Like many Americans, I was greatly saddened at the news of Nancy Reagan’s death. The passing of First Lady Nancy Reagan marked the end of an era. She was a woman of great class, strength, and dignity. I’ve been a student of presidential politics for the past 14 years. My favorite president was Ronald Reagan. I loved his optimism, communication ability, and genuine sincerity to do what was best for America. I have also always admired the Reagan’s marriage.
Below are a couple things that can (in a snapshot) describe what I’ve observed from Ronald and Nancy Reagan’s marriage. I think these points are very important to apply in my own marriage with Tracy.
Ronald and Nancy Reagan were incredibly affectionate towards one another. They were genuinely head over heels in love. It was a real life Hollywood love story. If you look at pictures in biographical books, magazines, and the web of Ronald and Nancy Reagan, you can almost feel the deep romanticism of the couple. Their love was widely covered and admired by the national media and the American people during his public life.
I’m not great at this, but I want to spend the rest of my life pouring out affection towards Tracy. Life can go by so fast. It can be so easy to take moments for granted; to let times where I should reach out and connect drift away because of inattention. I pray that more often than not, I would slow down and just watch her; gaze into her eyes and fall in love with her all over again. I want to be a husband that consistently showers his wife with affection. I hope I can follow in President Reagan’s example. I think this takes great intentionalitiy and selflessness. Tracy is an amazing woman and deserves to know through words, attitude, and action how much she means to me.
Nancy Reagan was no Hillary Clinton when it came to assisting her husband during policy matters in the White House years, but sources close to the Reagans tell that she was his most trusted confidante. Despite the rigors and complexities of the presidency, Ronald Reagan always had a compassionate ear and an insightful voice in his wife. Nancy Reagan was a fierce protector of her husband and was invaluable to him on the campaign trail, speeches, and meetings with foreign dignitaries.
I can remember the first time I “joined forces” with Tracy Briscoe. We were greeters together in the spring and summer of 2004 at our church’s old warehouse building. I’ll never forget the energy I felt around her as a 19-year-old college student. I just wanted to be around her. I loved her optimism and energy.
When I moved back to Jacksonville in 2011, I had the opportunity to work closely with Tracy as we led the young professional’s ministry together. From the moment I got this job, Tracy has been my biggest cheerleader. I was curious to see how she would react to my leadership when I first moved back here, but I was astounded by the support and encouragement she gave me. I pray that we would be on a grand mission together for the rest of our lives. No matter where the journey of life takes us, my hope is that she would be at my side in heart and soul.
During his presidency, President Reagan, constantly withdrew to his “weekend White House,” Rancho del Cielo in the Santa Barbara Hills of California. He once said, “this is the place where I restore myself.” As important as his ranch was to his rejuvenation, historians generally agree that his wife Nancy played a substantial role in grounding and helping him to recharge his batteries.
As much as I love the serenity and solitude of the Appalachian Mountains, I don’t believe I could fully recharge without the presence of my wife. I’m a pretty gregarious, glad-handing guy. I truly enjoy being around people. But truthfully, I have very few intimate relationships in my life. I often retreat to my own thoughts, dreams, and feelings. It’s taken us time, but Tracy has developed an uncanny ability to break through the callousness in my heart and truly know what is going on in my soul. She plays such a key role in my restoration. I think a lot of marriages struggle because many men lack the emotional maturity and sensitivity to connect with their wives. It can take effort some times to let Tracy into the inner recesses of my soul, but it’s always worth it.
In 1994, doctors at the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota diagnosed President Reagan with all Alzheimer’s disease. Nancy Reagan was always at his side during his slow and steady decline. Michael Deaver, a former assistant to President Reagan wrote, “and if Ronald Ragan is playing this final act alone, he still has the one person beside him who he most wants and needs to be there, the one person who will never leave him. At night, Nancy told me, Reagan still reaches out in silence to see if his beloved wife is next to him. She always is.”
Devotion can be defined as a feeling of strong love and loyalty. There are many things I want to do with my life. There are mountains that loom in the distance, beckoning me to come and climb. No matter what I achieve in this life, besides being a passionate follower of my king Jesus, I can think of nothing greater than being solely loyal in every aspect of my being to Tracy Briscoe.
I’m Harold Dorrell Briscoe. Thanks for reading.