Modern Ruth: Mary

Mary Winkler

Mary is actually a good friend of mine – we went to church together for several years!  I used her story for encouragement during my single years and I pray that it blesses you as well!

Age at Marriage 36

Tell me a little about the journey from meeting to marriage, starting with how you met!

It is amazing how God worked in the details to bring us together!  My roommate of four years moved out and I was heartbroken.  But God had bigger plans.  The same day she moved out, I had a blind date with this guy from Columbus who ended up being my husband!

The backstory was that Mark was a ski club advisor and he met with a friend in Mansfield, my hometown, to go skiing.  The Lord shut the electricity off so he didn’t get to ski!  So instead he went to the friend’s house who happened to be good family friends of mine. They lived next to a former boss of Mark’s, so they went to visit them.  The boss remembered Mark and said, my daughter had this teacher and we thought at the time that you should meet, but that was 10 years ago.  That teacher was me! When my friends heard about it, they picked it up and ran with it!  And guess what, the very same night that he was in Mansfield, my hometown, I was in Columbus at the school where he taught!  God was clearly working in this.

We met and had dinner at the same friends’ house.  But while I liked him, I didn’t think it would go anywhere.  Mark was really into sports and I wasn’t – in fact, that was one of the reasons my roommate had just moved out!  He didn’t say that he would call or mention a second date.  I was surprised to hear from him!  We started going on dates, but each time, two weeks would pass between each date and I never knew if he was going to call or where it was going!  It wasn’t smooth and wonderful like I was hoping.  Meanwhile, he thought everything was going great!

Finally, I said, if I don’t see anything that seems like there’s a future today when we go out, then I’m not dating him anymore. I don’t need a friend in Columbus.  Little did I know, though, that secretly Mark had planned this whole romantic date to go fishing on a pond to show me he was “hooked” on me.  We got engaged that November and married the following June!  Sometimes you just have a few bumps on the road.

What was your biggest struggle as a single person, and what helped you overcome it?

I wondered if I would ever meet the right guy but the good thing was that my mom never worried about it nor gave me any pressure because she knew I would!  I was lucky to be a part of a singles group so I had a lot of single friends.  I had a great job that I loved, I had fun roommates, and a supportive family.  I wondered if I was going to marry, but I wasn’t going to marry someone just to get married.  Either God had someone or He didn’t.

What were the top five qualities that you were looking for in a husband? Now that you are married, do you still think that those are the most important qualities to find in a mate?

Being Christian is number one.  He didn’t have to be handsome, but I had to be attracted to him. I did want him to be six foot and I also wanted him to have more family than I had because I wanted to have lots of family.  I had prayed for those things and it’s amazing that I got them!  I liked that he was really into the Word – he was a Bible teacher – and he liked kids and family was important to him.  I also liked that he was adventuresome.  He’s always trying daredevil things – you name it, he did it!  I’m still after 24 years hearing more stories about things he did!

Now that we’re married, the biggest thing is that he’s a solid Christian.  Being adventuresome dies out with the responsibilities of life, but being a Christian remains.

How did you know he was the right man to marry?

He made sense for me.  He was also a teacher, we had the same values and I had a peace about it.  Whereas none of the other guys I ever had peace about – I would try to make myself see it, I dated one guy off and on for years, and now I am glad that it didn’t work out with him.  Last, I knew Mark was committed – we have never said the “d” word.

Looking back, what did God develop in you during your time of singleness that has blessed you in marriage?

A real trust in Him and to look to Him to meet my needs.  You don’t have to be married for that.  Put God first.  God can move the pieces; it’s not a problem for Him.  Just have a deep, trusting relationship with the Lord that He is all you need. That has carried over well because there are so many things that you have to trust the Lord for – job changes, finances, health, etc.

What advice would you give to ladies who are single later in life?

Really commit it to the Lord and pray about it.  Be busy about doing what God wants you to do.  Don’t become self-centered.  Be serving and giving of yourself and give yourself opportunities to meet lots of different people.  Relationships are important whether you’re married or not.  Let the Lord be the one to bring the right person.


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