Drew & Jennifer Forster
Jen: We met briefly in the summer of 1993, but really got to know each other when we worked at Camp Wonderland 2 years later. From the start, we were a natural fit. We’re both teachers, and we’re both identical twins. We love Salvation Army camps and working with kids. Our life goals, hopes, and dreams are really aligned.
Drew: One year while we were dating, I was to spend the summer in Chile, so Jen took me to the airport. In those days, you were allowed go all the way to the gate with a departing passenger. But eventually, the time came when Jen had to go. At the Logan Airport international terminal, there was a massive sign that read, “No Reentry.” As I stood in line to fly out, I panicked as I thought, What if Jen could no longer reenter my life after she walked through that door? I almost left the ticket line to run after her. I would have missed my flight. Instead, I boarded the flight to Chile, but spent the summer knowing that I wanted to propose marriage, but, because I was away, I was unable to tell her.
As with many couples, early on in our relationship, we needed to sort through God’s direction for us regarding how we would communicate, where we would live, and what we would do for work. Early in a marriage, you find out that the way your family did things is different from the way your spouse’s family did the same things. Now, as a couple, you have to navigate your way through those differences—at holidays celebrations, during personal conflicts, and when making financial decisions.
So much of my determination as a wife and as a mom is to provide an example for my kids to see and follow. When I was in middle school, my parents divorced. Even at a young age, I admired how hard they worked to make sure that we knew that we were loved—regardless of their situation. My father is outgoing; he’s a dreamer and a romantic. My mother is practical; a realist who keeps things moving. They are coming up on their 50th wedding anniversary. They’ve shown us that two different personalities can create a very successful marriage.
Understanding marriage as the ultimate commitment to another person is a great lesson. It helps us to see that there are seasons in life—major financial decisions, job changes, family illnesses, and even death. Knowing that someone will always be there to support you, to love you, to promise never to leave you—that’s what it’s all about. We are in this together. Marriage has taught me to see situations from someone else’s perspective. As fallen people, we are wired toward selfishness and to see the world through only our eyes. Committing to my wife for my entire life, there is a good obligation to get over being selfish and to consider that not everyone approaches everything the same way.
I often call Drew at work just to share a funny comment one of the kids said or a story about something comical that happened. I don’t want to wait. Laughter is a big part of our family and I want to share those things with him right away. I love that I can still make Jen laugh. When Jen is tired or something hits her just right, she can laugh—I mean absolutely lose it! She can’t control herself. And because Jen likes to be in control, losing it is not her thing.
We have grown in our ability to communicate about our spending habits and our day–to–day financial decisions. When we face financial challenges, our formula is pretty simple. Jen worries like crazy, and I tell her everything will be ok.
At times, I do tend to get stressed for a bit. But then I’m always reminded of the home we live in, that all of our basic necessities are met, and more. Then I ask Jen if she wants me to get a paper route.
As a dad, Drew’s best qualities come out. He is one of the most committed, fun, loving, game–playing, project–building dads around. Jen adores the role of being a mother more than any of the other facets of who she is. She is wired to care. She celebrates moments with our kids and that has helped me to pause from our busy life and be sure not to miss those opportunities.
Every marriage, every couple has struggles. Being honest about your own marriage with trusted friends helps you to understand that imperfections exist. Knowing other people have to work at it as hard as you do really helps. My understanding of the perfect marriage is, you make a decision to commit your life to the person God has chosen for you. Then each and every day, you wake up and commit to being the best spouse, father, and person you can be.
My covenant with Drew is a covenant with God. It’s a lifelong commitment. Always seeking to grow in my walk with God and pursue holiness, looking ahead and not behind. Becoming the person God wants me to be is essential to being the best husband and father I can be.
Marriage is the best investment you can make. Know that you won’t get everything right from the start, give your partner and yourself grace to make mistakes, and try not to repeat them. A couple needs to believe that God placed them together as husband and wife—for life. From there, you do the hard work necessary to honor what He has created, and it is very hard work.
The Lord always brings to mind the good things, the blessings in our life, and all that we have for which to be grateful. And when things aren’t going as planned, we pray and trust the Lord. Each phase of life has its blessings and challenges. I feel as if we’ve had 3 or 4 different versions of our marriage and we still have a long way to go.
It’s all about being in the moment. Right now, we celebrate our child losing a tooth or being in the school play or reading a book with chapters. We have so many celebrations, small and big, to which we look forward.
Our best day together in our first year of marriage couldn’t hold a candle to our best day together now, 17 years in. I trust the same will be true when we are celebrating 50 years!