When my son Jonathan suggested that I write a book about my life with Jerry, it sounded impossible to me. Privately, I had thought about it, but I didn¹t have the confidence that I could actually do it. Even Jerry had encouraged me to write a book, but I always preferred to stay out of the limelight and let him do the talking. Luckily, my children had more faith in me than I had in myself, and they persuaded me that it was time to tell my side of the story.
If I had known what my future would be like when I married the skinny young man named Jerry Falwell, I probably would have run in the opposite direction. Looking back on our life together, I am glad I didn¹t know the details, because missing out on the wonderful life Jerry and I shared would have been a great tragedy. We were married for nearly 50 years, and I would not trade a single moment of it. Part of the reason I agreed to write the book is so that I could preserve all of those beautiful memories for myself, my family, and the generations to come.
I also wrote the book so that I could set the record straight. There was an image of my husband portrayed in the media over the years that was virtually unrecognizable to me. He was not at all how they painted him. I want the world to get to know the man that I fell in love with, the most generous person I have ever known. He reached out to everyone in love, even when they did not show him kindness in return. Any money that was in his pockets when he left home in the morning was gone when he came home at night, because he enjoyed helping people who needed it. I learned to accept the fact that he would always come home with empty pockets, but he still managed to surprise me sometimes by coming home without his brand new coat or shoes, because he had given those away, too.
Jerry loved people. He was a devoted pastor of Thomas Road Baptist Church and he poured his life into Liberty University. He founded a home for unwed mothers, and a ministry to help people overcome drug and alcohol addiction. He was always interested in politics, and made history with the Moral Majority. Still, regardless of how busy he was, his primary focus was always on me and our family. He was a devoted husband to me, and I could not have asked for a better father for our three wonderful children. When the grandchildren came along, they always knew they could count on their Poppy. He was there for every special event in our lives and family birthdays were his top priority even if it meant canceling a speaking engagement or a trip to the White House. Now that he is gone, those times we spent together are even more treasured.
I hope everyone will open a copy of my book, “Jerry Falwell: His Life and Legacy, and allow me to introduce you to the real Jerry Falwell.”
Read Macel Falwell’s interview with Newsweek’s Lisa Miller.
Macel (Pate) Falwell, wife of the late Jerry Falwell, is an artist, pianist and author of “Jerry Falwell: His Life and Legacy. The Falwells were married in 1958. Rev. Falwell died in 2007. They had three children and eight grandchildren.