Let’s be honest, after decades of marriage it can grow a little less than exciting at times. Going to work, raising kids, elderly parents and sick pets often leaves little time to enjoy the one you once passionately loved.
Jennifer and I, after 40 years of marriage, seemed of late to be getting on each others nerves a bit. We went through six years of taking care of her aging parents that left us little reserve for each other.
So the little things mounted up.
I’m a perfectionist. Jennifer can let the small things slide.
She doesn’t sweat the small stuff. I can sweat the smallest of stuff and turn it into big stuff.
Because of that she can seem at times like she’s not paying attention to some of the important details.
That makes me crazy sometimes because I pay attention to all the details even details that I probably really didn’t need to pay attention to.
Anyway, you get the idea, and I’m pretty sure you could add your own illustrations.
But at times it can leave us wondering, “Who is this person I married? What was I thinking?”
Recently we traveled with another couple to Austria and Germany for two weeks. The other couple had made all the arrangements so there were few decisions to make other than what kind of beer I wanted with my wiener schnitzel.
I pleasantly discover Jennifer and I talking more than we had for a long time.
We joked and laughed. We held hands and took walks. We lingered over coffee.
And I remembered why I’d fallen in love with her.
Surprisingly I found that even her lack of attention to details at times didn’t annoy me that much. I saw it as just part of her.
I also thought about all she has had to put up with me and felt thankful she had.
One morning, I was sitting on the veranda outside our room, looking out on the Alps surrounding our hotel. The sun filtered through the clouds that had recently rained and stood packed against the mountain sides. Church bells rang and birds chirped.
I prayed, “God how can I keep this going when we return home? How can we keep our marriage alive?”
God spoke to my heart incredibly clearly, “I have given her to you to care for. I made her with her strengths and weaknesses just as I have made you with yours. I put you together because your strengths make up for her weaknesses as her strengths make up for your weaknesses. So love her and care for her. She is my child and I’ve entrusted her to you.”
I’ll tell you I had a huge shift in perspective. No longer was I there to change her. I was there to let my strengths make up for her weaknesses as she has done for me for many years.
I think she innately understands this. I don’t but need to learn it.
I gained a new perspective of what Paul writes, “Husbands love your wives just like Jesus loves his bride the church. He gave himself up for them to make them perfect in God’s eyes.”
In a way as my strengths help make up for Jennifer’s weaknesses and her strengths make up for mine together we become more perfect.
As we lay in bed last night going to sleep I said to her, “You know, you probably could have done better in who you married. But I’m glad you made the decision you did and now you’re stuck with me.”
We both laughed and drifted off to sleep.
Ephesians 5: 25-27
Photo Credit: David Fielding; Creative Commons