Love in the Hard Places

Vintage Valentine print I found…..

      My husband and I have been married for 39 ½ years, exclamation point, by the grace of God and His glue alone. And, I might add, because of the gift of a patient, steadfast man whom I am just beginning to know.

About halfway through our marriage journey I decided I didn’t want to be married. Mind you, I was a believer and attended church faithfully, but I was a Very Bad Advertisement for both a happy marriage and Jesus. All the ‘s’ words applied—Selfishness, Stupidity, Stubbornness, and the only one that mattered—Sin.

Tho’ I can’t really trace how (except by God’s grace alone–always), over time I came to my senses. Muddling through, working through the pain, slogging through difficult times, we have gotten to The Other Side….the side of joy.  Our marriage is not perfect, far from it, but it’s workable and S O worth it.

        We certainly did not get here on our own—over the past 20 years there was the support of our pastor and other counselors who invested countless hours in meeting and praying with us. Several people over the last two years, especially my friend Leah, kept mentioning Love and Respect, Dr. Emerson Eggerichs’ popular, life-changing book for Christian couples. I bought it read/devoured it and am re-reading it now. 

The principles of scripture which make it clear I need the Love but my husband needs the Respect  had not really been taught or emphasized in my walk with God. And granted, it may not be a popular, PC way of looking at marriage today.

            But  an Ephesians 5:25 perspective—‘husbands love your wives, wives respect your husbands’ has helped me/us immensely.  I’m working on me first, the only person I can change….and that’s a start.

As I said, things are not perfect  but there is hope and much improvement.  We are in a place where love has turned into something more than love. It’s not all sex, fun and romantic dates (although there are those) but well, we’re older—there are wrinkles….gravity and time have done their darnedest to weather us.  We now have something better.
Church Harvest Party c. 2010
So, here’s what love looked like to me this week while I was unwrapping it (actually I was rolling up t-shirts and putting them away):

Caring about things that matter to my husband, things like…….

**Trimming branches on the cypress tree
that’s crashed down next to the house

          and holding the ladder so that he’s safe

while he’s got a chain saw in his
hand (another exclamation point).

**Going with him to get the tires rotated……
and balanced….and aligned. Boring, but it
           is important to him to keep me safe.

**Doing the dishes—which spells Love to my
husband. Nothing cuts me more deeply
than to hear him say, “Man this kitchen’s
          always a mess!” (ouch–yes, sometimes it is.)
          Those words are really code for, “It means a lot
          to me to have the kitchen cleaned up”.

So, how do I unwrap love at my house?

Well, if I’m smart, I start with the dishes.
Linking with Bonnie Gray over at Faith Barista 
and with Jennifer at Getting Down with Jesus

One thought on “Love in the Hard Places

  1. My husband and I attended the Love & Respect study a few years ago. We had a healthy relationship at the time, but still found it profoundly helpful and insightful. That whole “crazy cycle” thing. That's so true, isn't it? And the pink and blue ways that we hear … I remember that, too.

    Really glad you linked up with The High Calling's “I Do” writing project hosted over at my place!

    (And that's a super-cute picture!)


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