A Marriage to Remember: Part 1
My in-laws celebrated their 10th + 40th anniversary this month!
You may be a little confused. Doesn’t that make it their 50th?
No. And at the same time, yes.
My father and mother-in-law have one of my favorite marriage testimonies, and I am SO EXCITED to share it with you all! I’m going to break it in to two parts, because it’s too good to abbreviate for just one. This account was written for their vow renewal ceremony, and shared with Doug and Pam’s permission.
In the summer of 1968 Doug Brown and Pam Carrie met for the first time in a small mountain town called Featherville, ID. Their families owned rival businesses across the street from each other. The Brown family ran Wagontown Lodge and the Carrie’s ran Paradise Lodge (which is still in business today, now as Trinity Hot Springs). Pam was actually on a date with the game warden when she came into Wagontown’s café and saw Doug, who was working the counter while holding his baby girl, 9 month old Jamie.
Only a couple months before, nineteen-year-old Pam had given her newborn baby girl up for adoption. Seeing the baby girl in Doug’s arms captured her attention and touched her grieving heart. Meanwhile, Doug’s mother noticed Pam and pulling him aside, told him to get to know that girl (despite her being on a date). His mom had never pointed out a girl to him before, so Doug’s curiosity was peaked and he went over and managed to work his way in.
Doug and Jamie’s mother were no longer together at the time, and Doug and Pam liked each other enough to keep in touch through letters for the next year while Pam was in college in California and Doug was stationed at the San Diego Naval base. When they both returned to Featherville the following summer, Doug had been discharged from the Navy and was divorced, free to pursue Pam. They dated all of three weeks in June of 1969 before eloping to Boise for a courthouse wedding.
Early on in their marriage, Doug convinced Pam that they did not want any children, and he underwent a vasectomy. They spent a few years racing snowmobiles, riding dirt bikes, water skiing, and fishing in the beautiful mountains of Idaho before moving to Portland in 1975. They wanted to get away from the watchful eyes of family and start fresh living life how they pleased, with no one to hinder them. In Portland, they spent their time partying and living to get high, trying to fill the empty places in their hearts with drugs and alcohol. Their idea of marriage followed the popular opinion of the time that has remained the current theme of the world: as long as you are feeling in love, you should stay married. Sadly, like many couples, they had no idea what it really meant to be in love and committed to someone for life.
Eventually, their feelings for each other died away, and they saw no reason to remain together. They separated, remaining friends and hanging out with the same crowd, until November, 1978, when they divorced after nine and a half years of marriage.
After the divorce, Pam went back to Idaho but Doug remained in Portland. A close friend of his, a man named Don McLain, boldly informed him that he needed Jesus. Miraculously, the Lord prepared and convicted his heart to receive the Gospel, and Doug surrendered to the Lord on November 13th, 1978.
Immediately, he was filled with a passion for God and a hunger for His word. Don and his church actively took on the role of discipleship, and Don told Doug something that God would use to change the trajectory of his life. Don said that according to the Bible, God did not honor his and Pam’s divorce.
Upon hearing that, Doug decided there was only one thing to do. As a baby believer who had so much to learn, he wanted nothing more than to obey God and follow His will. He was going to track Pam down and tell her they needed to reconcile.
Little did he know that she was in a new relationship – one that she hoped would last, because she was pregnant with her boyfriend’s baby.
To be continued next week….
Written by Natalya Brown.