Candy blogs: Sunday is a milestone for my husband and me. We will celebrate 35 years of marriage. Neither of us can believe it. How could it possibly be? Just yesterday that drummer from high school jazz choir with the big ‘fro and the rust colored cords and jean jacket was kissing me good night at the door for the first time.
He was different from the other guys in high school. He was kind. He didn’t have a dirty mouth. He was a gentleman. And so talented! I knew anyone I was going to marry had to be a musician. Scott was that. He played the drums and sang like a angel.
When we decided to marry, our pastor told us that our commitment to the relationship was more important than our commitment to the other person. He told us this is what real love was … to choose love more than feel love because feelings come and go and can’t be trusted.
“The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?” Jeremiah 17:9
It was this counsel above any advice we were given that has carried us through these last 35 years. When we let our feelings dictate our actions, it can lead to poor choices. When our own happiness is the goal instead of what is best for the relationship, that’s where marriages go wrong. Marriage can’t be based on happiness. When he works too much or doesn’t catch the importance of something I’m involved in, I am unhappy. Does this mean I no longer love him? Of course not. Happiness comes and goes with circumstances, like feelings do. We can’t always control circumstances.
And it’s never just about us. Life decisions we make affect those around us … those we love. Our decisions send ripples out into the future. When you’re married, life become “we”. We becomes more important than me.
If I am choosing love, not always demanding my own way, doing what is best for my spouse because I love him and not just because it will make me happy, I WILL be happy. And I’ll be loved. And 35 years later, it’s more true than ever.
On our wedding day,
I called you “husband” for the first time,
and since then I’ve discovered that word means
much more than I first imagined.
It means “friend” because you are the best one I have.
It means “partner” because we share life’s journey together.
It means “blessing” because you are one of the greatest gifts God has ever given me.
The more years go by,
the more it means to call you “husband”
because the longer we are together,
the more I discover all you are to me.
Who should lead a relationship? An interesting His/Her perspective on relationships … we think you’ll like it!
An interesting His/Her perspective on relationships … we think you’ll like it!
Candy blogs: Our small group is reading and discussing our way through Francis Chan’s book, “Crazy Love”. I haven’t read a book that made me think so much since “The Shack”. And, yes, it’s also controversial. The chapter we just finished took us through the question of: Are you in love with Jesus?
I’m not all the way there with Chan’s description of what that looks like. He describes it like puppy love … like if I’m not literally panting to spend three hours in prayer at 3:00 a.m. then I’m not really in love with Jesus. Now, don’t get me wrong. I am really enjoying the book. I love the thought-provoking, tradition-assaulting questions he poses. This is good for us comfortable American Christians. We need to be roughed up and jolted out of our little Christian bubbles.
But my description of love is far different. My husband and I will celebrate our 35th anniversary this year. We’ve loved each other a long time. I can tell you that we left puppy love way back there on the journey toward mature love. We enjoyed our puppy love, our honeymoon stage. It was a giddy time of joyful discovery and longings. Yes, it was love.
But 35 years later, the giddiness has been replaced with a deep, rich love that came with battle scars. We fought for our love. We learned about the other. We cleaned up after the other. We deferred to the other. We sacrificed for the other. We defended the other. We overlooked faults of the other. We accepted the other. We endured pain from the other.
We huddled together behind our Shield of Faith against the firey darts of the enemy, and stretched out our Sword of the Spirit (God’s mighty word) to engage the enemy in battle for our marriage. The enemy meant to destroy our family. We continued to choose love because of the covenant we both agreed to in the giddy time.
The choosing took us through the giddy time and the hard-fought battles into what we have today. Let me describe it to you.
When I worked in the corporate world, I would often sit seething in my cubicle. I hated my job. I hated the feeling of being trapped in a world that I wasn’t truly suited for. The day, the world, often looked dark to me. But then, suddenly, I would hear my husband’s gentle voice in the lobby. I could hear him! He was here! I waited breathlessly for his face to appear in my cubicle opening. His embrace was so warm and familiar. THIS was my real world, not the angry seething of the days spent in that cubicle.
Did I love my husband less because I hadn’t been literally panting to be with him every minute of the day? No.
A couple of weeks ago, he surprised me with lunch in the park. One of my client’s offices is just at the front of a city park. He went to spread out our delightful picnic while I hurriedly finished my work to a stopping place. As I walked down the sidewalk toward our table, I saw him look for me. And when he saw me, a look of such happiness came over his face. He looked so glad to see me! Even though I’ve lost my giddy-time looks and often frustrate him, I was reminded by the look on his face that I was still his girl. I was overcome with giddy-time love for him in that momet.
Did I love my husband less because I hadn’t been counting down the minutes to when I might see him again? Of course not.
Underneath these moments of puppy love, lies a bedrock of true love. A love where contentment, companionship, security and intimacy live.
In the examples above, my real world invaded my temporary world … I have to function in my temporary world to make a living, to build the Kingdom. But it isn’t where my heart is. My heart is at home … with my husband.
I easily make the connection to being in love with Jesus Christ in the same way. We had our giddy time, our first love. I enjoyed it; I loved it. But as the years went by, and the more time I spent with Jesus, learning who He was and how different my life was for knowing Him, the giddiness gave way to a tested, deep, abiding, love.
There are these delightful moments when the fullness of God’s presence invades my ordinary, temporal life: in corporate worship and music; in experiencing God’s creation; when I am washed over by the reading of God’s word, the Bible; when I finally understand the next bit of God’s Truth; when I am used as God’s vessel to speak into the lives of others.
But do I love Jesus less because I don’t live in a constant state of emotional and mental awareness of God’s presence? No, but I AM in love with Jesus Christ. It doesn’t matter how I feel about my love relationship with Him. It matters what He told me.
Can we neglect our marriage? Can we neglect our faith walk? Of course we can. The key is in the choosing, isn’t it?
Candy blogs: I don’t know about you but I’m a sucker for a sentimental greeting card. I don’t really care for the funny kind. I like the sappy kind, the kind that makes me “leak” or “rain” as my step father-in-law would say. Lately I’ve been going through some “piles” around the house. These piles have been waiting for me a long time. I used to say there would be no piles if I didn’t have to work full time. I found out that isn’t true. Anyway, I digress.
I find that I’m having trouble tossing these beautiful greeting cards. Cards have become a tradition in our little nuclear family. We always put our Christmas cards on the Christmas tree, and we look forward to opening them even more than gifts. My grown kids choose their cards carefully for me; I appreciate that. There is no such thing as too much affirmation for my mother’s heart. My husband painstakingly chooses his cards for me, too. They are always zingers. Everyone waits for me to tear up when I read their card. *chuckling to myself*
Here is a favorite from my husband from Christmas 2009:
Sometimes it seems I can get all wrapped up
in the day to day details of life.
Where to be and when? What to do and how?
It can all start to seem so important.
But then all of a sudden, it will hit me–
you smile at me, and I tingle,
you touch my cheek,
and I melt.
And like magic, I am reminded
of all that ever really matters in life –
having your love and you.
When I was 15 I dreamed of having a man say such things to me. I am living that dream. I would call that a gift, a blessing.
Here is the card I gave to Scott that same year:
You’re such a great husband.
We’ve been married a long time.
Now we speak more of home repair than romance,
candlelight means there’s a power failure,
and a great night in bed usually means
we managed to get some sleep.
But in the midst of the humdrum,
I catch a look at your eyes
and see the eyes of the one I fell in love with.
Life isn’t always fun and exciting …
but you are.
After reading our cards, our eyes lock. All the years … all the moments … all our life is reflected in our eyes. No words are needed. The cards provided an opportunity to reflect on and communicate what’s always in our hearts.
I guess I’ll toss these two greeting cards now. I am reminded of what makes my husband feel loved. I will again be sure there is a hot supper and a cold drink waiting for him when he gets home from work today.
In the midst of our busyness, a greeting card can be a simple and inexpensive gift of making time stand still, even for a moment. Is there something to celebrate? Is there misunderstanding or tension or sorrow? Has a goal been reached? Or maybe you’re just feeling warm and fuzzy. A greeting card can be the grand total of what you want to communicate or it can be the starting point of a needed conversation that is too awkward to start on your own.
Tossing and remembering and …