Married Up

My brain gets stuck on things and then once again, “fools rush in where angels fear to tread.”

See, I’ve listened to great marriage counselors and speakers who talk about how they “married up”, married someone who was out of their league.

Always, it is a guy.  I’ve never heard a woman say this.  Of course, I’ve also never heard a woman say, “he married up when he got me.”  That would be weird.

Now, as someone who married up, I find myself still having a problem with this.

What is the end result?

OK, so your husband is an idiot.  He’s a loser.  He can’t do anything right.

Oh wait, your wife is perfect.  Walk in shame next to her.

Yeah, I know, overly dramatic, but here’s the problem.  God gave us to each other.  I don’t believe he ever goes, “well, this one is great but I can’t find a good match for them.  Guess I’ll just give them this one.”

I’m pretty sure that when God brings two people together, he’s stoked because he is bringing the best for both people.  Even with all their faults and issues, they are RIGHT for each other.  RIGHT!  Each is blessed to be with the other.  The world is blessed because they are together.

It really is amazing.

So yeah, I married up.  I would never claim to be better than her.  But maybe I should see myself as perfect for her and step it up a bit.

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A Dream I Want To Keep

My sons and I went to see the movie “The Finest Hours” last night.  So, that probably had a strong influence on what I saw.

I have recently been going through ANOTHER crisis of faith.  Angry with God, myself, the world.  What is my purpose?  What difference does it make how I live, what I do?  No one loves me.  No one cares.

I hope that you have no idea what I’m talking about.

For those who do, it’s all lies.

I had this dream that I was the captain of a ship that was sent out to rescue.  Now there were many tucked safely in the hull of the vessel as I brought them peacefully into the harbor.

I looked down to scan the crowd and my eyes fell upon my wife.  She was wet and cold.  Her eyes were filled with tears.  But, they were tears of love and gratitude.  She was proud of me.

I had come for her.  I had rescued her.  And, I had brought her safely home.

I work in a factory.  I play and sing my songs for NO ONE!  I have never realized many of my dreams.  Maybe I never will.

This one I won’t let go of.  This one I would die for.  This one I will live for.

It’s a good dream.

Ever Present

My son left last night, going home to his apartment, and I barely said “goodbye” to him.  I don’t love him any less.  I just wasn’t “there”.   My wife talks to me sometimes and can get so frustrated.  Because, if I am doing anything, she knows I am not “there” for her.

God, and in turn Jesus, promised that He would not leave us.  “I will never leave you or forsake you,” and, “lo, I am with you always,” are quotes from each of them.  But for many of us, it can have a hollow ring to it.  Particularly after we’ve walked a while in Christian circles where patience is lauded as such a virtue but the acquisition of it is so often ridiculed.

I think about the vastness of the universe and can feel so small on God’s priority list.  Why should He, or would He care about my needs?

My grandson was born and I got to hold him for the first time yesterday.  He is so tiny with very few needs.  His older brother is two and vastly more mobile, with greater needs.  Their mom, her husband, my sons, my wife all have needs.  They place demands on my limited resources but I don’t want to just feed them or put a roof over their heads, give them some money (that’s a joke only my family will understand), or great spiritual guidance.  From the newest, least demanding, to the wife who wants all of me, I want to be “there”.

But God is.  When He says He won’t leave, it is a promise to see us, to hear our needs, to be engaged in the conversations we have. And what is vastly more amazing to me, He WANTS to be “there”.  He calls me to be “there” with Him.  He loves me more than I love Him.  His promise, the promise of His presence with me, does not overwhelm Him, bother or irritate Him.

He is my friend.

HEY! I’m married!

In October of 1987 I observed the prettiest smile I had ever seen.  It came attached to a girl.

It was at my sister’s wedding and this particular girl happened to be the sister to the groom.  Couple this with the fact that I was in the military and she was a staunch Mennonite left little doubt that I had no shot at this one.  It didn’t stop me from trying to talk with her and find out more about her.  But, in finding out more, I realized all the more how far out of reach she was.  The reality that she is now my wife doesn’t negate the miracle that she said yes.

The story of how she came to be mine, or I came to be hers, is not the critical issue for this discussion.  And please don’t take this as an intellectual exercise.  How I am shown to be a bitter worshipper is largely seen through the lens of my marriage.  It is essential for us to see our relationship with God mirrored in the relationships we have with all His gifts and none more so than the relationship with our spouse.

Do I trust Him?  Do I trust her?  Am I willing to lay my life down for Him?  Her?  Do I see Him as the enemy, always out to get me?  It is easy and “churchy” to say no.  But how do I treat my wife?  I guarantee you that if you think of your wife as a foe, you are looking at God the same way.  Is she the only resource you look to for your needs and desires?  Is she the passion of your heart?  It is by the provision of our Savior that we have our spouse and she is the answer to our needs, desires and prayers.  We trust Him as we trust in what He has provided.

I’m not equating God with my wife.  And I am saying the same thing to women as I am to men.  And I do understand that abuse happens, infidelity and neglect.  But if I am jaded and bitter because of what humanity has done to me, then I have made my God too small.  “Be of good cheer, I have overcome the world (John 16:33).”

He remains victorious, despite what I see, what I feel, what I hope for.  He is King in every area.  God, look deep into my heart.  Show me where I know the truth but live according to lies.  Lead me to lay down my life, take up my cross and live through Your resurrection.  And with all my heart I pray, let me live this way with her.