In honor of our continued series of praising God, this true story will relate how loving, merciful and gracious the Lord we serve can be. He commands us to pray. He promises to answer when we do (in faith and according to His will). Then he answers us even when we didn’t pray.
Mondays can be hard. Marriage can be harder. We’ve mentioned such before on this blog.
On a recent Monday, I woke up feeling alone. I wasn’t. My husband’s alarm had just blared, and a cat curled against either side of my body.
None of that warmth reached me. My heart gaped, a barren wilderness of ice.
Recently, people have complimented me on my amazing marriage. Ha! What do they know about it?
Even though our bodies lay within inches of each other, my husband and I are miles apart. I tried to talk to him about x and he kept watching the football game. When I asked him to do y with me, he was too busy cleaning out the garage.
Believe me, I want the garage cleaned out as much as the next person. Truly. And while he watched football, I read a chapter or two from three separate books I’m plowing through at the moment.
It’s not like it was a life-or-death moment.
But it’s become the norm in our home, rather than the exception.
When Paths Diverge
Many years ago now, I experienced a similar feeling.
We were in a much different place. Our boys had both just begun attending school full-time (now they are college graduates). My husband had a job that required travel, and I was a volunteer at the school, still unsure what to do with time that had previously been dedicated to entertaining my preschool-aged child.
When I described this time to my cousin, I said:
“We’re on different paths. His is moving steadily away from mine. The only way to change things is to turn them toward each other. So I make the choice to abandon my path and join his.”
Those words replayed again on the ugly Monday of doom. My immediate thought was, “Well, I changed paths last time, so it’s his turn.”
Now you know the truth about how unselfish I’m not.
Love is a Choice
My biggest issue with romance novels and romance movies is they paint love as some intense feeling.
Two people meet. They’re physically attracted to each other. Somehow one of them helps the other out of a jam (maybe they help each other). Hands touch and sparks fly. Lips meet and it’s an earthquake of epic proportions.
Reality is a bit different. Sure, it might start the same way, but once two people commit to a lifetime together, things change.
No matter how perfect someone is, they will eventually rub you the wrong way. Voices will raise. Words which can’t be unspoken will slash tender feelings.
Now it’s time for love to step in. Love says, “I forgive you.” It chooses to forget the hurt and focus on the positive things. It won’t hold a grudge-ever.
Did I feel like letting go of the anger? After all, I was RIGHT. He should have to admit this (and we should write it down because it has happened only a handful of times in our nearly three decades together).
I choose to love. Love says, “My way is not as important as keeping the peace.”
Not at all what human nature wants to say, I know.
But, when I’m not “feeling the love,” I can still choose to act in a loving way. Because love is a choice.
Encouragement via Email
On Doom-Monday, two emails came from two Christian authors I follow.
The first one, entitled Loving for Life (from Melinda Inman), got a scan from me. I mean, I didn’t feel like being reminded that I had made a life-long promise on May 27, 1988.
But a few phrases made it past my stubbornness anyway:
“They didn’t mesh seamlessly from day one.”
“Every marriage has the potential to fall apart-all it takes is one of the two partners deciding they’ve had enough.”
But I wasn’t deciding THAT. I just wanted to bask in my right-ness for a few minutes.
So the next email says “The mechanics of love (this is not as boring as it sounds.”
I had to click through to read the entire post. I’m glad I did.
Not because Pastor Bubna said anything new. Nope. I’d heard it all before. Many times. I’d even said some of it when doling out advice.
I needed to hear it today. These two writers spoke straight to my heart.
Their encouragement landed in my inbox at the exact moment I needed it.
And I put my right to being right aside. Seriously. Who needs it? Wouldn’t I rather have a husband who is my best friend?
And, that, my friends, is the story of God graciously answering a prayer I never prayed. He used the writings of two Christians I’ve never met to knock a chip off my shoulder and get my perspective back where it belongs.