A Love Letter to Lanette

It was twenty-nine years ago, September 12, 1981, that Lanette Sanford and Jerry Godsey became Mr. and Mrs. Jerry Godsey. Lanette and I have something special. We are not just married; we are best friends. There is not a person on the face of this planet I would rather spend time with than my wife. If she liked (or even tolerated) football, she would be the perfect friend!

I love her more today than I did the day I asked her to marry me. More than the day we were wed. I love her more than the couples do in those syrupy “chick-flicks” that she watches while I am broadcasting high school football games on Fridays.

The fact that I love her makes perfect sense. The fact that she loves me defies reason. Or as my former assistant said, “You don’t deserve your wife!”

We have made it to twenty-nine years, and there doesn’t seem to be any sign of us slowing down. We have had some rough times, but through it all, we stayed together. We have learned to try to put the other person first. The great thing is, she tries to put me first while I am trying to put her first, and we meet in the middle.

There is a story about a man and wife who were celebrating their golden wedding anniversary: Fifty years of married life. Having spent most of the day with relatives and friends at a big party given in their honor, they were back home again. They decided, before retiring, to have a little snack of tea with bread and butter. They went into the kitchen, where the husband opened up a new loaf of bread and handed the end piece (the heel) to his wife. She exploded! “For fifty years you have been dumping the heel of the bread on me. I will not take it anymore; this lack of concern for me and what I like.” On and on she went in the bitterest of terms, for offering her the heel of the bread. The husband was absolutely astonished at her tirade. When she had finished he said to her quietly, “But it’s my favorite piece.”

We haven’t tried to change each other. She accepts me for who I am, and I accept her for who she is. That’s not to say we haven’t both changed, we have. I have tried to become the kind of husband she wants and desires. Not because she wants me to, but because I want to be that for her. I fall short quite often, but she seems to appreciate my efforts.

I think this is the biggest mistake people make in marriage. They marry somebody and then try to alter him or her. Carl Rogers said it best, “When I walk on the beach to watch the sunset I do not call out, ‘A little more orange over to the right, please,’ or ‘Would you mind giving us less purple in the back?’ No, I enjoy the always-different sunsets as they are. We do well to do the same with people we love.”

I have said many times that I want my boys to grow up and say that they want to treat their wife the way their dad treats their mom. What remains to be seen is how good a job I did.

Thanking God for my wife… Jerry

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