An obstacle we hadn’t seen before

Fort Lewis, Wash
May 4, 1942

My Darling:

What do you think? I got a letter from the sweetest girl in the world today! You don’t know how much of a thrill it is to get a letter from you. And it was such a nice long letter, too.

The picture, I repeat, is super. I’ve shown it to nearly everyone in the 115th, and have made them all jealous. It’s been years since last I saw you. Wish we were together tonight, there’s so much I want to say to you. Things I’ve told you before, but never can seem to say often enough or in the right words to convey the full extent of my feelings. At least, that’s how it seems to me.

I sure hope you can get up here or that I can get enough time off so that I can get down to Salem or reasonably near there so that we could be together.

Sweetheart, when you speak of working on our pillowslips, the warmest thrill seems to run through me. I can’t imagine anything which would be more fun than to be with you, shopping and looking for things with which to furnish our new home.

All I have heard from home is the local gossip, what the family is doing, who is my sister’s current boy friend, etc. Donna sure likes Sambo, the Easter rabbit we sent her. Mom always asks about our plans and she approves of everything so far. She’s quite all right, Mom is. She and I always manage to get along with each other. My Dad and I are always growling at each other, but it’s only because we both like to growl. My folks always kept pretty strict supervision over me, but they’ve never been unreasonable with me, and I usually did things pretty much my own way, providing I wasn’t too much out of line.

As far as furloughs are concerned, there certainly aren’t any being handed out around this outfit except in cases of sickness in the family or something of that sort We can always hope for something better, though.

Darling, you mentioned the evening you spent alone. The evenings I spent alone with you have been the happiest times in my life. Guess we’ll never know how many miles we covered on foot, will we? And then the evenings we just stayed in the house, talking and dreaming, and generally enjoying just being together. Those were the days, or I should say, nights. I really felt so contented just to be with you, to speak to you. To tell you how much I love you. Two people who so thoroughly enjoy each other’s company can feel that many of the problems usually faced in married life are overcome before they ever get a chance to materialize. I really deep down in my heart, believe that we can smooth out our religious differences without any difficulty. Here’s what I want you to do, if you will, Marjorie, darling. Please go to your own pastor, tell him what the situation is. Ask him to advise you. Marjorie, I really believe that people who make a study of religion, who really know religion, and who are the least bit broad-minded on the subject of religion, such as a pastor of a church as large and as widespread as yours, are the people we should consult. I intend to take up the matter with a priest at the earliest possible moment. Both your family and mine are bound to be a bit one-sided in their judgement of the situation which you and I are facing. I feel that we both love each other too much to let religion, or I should say difference in religion, come between us, if we settle the matter once and for all before we marry. We both know that certain members of any religion are very narrow-minded concerning any other religion. You and I are two young, normally intelligent human beings, very much in love with each other. We fell in love so quickly, so overwhelmingly, that we let ourselves be blinded temporarily to anything but our own affections. Now we have come to an obstacle we hadn’t seen before. I believe that you and I can, and will, be happy together, no matter how we decide to conduct our religious affairs, but to doubly insure our happiness, I believe that we should do all in our power to iron the whole thing out before we step into marriage. After all marriage is the most serious thing any person ever does. While a minister or a priest devotes his life to saving souls, people who marry devote their lives to serving God by bringing forth children, and educating them to the purpose that they may in turn grow up, find mates, and bring forth other children, and so on. Ministers of the gospel feel the call from God to guide us, to teach us to conduct ourselves properly before God, to see that our children and grandchildren are reared in such a manner as to make them pleasing to God.

It seems that I rather got off on the well-known tangent there, but please ask your pastor to help us, as I shall mine. Please also, as I do, ask God for his guidance, and we needn’t worry about our future happiness. However we decide to do in the matter, I believe will be the right way to do it. We shall overcome this obstacle which seems to loom so large before us at the present time. Asking you to marry me is the most serious thing I have ever done, to date. Marrying you will be our next serious step, so let’s be sure we’re stepping on the right foot to begin with. I want to make you happy, remember that. Next, I want happiness myself. The two go hand in hand. We must both be happy if either of us is to be so. Our respective pastors are ordained to serve God by, among other things, helping people such as you and I. Let’s take advantage of their services. Don’t you think I’m right when I say that?

I must close now, darling. Please don’t ever feel that by opening the subject of our difference in religion has caused, or will ever cause me to love you any less. To keep our love constant, we must always be frank with each other. We must always approach our mutual problems with honesty and with an open mind, thinking not only of ourselves, but also of our families and others who love us and want us to be happy. Your being frank and outspoken in the matter only makes me love you more. I believe that after we consult God indirectly through our respective pastors, and directly, through our prayers, that He will guide us, and we shall have removed the only obstacle of any importance we have yet faced.

I love you more than I can ever say. The way I have written you in this letter should prove that to you, because I’ve never known anyone with whom I’ve discussed such a subject. Please continue to pray for us, as I shall.

Write again soon, darling.

All my love, forever
Jim

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