In 1999 I helped out my good friend Ruth Harris with an academic assignment and in thanks she and her husband, another good friend Reuben, took me out to dinner. I recall that the night was good for food – especially as they were paying and it was particularly good for the company as Ruth and Reuben make for good dinner company. Among the various conversation pieces that made the night so memorable came the issue of marriage. Now I’ve always felt kind of awkward when it came to that subject as I have when it came to women in general anyway. Awkward because as an outsider – despite being accepted in various circles – I didn’t feel that I belonged to a group to feel confident about developing relationships with women with a purpose beyond casual friendship. What also didn’t help was the lack of options open to me.
So when asked about the qualities of my wife, I went into surface mode mostly paying glib attention to same faith and preferably same church. I then outlined what I thought would be a good wife for me. She would have to be younger, for sure, maybe 5 years younger just so that we both knew who the man was. She would definitely need to be well blessed in the breast department (might as well be real with my friends, eh?). Most importantly of all she could not be Jamaican. No chance. No way on God’s green earth was I marrying a Jamaican woman. Can you imagine the trauma of dealing with someone with an attitude like that – the mouth, the pride, the stubbornness, the headaches … no chance. I’d be better off taking my chances with at least an anglicised black woman – if she had to be black, cos I wasn’t too bothered about that either.
Unbeknownst to me, my mother was serious about praying for her son, for she was seriously concerned that her son would bring home a white girl (God alone knows the heart attack she may have suffered had I introduced a lady of Oriental or Indian look – hey forgive her, I’m sure there’s issues that we’d confess to being far from God’s ideal).
It was barely four months after that dinner where Christopher Dryden’s unmovable statutes concerning the future Mrs Christopher Dryden were outlined. Now in Stoke-on-Trent God introduced Authrine to me and it was not a case of love at first sight, but I was definitely interested in developing a friendship with this woman. As that friendship grew I became aware of a heartache for her that lead me to want to see the very best for her. The characteristics of my wife were indeed beyond all that I ever thought about in a wife – which is something when you consider the kind of thinker that I am.
She’s such a spiritually sensitive aware woman, who is a hard worker and industrious to the maximum. She’s dogged and diligent in a given task and is loyalty incarnated. Such is her integrity and honesty that it has appealed to people wherever she’s gone and her character is so infectious you have to be strong to ignore her. She compliments me well in so many areas and I know that God has given me someone for whom I am so grateful it brings me to tears.
Our married life for these four years has been tumultuous and has allowed me to realise things about myself that I could never have known otherwise. I’ve experienced depths of despair and depression I never thought possible, I’ve done things that I regret bitterly and caused more pain to this woman of God than really should be allowed. Yet God has seen it fit to develop in this woman a heart of grace, love, care and tenacious devotion at the very least to the covenant she has made with God to be with this man. Now of course there are the small issues of the fact that she’s seven years older than me, is not necessarily the buxom babe I had envisaged and actually didn’t come from the same church as my own which definitely came with serious challenges of their own. Then of course there's the issue of her being Jamaican - if that doesn't show God has a sense of humour, I don't know what does. (By the way it doesn't mean I was wrong on everything when it comes to Jamaican women! There goes my invite to Jamaica.) In spite of all this God has indeed shown me how the power that works within me can grant me a lot more than even my thoughts could conceive and I would have it no other way as I am satisfied with the bride of my life sent from the Father Himself.
So I give God thanks for my wife – the supreme queen the one Authrine.
For His Name Sake
da man cd