saturday, December 18, 2010
I ran an errand yesterday with my daughter, Shannon. She knew it was our anniversary today. “So, when did you know you were in love with Mom? What was the progression?”

Good question. I hadn’t thought about it for a long time. I explained how we met—I was an animal trainer with the circus—no, wait, I was in Special Ops with a clandestine military group… I used to do that, make up stories of how we met, telling the kids I was everything from a coal miner to a professional cheerleader.

I was a leader for our InterVarsity Christian Fellowship group at Marshall University. In the fall of 1981, Andrea Kessel came to West Virginia to take a job in radio and volunteered to help out at the local university. I still remember what she wore to that first meeting, the blue bell bottoms, the razor thin sandals, the striped shirt with the little tie thing at the top.

I remember that she laughed at my jokes and came up to me afterward and talked about radio and tennis and life. We had a lot in common. By December of 1981, I had asked her to my radio station’s Christmas party. That was our first date. One year later, to the day, we were married. In a private ceremony at the White House.

Things progressed pretty quickly. Back when I was a professional fisherman, I learned when I had a catch and when I should throw the fish back. Andrea was a keeper. We were drawn together like the ocean tide is drawn to the shore, like refrigerator magnets are drawn to…refrigerators, like flies to warm potato salad.

“But when did you know you were in love?” Shannon said.

“My concept of love is different than you see in Hollywood movies or in most of the culture. Love is a feeling that comes and goes. It’s warm and fuzzy and makes you feel tingly inside. It’s like champagne—as long as you feel the fizz, you’re in love. But when the feeling goes away, you’re out of love and you leave because what you’re in the relationship for is the feeling. To many, love is like a bank account. When you withdraw all the money, the account is empty and you move on to another relationship in order to get the same feeling.”

Shannon has heard this before, in various ways. She’s a veteran of the “commitment” speech. But I kept going. And I will hereby keep going and flesh out this postulate.

To me, love is not wrapped in a feeling I get, but is an action on my part. It’s a commitment made based on a desire I have for good to the other person. I love her, not because she makes me feel befuddled on the inside. I love her because I’ve chosen to love her, in spite of all of her foibles, problems, and negatives. And not respecting her beauty, desirability, sex appeal, and winsome personality. My love is not an exhaustible bank account that runs out when she makes me unhappy. My love is an action based on my commitment for her good.

And here’s the really great part of this type of love. I am still befuddled by her. I am still tingling. It was 28 years ago today that she walked down the aisle in a beautiful, white dress, and said, “I do” to me. Best day of my life. Scary day. We began a journey neither of us understood. We couldn’t imagine what was ahead. But we’re going through it together. Committed to each other through the good, the bad, and the moldy.

“Did that answer your question?” I said to Shannon.

“Not really,” she said, smiling, as if she had heard all of that before. As if she were proud in some way to have parents who are still together. As if she already knew the answer to the question.

She knows that love is not a tingle. She has seen us fight like cats and dogs and pout and cry and say mean things to each other. She knows we’re not together simply because of our fortitude. Yes, we are committed to each other. Marriage is work and we’ve done some heavy lifting over the years. Of course, my stint as a professional body builder helped. But the dirty little secret of love is that even if you’re committed, even if you try your hardest to stay “in” it, you’re going to fall out of it at some point and wind up in the same place the people who are in it for the tingles wind up. Even the most committed marriage in the world will fall apart.

The real reason we’ve stuck together for 28 years is because of something unseen, something other-worldly, and something that doesn’t have anything to do with us. What drew us to each other was not ourselves, our interests, or our backgrounds. What keeps us together is not ourselves. God is the third cord. He gets the credit for anything good that comes out of our marriage. A marriage that lasts is a gift. It’s up to us to treasure it and open it every day.

So I’m grateful today, 28 years later, to the one who said “I do.” And I’m grateful, eternally, for the One who brought us together in his timing, for his purposes.

That kind of gives me a tingle.


Annette said...

Oh, my goodness. Today is my husband and I--- 28th Anniversary as well.
Happy Anniversary to you and your wife as well!

Anonymous said...

Coming up on our own 37th anniversary on the 28th of December. Your words echoed my heart. Thank-you and a very happy Anniversary.

Richard Hunt said...

My wife, Debbie, and I were married December 18, 1971. 39 years, 3 daughters, college and seminary work done while rearing our family, she is suffering with major depression due to chemical imbalances in her brain. She is, or was an accomplished RN taking care of mothers and their newborns for nearly 25 years. Now, due to a psychotic breakdown, she finds it difficult to maintain a conversation where she has to think to answer questions.

Chris, you have said in your blog what I have thought many times as people asked me why I stayed with her. Even my eldest daughter said to me one time, "Why don't you just divorce Mom?" I told her, You don't throw people away just because they're sick." It didn't stick much because she is on her 2nd divorce at age 34.

Anyway, thanks for your witty explanation. Guess that's what your family gets when they have a writer/storyteller in the family.

I miss hearing your program while I am in my car since the Good News Network of Augusta, GA dropped your program from the air. I know I can listen on line, but have little time in the evenings to do so.

Diana said...

Chris and Richard, What wonderful testimonies of the power of God's love when people turn to Him and trust Him to enable them to love and hold onto the gift of marriage. Richard, be blessed by the Lord for your loving commitment to your ailing wife. My heart is filled with joy as I read Chris' blog and Richard's comments in regard to such godly commitments!