Today we’re particularly excited to talk with our friend Sandy Wise—we’ve wanted to have her on the podcast since we started! Sandy and her husband Donald were married for 40 years before he went to heaven 23 months ago. We (Ted and Nancie) met them in 1998 working at summer camps and at North Point Church. We’re honored to have her join us.
Tell us how you and Donald met.
I was in a singing group at First Baptist Atlanta. Donald came to visit friends and I was singing on stage. I kept looking out and making eye contact with him. Afterwards someone came up and introduced us. We started dating that week and we’ve been dating ever since!
So what were your newlywed years like?
We left to go to Southwestern Seminary less than a year after we got married. It was 16 hours away from all our family, which I think was probably really healthy for us. Those first years of being in school were a whirlwind for us.
How did becoming parents change your marriage?
We were married in 1977 and our first son was born in 1980. None of our children were planned—they were all surprises. We were still in seminary when we had Nathan. Life just happens and you go for it knowing that God has it in control anyway. So we had Nathan, and I went to the doctor a few months later and found out we were pregnant with our second. Seven years later, we had our daughter Rebecca.
How did parenting multiple kids impact your marriage?
Through this whole journey of life, you have to have community. We have always surrounded ourselves with people who were ahead of us who could help mentor us down the road.
How did you prepare your kids for marriage?
I actually asked my kids this. Rachel and Nathan have been married 17 years, and Rebecca has been married for seven. They said:
- -Not to settle for just anything, but to seek out God’s will
- -You always told us we were on the same team
- -You prayed with us a lot
- -You led by example
What was it like to have sons-in-law and a daughter in-law for the first time?
My daughter-in-law is like another daughter to me. I was very pushy at first; I thought she needed another mother. My son had to let me know that I was trying a little too hard, and I had to realize they were making their own family.
Tell us about the day you found out Donald had cancer.
Rebecca got married in May and we were empty nesters! A few days before Christmas, Donald went in for a routine test. While he was still asleep, the doctor came and told me he thought it was cancer. He went for more tests, and they called us two days after Christmas to let us know it was stage four cancer. He started chemo very quickly after that.
Tell us about the journey of his cancer and treatment.
Donald and I always knew that God wouldn’t put anything in our path that He hadn’t already prepared for us. I look back now and I’m so thankful God chose me to walk this journey. We did lots of research those first few months, and we would also wake up every day and ask each other “what is our mission today?” God was really using Donald, everyone knew him on the chemo floor.
What would you say to people who have a spouse who is sick or struggling physically?
For us, with it being a terminal illness, we wanted to do normal. When he was up for it, Donald would get up, get dressed and we’d go down to the church. If I could say anything to someone walking a terminal illness, it’s to do normal. Whatever that takes. You also do a lot of research, because you’re the advocate for your spouse. You see them every day and you can help stand up for them.
One of the things Donald and I said from day one is #GodsGotThis. As you walk your journey, know that it was chosen for you by Him. And if it was, then He’s got it.
Well, this is only the start of our time with Sandy. We’ll actually have Sandy back for next week’s episode for a whole different topic, so be sure not to miss that. If you want to follow Sandy, you can follow her on Facebook. You can also check out the book Sandy mentions – Don’t Waste Your Cancer.
Thanks for joining us for the Married People Podcast. We hope you’ll subscribe to the podcast on iTunes and leave a review – they help us make the podcast better.
Visit us on Facebook or Instagram. If you want more resources, check out Your Best Us and our blog at MarriedPeople.org. Finally, we hope you’ll join us for next week’s episode as we continue the conversation with Sandy.