A love story of the most unlikely pair. How the childish man-boy won my heart in a surprising way.

A love story of a most unlikely pair

Ruthie Marriage 20 Comments

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A love story of the most unlikely pair. How the childish man-boy won my heart in a surprising way.


Balancing my tray in the campus cafeteria, I turned from the buffet, searching for a seat.  There he was, sitting with a group of my guy friends.  “Come on over and meet Jimmy Gray!”  They motioned to the second-semester student, pulling out a chair across the table from him.

I observed the new guy leaning over a bowl of cereal with his tongue sticking out in the shape of a giant spoon.

To which the boys loaded up with sugar to see how much his tongue could hold.

Apparently, I was supposed to be amazed that this guy could make a bowl shape with his tongue.

Rolling my eyes, I considered walking away, but they insisted I take the offered seat and share the meal, as I often did.

Before Jimmy came along.

This dude.  He was so obnoxious.  His joking antics annoyed me almost to the point of indigestion.

I quickly excused myself and wrote off the childish man-boy.  The man-boy’s feelings were not hurt in the least.

He thought I was a snob.


I wrote off the childish man-boy. He thought I was a snob. Click To Tweet


Dum-dums and compliments

Time passed, and I completed my freshman year of college.

By the following fall semester, Jimmy and I had come to an agreement of sorts and realized neither of us were the person we initially assumed.  I resumed occasionally sitting with the group at meals, enjoying the camaraderie.

One blustery winter day as I trekked the hill to the college post office – grey puffy coat zipped up to my eyeballs (hood and boots notwithstanding), I heard a distant voice:

 “You look nice today, Ruthie!”


I turned to see Jimmy, standing clear at the bottom of the hill, waving with a silly grin on his face.

Chuckling to myself, I waved a thank you, and wondered how in the world he could know I looked nice, seeing as how I was wearing Eskimo attire.

Matter of fact, he complimented me almost every time we came in contact.


He also handed me dum-dums every time he passed my work station in the library…

I retrieved the mail, returned to the warmth of my dorm room, and forgot about it.


Each day he made a point to tell me I looked nice. Even on the ugly days. Click To Tweet


Surprising Snoopy Christmas card

Having completed semester exams, I packed up the old Citation for Christmas break and dashed to the post office as an afterthought.

Inside box number 62 sat a lone piece of mail – a rectangle shaped, white envelope with only my name on the front.

Upon opening, I realized it was a Christmas card.  A Snoopy Christmas card.

It contained a cute Peanuts-style greeting, and then a signed, “Merry Christmas, love, Jimmy”

“Well, huh.”  I muttered, thoughts of surprise and confusion tumbling around in my brain.  “LOVE, Jimmy?!”

All during Christmas break, I pondered that card.  Would I accept the unspoken invitation?

I decided to take a chance.


Voted the 1985 Most Unlikely Pair

A love story of the most unlikely pair. How the childish man-boy won my heart in a surprising way.

Our engagement picture. Purple, anyone?

It wasn’t long after returning from Christmas break that Ruthie and Jimmy were seen frequenting the library, post office, and cafeteria together.

People didn’t see that one coming!

When questioned as to how this came about, the answer was that it had been in the works for a while.

I just didn’t realize it.

This man-boy, this spoon tongued, crazy, out-of-the-box bestower of dum-dums, held the key to my heart.

His very soul held what I had been searching for all along:  a kind, generous spirit, a listening ear, and an incredibly humorous nature.

What I’d searched for in others had come up short.  But with Jimmy, my heart found a home.

Within two weeks of dating, we both knew we would spend the rest of our lives together.


Together we built:

a 31 year marriage

4 incredible children

2 sweet grandchildren

a home of love, laughter, and joy

a pattern of commitment to each other and service to the Lord

Anyone will tell you marriage is not without its difficulties.  We’ve had some knock-down drag-outs in our day. Seasons of fighting for our marriage.  Loss of jobs, loved ones, and a few dreams.

But God brought us through,  and continues to show Himself faithful, showering blessings and joy!

I’m so thankful He sent that man-boy with the spoon-shaped tongue, because on that day, He began the love story of a most unlikely pair.

And so, the story continues…

A love story of the most unlikely pair. How the childish man-boy won my heart in a surprising way.


A love story of a most unlikely pair - our Valentine story. Click To Tweet



5 Secret Strategies to Keep your Marriage thriving

This Christmas! 5 Secret Strategies to keep your marriage thriving!

Photo credit: Jeff Banke/depositphotos.com

Compiled by Jim and I – your free gift for signing up for my Monday Manna newsletter (which by the way is chock full of valuable resources)!

Don’t miss out  – “5 Secret Strategies to keep your marriage thriving” (the sequel to Five Key Strategies to keep your marriage Alive)!

Just Five Key Strategies to keep your marriage Alive)

I hope you enjoy and glean from this peek into our 31-year marriage!





Comments 20

  1. First, thank you for featuring my post from last week! Oh my, I’m a spoiled wife! 🙂

    And I love your story! I was just cracking up. The dum dums and compliments everyday. The Snoopy card. He is persistent! But how perfect and sweet. 🙂

    Thank you for sharing your story – you two are a beautiful and inspiring pair!

    Jessica, Sweet Little Ones

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      You’re welcome – and you deserve to be spoiled!!! I bet you are so good to him!

      Thanks – he is a nut!!! God knew who I needed in my life to balance out my “snobbishness”!!

  2. Beautiful, funny love story, Ruthie! Puts a smile on my face this morning to think back to college days and Dum-Dums. Thanks for writing it. May God continue to bless your marriage and family, friend! You guys are an inspiration!

    Thanks for the feature! I appreciate you. Hope you’re having a good week in Florida.

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  3. Ruthie, your story sounds SO similar. No, my hubby wasn’t obnoxious like yours 🙂 but he was a little strange. (homeschool grad when no one knew what homeschooling was). We were friends before I ever realized there was more. 22 years, 4 children (no grands yet, but someday) a home of love, laughter, and joy, a pattern of commitment to each other and service to the Lord. He’s still my Superman, and I’m still his sexy wife.

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      Homeschooling when homeschool wasn’t “kool”, eh? I remember those days! And I never thought I’d homeschool because those kids seemed to be an enigma – but God had other plans and I found out those kids were cool!

      Thanks for sharing your story, Christy – and I bet it does sound familiar because we’re from the same era. Also 4 kids. Yep, it takes commitment every day, but it’s worth it! 🙂

  4. My husband and I were a truly unlikely pair, too. People were shocked when the heard we were together. But it all works out for the best! Love hearing college stories!

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  5. What a cute and beautiful story, Ruthie. It’s so funny how love snuck up on you and you’ve been hooked ever since. I look forward to hearing more as your love story unfolds.

    Thanks for being such a faithful friend and guide. Love you!

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  6. LOVE your story, Ruthie!! Someday I’ll sit down and share ours 😉 BTW, I remember when purple was the rage…and I STILL love it – LOL!
    I love how you include a quote from your features…sweet idea!
    Thank you so much for hosting…and I hope you’re somewhere warm getting rest and ready for the new “grand”!

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      I’d love to hear yours! And yes – the features quote – I really try to spread the love because they’ve taken the time to stop by!

      Thanks for linking up! It’s not a bit warm here, but at least I’m getting caught up on work!

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