Marriage Letters: On Outside Influences
I came to marriage with misconceptions – what is sexy, what is biblical wife, what is it to make a man happy. I think often in all our not-knowingness, we reach for answers and affirmations. We feel weak in our wobbly dyad, so we look for another something to hold us. We’ve brought in friends, welcomed old baggage, emotional affairs, and late nights on the internet to take the edge off. We’ve done our share of triangulating, so we won’t have to deal together.
But I’m not writing about those negative influences so much, except to say that anything that helps me stand without you, ought not be welcome in my life. I have experienced a pulling away from you, but I’ve also experienced the beauty of learning to walk with you, just the two of us leaning into one another.
There have been influences that have pushed me into you, made me want to wait for your timing or given me grace to take up the slack. Friends in loving marriages don’t stop pointing us in the right direction, and every once in a while, an older man or woman will step in and speak truth or pray over us. Those are rarities hard to forget.
Once I paid a babysitter so I could eat alone and read a book at a local restaurant. It was a marriage book. You know the one, and I pretty much hated it dearly. Nevertheless, I saw a couple walk in, both at least 80. The man had no idea where he was, and he smiled and shuffled. She held his arm, guarded his cane, and led him with her voice. He happily obeyed, kept his eyes on her. She napkinned at the table to clean it, and then walked to the line to order while he sat looking about the room, just as likely expecting a circus as a turkey sandwich.
As she walked forward, I caught her eye, the word “wife” on my book, and she recognized it immediately. With a hand on my table, she said, “I’m so happy to see you read that book. You keep reading. You keep working to love your husband.”
Then she looked up at him, the eyes behind her eyes were young, the eyes of a lover, and she said, “Do you see that man over there?” I said, “yes, I do.”
She said, “I wouldn’t trade one minute God has given me with him. That man has never stopped blessing me. I love him, and it’s all been worth it.”
How God gave me that moment, I don’t know. We both had tears in our eyes, both of us so proud to believe and be loved. It floored me.
I watched her get their food, and then she fed him from her plate.
Why aren’t there more positive influences, Seth? This is why I feel called, that woman in the restaurant, to tell the younger ones to keep going. Sometimes we need to hear it, we need it to be acknowledged that this isn’t easy, but that it’s worth it.
It’s only been 13 years for us and already worth it. One day if you shuffle me smiling into a restaurant, I don’t doubt for a minute, that you’ll love me more then than you do now. I don’t doubt it a bit. Don’t forget how much I love bacon and chocolate. I’ll take some on everything.
Please join Seth, Joy, Scott, and me as we hold our marriages up to the light. Call your marriage what it really is. We believe that when we bless our own marriage, we bless the marriages of others. If you write a post, simply leave the link to your Marriage Letter post only, and then send your readers to this post for more encouragement from others. Thank you for joining us.
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