Posts Tagged ‘Marriage

11
Jul
09

Naivety in Disguise

She was a little high school cheerleader when we first met. I was about to trust her with the life of my child for about eight hours. My firstborn survived the eight hours and I found myself inviting this little cheerleader in more and more often. Soon I had two children and she had graduated high school. Before I knew it, my two children and I were going to her college graduation. Then she left to go to grad school. Then, in an excited instant message, we got the news…”I’m getting married!”

Unlike her peers, this precious pom-pom shaker had never really dated, something I found strange because she was so adorable. News of an upcoming marriage was somewhat startling. Over the years, though, I had learned to trust this girl with more than my children. She grew into a pillar of strength and wisdom. I knew that this man she met must be something special if she was willing to offer her life to him. Then I got the rest of the story, the kind of story that reminds us what is good and what is right.

On Easter, she was cooking dinner alone for 12 friends and said that she missed Mark and all the good times they used to have in the kitchen. I immediately panicked, concerned that this man had broken her precious heart. I was completely wrong. “We have decided that we cannot be alone until the wedding,” she confided. I will paraphrase and say that she explained by saying they could no longer keep their hands off each other, so they would not be alone until they become husband and wife. Both of these young people had made a commitment years ago to remain chaste until marriage and they fully intended to honor each other in that.

Oddly, abstinence has become controvercial over the years. Even more oddly, we parents, educators, and authority figures have all but given up the fight. When did something so precious as pure love become not worth fighting for?

I was in no way chaste before becoming a wife and I do not feel hypocritical for wanting better for this generation. The pain and suffering wrought by my previous escapades still shows up today. Most recently when the boy I handed my virginity to showed up as a potential FaceBook friend and he is really a stranger to me – a stranger who has had the privilege of seeing me naked. My entire life changed my first year in college when I was kissing the man of my dreams. After being together for years, he was the one I was sure I would marry and he definitely had my heart. Until this moment. Wrapped in each other, he whispered, “I wish I were first. I wish you hadn’t have done this already.” I knew what I had lost at that very moment. Everything. He and I did not get married. From that very moment I knew that no matter how much he loved me, he would always see me differently than I looked at him.

Luckily, I was still able to marry a wonderful man, but there are scars from this previous life. We essentially married into an adulterous situation. There was jealousy. There was fear. There were comparisons and threats. Hovering over all of this was a shaky level of commitment. Mark and Cassie have already done more to prove their commitment for each other than my husband and I had after 10 years of marriage. They have proven that they are willing to sacrifice for the good of their family, even now when it only numbers the two of them. These two have shown that they can work through the very first issue a married couple faces with level heads and loving motivation. That sets a high standard for the care of a marriage and immediately elevates it to the priority it should be.

My daughter has taken a purity pledge and through her I have seen aspects of this that had never even occurred to me. It is a display of lifetime commitment to a marriage that has not yet begun. It is respect for a spouse who has not yet arrived on scene. Perhaps most interesting and selfless is the concern it shows for others. It is concern for the future wives of discarded boyfriends, a statement that she wants them to have the same opportunity for purity that she has reserved for herself. I had never considered abstinence as a way to show deference to one’s peers, but it most definitely is. It is a more subtle version of not taking a bite out of every Hershey Bar at the checkout line so the person who is willing to sacrifice the .68 can have the whole thing.

This is good. When did we forget what is good and decide to settle for less so easily? I do not want my daughters to be naive about sex. I don’t think that they are. I know that they are not, in fact. But I really don’t want them to be naive about life. Unfortunately, nobody would have called the teenaged version of me naive. I daresay, though, that I most definitely was.

Oh – and congratulations to Mark and Cassie on not only the new life you began today, but on the profound blessing you have managed to offer to one another.

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05
Apr
09

Trusting God’s Eyes

This is new. I am actually writing from church. My husband gave me this fabulous little gadget – a computer the size and strength of my Bible. Interesting. My husband. He has made but a few appearances on these pages. Right now, I am dealing with some frustration over him. Same argument, same results, same period of silence. In these times, I like to sit alone and wonder why in the world I married such a jerk. Unfortunately, that’s really what I do. It’s self-defeating, but here I am.

So I ask God. What do you see in this man? He responds. I love a God that responds. He reminds me of the many strengths this man has. God gave me a man uniquely suited to my needs. The issue is whether or not I can trust Him.

So often we fail to see our own needs and even more often, we fail to see those needs fulfilled. It is when we question that fulfillment that we contemplate needs. Those are dangerous moments where we become self-centered and lose the perspective necessary to our happiness and, I guess, productivity. Really, when we are unhappy, it is all to easy to give in to a night on the couch in front of the History Channel. Or a full bottle of wine. Or a day at the mall. We all know where we go when we’re unhappy and it is not a place of growth or productivity.

We have to trust. Trust is an extreme concept, really. To fully trust allows focus on things other than ourselves. When we place trust in the Lord, we understand that even though it makes NO SENSE, it is good. Then we don’t have to be angry or harbor resentment, or look out for our own interests. All that is covered.

This week I had to discipline my daughter. She is very very grounded. Her first response was, “it isn’t even a big deal, I don’t see why you are so upset.” I surprised myself by asking her if she understands that I see where she is right now and I want the very best for her. Nothing else, just the best, and that is where my motivation comes from.

That is our relationship with God. He wants what is best for us. To walk in trust means acheiving exactly that. In this case, we are looking at my recurring fight with my husband. It is a fight that makes me doubt his character and my judgement, which is why I have to bring it to God. The alternative, of course, would be divorce. Single parenting. Poverty. Daily struggles. I would be forced to focus on my immediate needs, and therefor would slowly, slightly, pull from the Lord. My marriage, provided by God, offers comfort and provision so I may look outside to the needs of others. I can spend time looking inside to my own motivations and be certain that I live from a pure heart. Regardless of the world’s vision of purity, it is truly the giver of freedom.

14
Feb
09

Driving Around the Big Love Billboard

I have nothing to say.  I don’t even know why I am here, on WordPress, on this day with nothing on my mind.  This holiday, Valentine’s Day, is the worst.  Tension rests over our house today like London fog.  My husband is lying on the couch, not knowing what to do.  He wanted to go to the movies and I declined, obviously hurting his feelings.  I just feel bad about it.  But this day is just a big reminder, a billboard we can’t seem to drive around, forcing us to recognize what we do not have.

For the last few years, well, 14 of them actually,  pretty much since the day we woke up as husband and wife, we have abused, neglected, and mistreated our marriage.  Finally, we decided to stop behaving so badly.  But it’s not that easy to just about face in a relationship.  We tiptoe around each other, praising the progress we’ve made like a cancer patient who finally starts to re-grow wisps of hair.  She is becoming herself again, but it will still take so much treatment and care to restore her that she may not survive.  Those last four words, I think, are destroying the relationship my husband and I have.  As we have tried to mend our relationship, it has been a joy to feel like a family.  We attend events together, eat together, and watch some TV together.  But we both know that if we talk, the pain is going to surface and that is something we just may not survive.  When we go out, we go with books.  When we watch TV, we are each on our laptops. 

Today we have to celebrate Valentine’s Day.  Somehow we have to address the state of our feelings.  Overall,they are good  – better than ever.  But if we misstep and are forced to look underneath, we may find ourselves back in chemo and I don’t think either one of us is strong enough to weather it this time.  It is somehow lonelier to be in a tremulously healthy relationship than it was to be in the dying one, the one filled with fighting and selfishness.  Now, all that is exposed is how far apart we are and how difficult the journey will be as we try to find each other again




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