By Sarah Kirk

InterVarsity Alumni: Anne and David Grizzle

Proposing to the one you love is a daunting task for anyone. Fortunately for David Grizzle, after Anne had turned him down three times, she asked him to marry her!  Now, after 32 years of marriage, InterVarsity alumni David and Anne reflect on how God continues to call them toward love: toward each other, toward their world, and toward God.

Anne and David were both involved with InterVarsity during college at Harvard. David says, “I came to Harvard with no substantial church or faith background, so I was intrigued by InterVarsity. However, I had come from a harder and rougher background and found the warmth and tenderness of the people in the group off-putting.”

During his senior year, David read Josh McDowell’s Evidence That Demands a Verdict. David says reading this book “enabled me to conclude that the claims of Jesus were more likely true than not. This was all I needed to take the first faltering steps of faith.” From that point on, David became involved in Bible studies with InterVarsity, which continued into his law school graduate studies.

While David initially rejected InterVarsity, Anne came to college looking for a Christian fellowship. On one of her first trips to Harvard, Anne noticed a Logos bookstore (a bookstore chain formerly owned by InterVarsity). She and a friend went in and asked if there were any Christian fellowships at Harvard.

The clerk connected her to Betsy Inskeep, an InterVarsity leader on campus, and that connection began Anne’s long involvement with InterVarsity.  Anne says that “with Christians being such a minority on campus, we gathered at InterVarsity meetings from all denominations, states, and countries so grateful to be bound together with our belief in Jesus.”

A Love Story

David and Anne first crossed paths as undergraduates when they lived in the Winthrop dorm. David recalls: “In many respects, I was the kind of boy that mothers always warn their daughters about, and Anne was the kind of girl I had always dreamed of. We had our first date in April 1975, when I took her to the Boston Ballet. I never really dated anybody else again – or wanted to.”

Anne, however, was not so sure about the relationship. “Since David was not as committed a Christian at the time, I gave him a hard time, being concerned that he loved me more than Jesus. After rejecting several of his expressions of interest in marriage, we broke up,” says Anne. But God had other plans.

While they were apart, “I had one of those few vivid callings from God in prayer to marry David,” says Anne. “So I called him up, and he came down the next day, shocked and delighted that God had spoken so clearly. It was about that time I also became aware that David would follow Jesus whether we were together or not.” Learning to follow Jesus independently of each other has ultimately become the bedrock of their marriage.

Values to Live By

As a married couple, David and Anne made a commitment to two specific values summed up as: “First, a faith in Jesus Christ which is the pillar for each of us individually and together as a couple.  This then leads to our second value as a married couple: a call to service and to involvement in missions,” says Anne.

David agrees: “We believe that God has made us strong and rich in order to serve the weak and poor.  Anne has been vastly more effective than I in serving the weak, but we have both always agreed with the principle of living beneath our means in order to make more money available for missions and to constitute a form of service.  I value excellence, truth, and significance.  This had led us both to lead lives of intense intentionality, constant self-improvement, without secrets.”

These two values shaped Anne and David’s lives after college. After practicing law for six years, David went on to work for the airline business and is now the Chief Counsel of the Federal Aviation Administration. 

Anne received her master’s in social work from Columbia University in New York, and then worked in nearby Harlem with families in crisis. She continues to work as a marriage and family counselor, consults for a mission to the homeless, and wrote three books.  

In addition to InterVarsity (Anne serves on InterVarsity's Board of Trustees), they both are actively involved in many missions organizations such as Amistad Mission, serving abandoned and orphaned children in Bolivia; International Justice Mission, fighting sex trafficking; and  World Vision, offering relief and development around the globe.

32 Years of Marriage

Balancing marriage, work, and family is never easy, but David says, “I’m not sure we are called to balance.  Instead, I think we’re called to sequential periods of imbalance. The key is to know when to move from one imbalance to the other and how to compensate for the areas that suffer when we’re most unbalanced.  St. Paul, Billy Graham, and Mother Teresa were all way out of balance in many ways, and yet they made great contributions to the Kingdom of God.  I’ve never tried to be balanced, but to instead excite my family with the passions that were making me unbalanced, and to make sure that I didn’t get stuck in any one direction of imbalance for too long.”

With each new life stage, imbalance, or direction from God, one thing has always remained clear – God comes first. Even in marriage. “We believe that marriage and family exist to serve God, that it should not be an idol in itself but a means to loving and serving God,” Anne says. “We tend to think of our home as base camp for the many work and ministry adventures we each have been called to pursue.  I believe our adventures of service actually enhance our marriage, giving us grounds for vibrant communication and enjoyment of one another when we gather at home.”

David agrees and says, “You’ll work harder on your marriage if you truly believe it’s the only one you’ll ever have.  It’s easier to stay interested in each other if each of you also stays interesting, which you can only do by having a fertile interior life with God.”