For the Love of Fred and Ethel


Life and love from the perspective of three pairs of love birds. God has a plan for each of us in love and happiness. We just need to find it and hold onto it. He is the key to discovering true meaning where you are at now, in the life relationship you are in at this moment, with the love He has given you that only comes from His love for us.

Fred and Ethel

For the last four or five years, maybe even longer, we have had a pair of swallows living outside our home. They have relocated their nest three times, once after our landlord decided to repaint our home and the painters got rid of their nest. After that incident they disappeared for a bit, and we thought we had lost our extended feathered family, but that next season they did return. But I could swear they gave us a look of discontent.

While we are aware that these are most likely not the same pair of swallows, we have it in our hearts that they are at least of the same line, the children of the original pair. From the beginning, we have lovingly named them Fred and Ethel. Carolyn is an avid bird watcher. It is a hobby of hers. In fact, if you look closely, you will see a tattoo of a swallow behind her left ear.  

This aviary couple, regardless of ancestry, is fun to watch. They are a typical couple. You can hear them bicker, love on each other, and I swear they flirt with each other. One instance would be Fred was on one end of the car port eave, and she was on the other near the nest. He sort of nodded his head. She didn’t respond. He did it again, and then she flew over to where he was—a sure sign of love. So adorable. Regardless of how many future winged couples find their way under our carport, they will always be Fred and Ethel to us.

Jeff and Carolyn

When I think of couples, who have been together a while, I am always brought back to my own life. This year Carolyn and I hit a pretty interesting milestone. Well, I do, at least. Carolyn hit hers a little over a year ago. In just about four months, we will have shared our life together longer than we have spent it apart. I know it’s an odd thing to think about, but I am a date type of person. If you follow my Facebook feed, then you understand because you have seen that I recently posted about the 22nd anniversary of our first date and us becoming an item. 

We, like Fred and Ethel, have been through several moves and one landlord relocation. But just as those birds had the tenacity to stick it out, we have made it through tremendous adversity. We bicker, we love, and by goodness, we do our share of flirting. I will spare you any instances, but to say that we do our share of embarrassing our kids.

Our love is, above all, a choice we made to stick it through, no matter what. And most of you know by now that no matter what means, no matter what. Through it all, God has strengthened our marriage, and we now have found a love that goes beyond words or a choice. It is an unbreakable bond founded in the Lord.

Jacob and Renae

Whether it is two birds in a nest or the love life of a husband and a wife, the couple in my novel The Five Barred Gate was built around personal experiences and shared stories. If you know what it is like to be estranged from your spouse, then you will understand the relationship Jacob and Renae share. If you have been following my excerpts on Weekend Writing Warriors, then you know where Jacob is right now. If you have read the book, then you completely understand.

Jacob and Renae: Two people hurting, confused by what is happening, not sure what to expect next. One expecting his life to return back to him, the other overwhelmed with a reality she did not expect to happen. When these worlds collide, emotions will run high, and caution will need to be taken before decisions are made.

Ever find yourself in that situation in your relationship?  Where you are unsure of the next step? Where you see a change in the other person, but not sure if it is real or not? While Jacob and Renae have extenuating circumstances, the change in Jacob is the foremost topic that Renae has to accept.

The Grand Conclusion

Relationships can be for the birds, they can be long-standing, or they can be complexly written. The one thing that remains the same is that they are all in the hands of God.

The Bible teaches us that God cares for the birds of the air, and we are worth much more than they are. Carolyn and I have witnessed several generations share this bond of love, and it instinctively perpetuates onto the next.

We have experienced it within our own marriage. God’s glue that binds two people together–seeing that love does conquer all. And taking all of that and allowing God to use it in my writing, Jacob and Renae, while fictional, their story is true. People face the very issues they face and overcome them.

With God in the driver seat, there is nothing a relationship cannot overcome. Whether it is a birdbrained squawk, a lapse in judgment, or a character fault, when repentance meets faith and forgiveness, God can do mighty things. He can shine His light into your marriage and make things new again. I won’t lie; it is not easy. It can take years. But when life and love matters to you, then the journey will be worth the trip.

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