MARCH 21

One Man’s Number One Love

Let your fountain be blessed, and rejoice in the wife of your youth. PROVERBS 5:18

He coached his UCLA Bruins to 10 NCAA basketball titles—including 7 in a row. At one point, his streak of consecutive victories stretched to 88 games, nearly double the amount—even today—of the next coach on the list. Four undefeated seasons. Nineteen conference championships. An overall winning percentage
of .813, spanning a career of more than 40 years. Only one losing season in all— his first year in coaching—with the Dayton (Kentucky) High School “Green Devils” in 1934.

And only one wife, for 53 years, until her death on this date in 1985. But for a man of John Wooden’s stature and character, that’s not where the numbers end. According to a Sports Illustrated article, Coach Wooden sits down every month on the twenty-first and writes his wife, Nellie, a simple love note. He tells her how much he misses her. He tells her what her life and love always meant to him. He tells her he can’t wait to see her again. Then he goes to a stack of other love letters, now numbering in the hundreds, resting on her pillow and tied with a yellow ribbon. He adds the new one to the growing collection and goes to sleep on his side of the bed, drawing the same bedspread over him that once warmed the two of them together. This is a man who understands that “winning scores and great reputations are meaningless in the eyes of the Lord, because He knows what we really are, and that is all that matters.” So put “devoted husband” above John Wooden’s long list of accolades as greatest coach of all time, because that’s who he really is.

DISCUSS
How have you seen devoted love lived out in others who’ve been married for more than 40 or 50 years? In what ways do you plan and promise to show devoted love to each other into your older years?

PRAY
Pray for commitment that goes the distance and for eyes that never grow dim to what God has given you in the gift of your spouse.

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