It is just over forty years since I wrote my first letter to the girl who was to become my wife. Marilyn had called in at my parents’ house to see my mother having just returned from a holiday in Durban. I was home on leave but about to travel to Durban to join my next ship. I promised to send Marilyn a postcard from Durban, but my orders were changed and I was sent to Glasgow to join a ship that was bound for Murmansk in the then Soviet Union. So instead of a postcard from South Africa Marilyn received a letter from Russia.IMG_8597

That letter was the beginning of our relationship. It triggered a regular exchange of letters, and when I returned home we started going out. Four years later we were married. I often wonder how important that letter from Russia was in establishing our relationship. Looking back I see God’s hand on both of our lives as He guided us together and kept us together. God didn’t need me to send a letter from Russia with love, but that is how He chose to point us to each other.IMG_8630

As I write this post I am once again in Russia, but this time in Moscow. I don’t need to write a letter to Marilyn as we can communicate by Skype or Face Time. I truly wish that Marilyn was here with me. Sadly this is yet another business trip, although I did get the opportunity to play the tourist last night. The fact is that even though we are often apart our relationship survives. It survives because God was in it from the beginning. Ours was an arranged marriage. God chose us for each other – before He formed us in our mothers’ wombs. I feel truly blessed for knowing that He is so intimately involved in our daily lives. I will always be thankful to Russia for the letter that was the start of our relationship, but I am overwhelmed by the knowledge that it was God who changed my orders and sent me to the cold and grey Murmansk instead of a sunny Durban so that I could write my first letter to my future wife from Russia with love.

“Haven’t you read,” he replied, “that at the beginning the Creator ‘made them male and female,’ and said, ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh’? So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.” (Matthew 19:4-6 NIV)