I recently wrote a Facebook post that garnered so much attention and positive comment that I thought I should address it further here briefly.
The topic of my post was high praise for my husband of nearly 27 years and I meant every word. (If you are on FB, you can view my post here.)
However, some comments I received seemed to indicate that folks were left with the impression that: 1) we have been unusually blessed in our marriage, or that 2) my husband is a saint, or that 3) I am gifted with words.
I don’t know about any of those things for certain – but to explain a bit – as to the first point – I can say that we have been blessed in the sense that we are aware of the goodness and mercy that God has shown us, and we’ve gladly accepted those gifts because we are deeply aware of our great need. I would like to be quick to add that there have been many circumstances throughout our marriage when either or both of us have lost sight of those gifts and chosen instead to either focus on our own selfish desires or on perceived lack. There have also been circumstances throughout the course of our marriage that have been beyond our control, which have brought great pain and struggle. Our marriage is far from perfect and I would never hold it up as a shining example. But, it is a trophy to m, and hopefully to others, of God’s grace.
As to the second point – Doug is not a saint. Nor am I. Ask our kids. Or even our dog.
As to the third point – I enjoy putting words together in speech and on paper. I don’t know about giftedness; all I do know is that the Bible says that when words are many, sin is not absent. And I have a lot of words. Editing is exceedingly hard for me, so often I don’t do it. Therefore, there are Many Words. You can draw your own conclusions as to how this often ends up for us in marriage as well as for me personally.
I meant every word I wrote about my marriage. They are true words. But, they are words ascribed to a human institution, the strength of which is only as solid as the character and choices of the people within that marriage. Humans are reliably inconsistent, weak, selfish, and stubborn. So there are two things I very much want you to understand.
First, after many years of marriage I’ve discovered the importance of obeying scripture by believing the best about others, and so I choose to view my husband in the best light possible. This isn’t Pollyanna thinking, or pretending, or faking. It is simply that he, for now, is not perfectly consistent at being perfect. We are all new creations in Christ – God has made all things new. But we are learning to live out our new natures in these old bodies with their old desires. We are at war daily over these things and I certainly want my husband to be my ally in this war together, shoulder to shoulder, not his enemy with whom I also have to do combat! My choice of words will dictate whether we are to be allies or enemies – the power of life and death is in the tongue.
A second thing, since our faith is foundational to our marriage, to grumble or complain against my husband is not only putting him in a negative light, worse, it is primarily a sin I commit against God. Just as Adam seemed to be ‘passing the buck’ in the Garden of Eden when questioned by God (“The woman you gave me…” Genesis 3:7), was not really an accusation against Eve, but a complaint against God, for what He’d been given. The thought is some thing like, ‘my life would be: better, easier, sinless, fill-in-the-blank, without this person you’ve given me.’ To grumble against my marriage, about my spouse, is the rejection of our ultimate ally in the war we fight each day! I am in desperate need of God’s mercy and goodness. Apart from choosing to keep in step with Him, I am a self-centered snot that is a thorn in the side of my husband.
So – I hope you read and enjoy my words.
I hope they sometimes make you laugh, because life can be hard and we can all use more laughter.
I hope they never give the impression my life is always sunny, because it isn’t and we can all use more light.
I hope they always make you think about God, and His goodness, and mercy, and grace, because His love for us is everlasting.