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Youth Messenger Online Edition


Reflections . . . 45 Years Later
Josip Zic, Sr.

Some time ago I received a phone call from a friend and during the conversation she asked me to write about my courtship over four decades ago. Accepting the challenge, I reflected down memory lane and remembered it was the year 1973 when I was visiting my homeland in Croatia for the first time after an absence of 6 years. I was 25 years old at the time, and on this trip I was hoping to find a nice young lady with whom I could share the rest of my life. In Christian relationships, we definitely need to pray and ask the Lord to put us together with the right person. However, one cannot just pray, sit down and wait, hoping that the right one will come along. We are told that the good Lord will not do for us that which we can do for ourselves.

As I told my father of my hopes and plans of meeting a nice Christian lady whom I could court and eventually marry, he suggested that we first visit the island of his birth which was on the Adriatic Sea. On the way there, we stopped to spend the Sabbath in Rijeka which was a city on the shores of the Adriatic. We arrived on Friday and visited a brother’s home where a family was vacationing. There I met for the first time Vesna, a young lady who was busy in the kitchen preparing food for the Sabbath. Since it was summertime, there were other visitors from our church vacationing in that city, and they also came to the services on the Sabbath. There were several girls at church that Sabbath, and in the afternoon we all went for a walk and got better acquainted.

After the close of the Sabbath, one brother wanted to go for a ride in the city, and he asked another sister, Vesna, and myself to come along. We accepted the invitation and spent a beautiful evening walking along the shore of the Adriatic Sea.

Sunday was a clear but a windy day, and we visited the same brother we met on Friday. I asked Vesna, the girl I met on Friday, if she would like to go for a walk with me around the port of the city. She agreed, and we had a lovely walk around the harbor watching the passengers embarking ships that were sailing to the different islands, while others were disembarking the ships.

There is a hill on the side of that city, on top of which stands an old citadel from Roman times, and we decided to go there. From there we could see the beautiful Adriatic Sea and the scattered islands nearby. In the middle of that view was this beautiful girl by my side and the thought came to me, “It would be great if I could spend the rest of my life with her.” So then and there I asked Vesna, “Will you marry me?” It was a few days before her 18th birthday and she replied that she needed to talk to her father about it. I respected her decision. When she spoke to her father, he replied that it would be good to consult her mother who at the time was back home in the city of Sarajevo.

The dictionary defines courtship as a period of time during which a couple develops a romantic relationship with a view of marriage. My courtship didn’t quite fit that definition because it didn’t last that long. I did not court my wife for more than 10 days from the time we became acquainted and until we were married. But I can assure you, dear youth, that even today after 45 years I am still courting her. Our courtship has never stopped. Do you know what is our secret for a successful happy marriage?Here’s the blueprint:

“Blessed is every one that feareth the Lord; that walketh in his ways.  For thou shalt eat the labour of thine hands: happy shalt thou be, and it shall be well with thee. Thy wife shall be as a fruitful vine by the sides of thine house: thy children like olive plants round about thy table. Behold, that thus shall the man be blessed that feareth the Lord. The Lord shall bless thee out of Zion: and thou shalt see the good of Jerusalem all the days of thy life. Yea, thou shalt see thy children’s children, and peace upon Israel” (Psalm 128:1-6).

People who hear our story are amazed that we are still happily married 45 years later. But following God’s plan in relationships brings success. It’s guaranteed! Both Vesna and I love and fear the Lord. We work as a team and are kind and helpful to each other. From the day I met Vesna preparing food on that Friday until today, she has been an excellent cook, a loving wife, mother and grandmother, a diligent worker, and a successful businesswoman. Vesna is my friend. Sure, we’ve had some challenges, but with God’s help, there’s nothing that He can’t help us fix. The Lord had blessed us with two sons who are walking in the way of the Lord, and they also are happily married. And the frosting on the cake is the three grandchildren God gave us. So, as I read Psalm 128, I can truly say that God has blessed us abundantly, and fulfilled every one of His promises written there, and He WANTS to do that for you also.*

*I encourage you to follow the courtship guidelines given in these articles and take your time to go through the courtship process. Our short courtship was unusual, but it does show that with God’s help, we can make our marriages successful even when they don’t follow the guidelines perfectly.