I just celebrated 18 years of marriage with my precious husband and best friend, Les. I am so honored that Les chose me to share his life and his name, and I can't imagine doing that with anyone else. I wish I could say that was always true, but we've had quite the bumpy ride throughout our marriage -- celebrating and rejoicing, crying and shouting...It's not always been easy trying to carve out a life that is a shared identity when fighting against our own individual selfishness and fleshly cries.
Though the road has seemed to take many winding and twisting turns and curves along the way to this place, today, we have somehow -- by God's grace alone! -- managed to weather a number of storms. The loss of two babies, a mother (or for me, mother-in-law), two of my grandparents. Financial failure. A child in trouble. What seemed at the time to be almost insurmountable peaks we have conquered -- together -- in many ways. I think that is because we still clung to our vows and promises inasmuch as we could or even dared to at times when things were rough, and God blessed that determination to not give up and increased our love for one another. Love is a choice, and God can take that love and commitment and bless it abundantly.
I know that there were many times in the past when Les needed encouragement but I was too blind to see and he was too proud to spell it out so I could provide that encouragement. And vice versa too. Because we are humans, with a fallen sin nature, sometimes it takes a depth of despair in the middle of a crisis for us to admit to ourselves and our spouse that we need some strength beyond our own. We can cling to God in those difficult times, but it's also in those valleys that we can learn to cling to one another. "Two are better than one...a threefold cord is not quickly broken." ~ Ecclesiastes 4:9, 12. Sometimes in this state of sin and pride and flesh, we easily forget that we were created to need one another. God gave woman to man so he would not be alone. As a helpmeet. The intimate relationship and bond between a husband and a wife goes far beyond the physical. We are to need one another, support one another, love one another.
I can look back and see many times where I was not the blessing my husband required. Not respectful, though not necessarily always meaning to be disrespectful. Not helpful, though not always meaning to be more of a burden than a help. The saying goes "The road to hell is paved with good intentions." I have found that there are times I didn't intend to do just the opposite of what was needed or required. In fact, I'd venture to guess there were times that, in the middle of my own selfishness, I just did not see it, or maybe I didn't want to see it. Or maybe I saw it, but my own needs surpassed those of my husband in my eyes, so I set his aside. Well -- I am making it my intention this year to be a blessing, not a curse. God, the wonderful and merciful Father who gives abundant love and forgiveness, has restored us - our marriage has truly weathered some terrible tempests and yet we are still standing, I believe because we built on that Foundation which is wholly unshakeable -- God indeed in our midst.
I want to be the kind of wife Les should have had all along. I am trying to be a blessing to the wonderful man God put in my life, the husband who has more integrity and compassion than anyone I've ever met, who has an excellant work ethic, who has morals and values that stem from his belief in the One True God. I hope I am able to be more than what he needs or expects, both now and every day, and that I am able to crucify my fleshly self in living out a life that truly ministers to him.