We’ve been married about twenty months now and during the entire first year (and a little more) I wasn’t convinced I would survive marriage. I didn’t even want to most of the time. The ties that bind are not always love or faith or commitment. While I wish so much that I was a great enough woman that those things were enough, for me the tie that binds is money. Who else is going to pay my mortgage?! I certainly have no interest in the task! Maybe for you it’s your children, or fear or pride. If you are like me, maybe you are ashamed of the tie that binds you to your husband because you feel it should be love, faith or commitment.
Do not be ashamed. Be grateful. Be grateful for every tie that kept you or keeps you from giving up. We’ve all heard of mountains and valleys. Sometimes standing on the mountain we can be ashamed of what it took to get there. Don’t be. I’m not. Just be grateful that you crossed another hurdle.
If I was a successful, self-sufficient career women I would have thrown my faith in the Bible out the window countless times and walked away. My husband is an idiot. Sometimes he is my idiot, in that affectionate sort of way, and sometimes he is just the idiot paying my bills that I can’t believe I was dumb enough to marry in the first place.
I thank God every day that I can’t pay my bills. I love my husband desperately and I want to be with him, always. He greatly enriches my life well beyond the reach of his pocketbook. It’s just that he fails a lot too, poor guy. But I remind myself that my idiot is a sucker too. He married me!
The point is I don’t have too much pride to admit that, at this point, I don’t care what the ties that bind are, as long as I stay bound. I would love to send out some lovely spiel dripping with love, faith and commitment but that is not my reality, good or bad. And I seriously doubt that I’m alone in this.
Some of you may balk at me referring to my husband as an idiot, and could spew any number of lovely Bible verses about why I shouldn’t. I guess this isn’t for you. This is for the countless more that understand where I’m coming from, have been there or are there right now.
Every relationship, whether successful, failed, failing or seemingly failing, had a beginning likely filled with love, faith and commitment. For those stuck in the mire currently, I challenge you to go back and take a good, long, hard look at yours. Sometimes we get so bogged down with the bad, that the good is a distant memory not even worth hanging on to. My goal is to never let it get so bad that I surrender, wave my white flag and turn in my badge declaring me “Mrs. Jones.”
Today is the third anniversary of the story of us. And I waited a long time for that story to begin.
I’m just spewing gross generalizations here, but I believe that there are two main camps of Christian unmarried woman: those that seek and those that wait.
I was firmly in Camp Wait. Getting married was never on my active to do list. I traveled the world, and lived my life. For years there was no room in my life for any man more than a worldly amusement every now and then. I was much too busy living my life while all of my friends married young and started families. I just wasn’t interested. Believe me, before now, I worked very hard to pay my own bills and fund my own adventures.
Then one day that changed. I always told myself if I could look back on a single year and say that a man could have enriched that year that maybe I would be ready.
I had just graduated flight school and my life was changing. I was turning 26 and in a really good place. I was actually morphing into a mature adult less subject to fleeting amusements. It was then that I knew that I was ready.
It would seem like it would be a good time to change camps and join Camp Seeking, but that would require too much work. I never really felt like that was something I should be working for if I was trusting God and stuff. So let’s say that I unlatched the deadbolt while I went about my business.
Nothing came of anything and life goes on. Then something changed again. I hit a really low point in my life. I graduated flight in the middle of the worst part of the recession. There were no jobs. I was told that any job, no matter what, is a good enough job in the industry. I learned the hard way just how untrue that is. I jumped at the opportunity to take a job across the country that seemed like an awesome, secure job. Well, I went broke just getting there, living in a metropolitan area and paying rent and a mortgage at the same time. I didn’t get paid. And nothing came of anything. I crawled back to the West with my tail tucked between my legs.
This time was exceedingly difficult for me personally and I withdrew from my former life completely. I was becoming a new person, and I was stranger to myself, which I hated. I used to be very social, suddenly I didn’t have any time for that. The time I did have was in the late hours when my homework was done and included my guitar, worship songs and a Bible. It was a lonely time, but an important time. It was then that I knew, in that ever bizarre sense, deep down in my bones that I was going to get married soon. I didn’t know to whom and I didn’t know when, but I knew that I was going to get married.
Still, I didn’t join Camp Seeking. It just wasn’t my style.
I don’t believe in “the one” or soul-mates, or anything like that. But I do believe that the Lord guides our path, if we let him, in the direction that is right for us. And I believe when we make messes, His mercy is enough to clean them up.
Within a matter of weeks, or maybe a few months that fateful knock came at my door. A stinky long-haired boy needed a place to stay for the summer. I happened to have a room for rent so it worked out well for the both of us. It was events leading up to that moment that made me ready to receive this man. To date he is the first and only guy that I have lived with that I didn’t want out of my house for good by the end of the summer.
It’s important to go back and remember these things. It’s important to know that even if our current reality isn’t love, faith and commitment, it is still our foundation. There is a reason that we are together. Often the bad seems like mountains and the good mere mole hills. Ounce for ounce though those mole hills are platinum compared to the scrap metal of the mountains.
Even when I hate him, his humor melts the stones in my heart. Watching him care and nurture not only our dogs but the many foster dogs I volunteer us to care for is enough for me to see the love he is capable of even when not directed toward me. Seeing his passion for each individual plant he tends to and the care with which he researches their individual needs reminds me that God knows each of us by name and gives great care to the detail of our existence.
My husband is a quiet nerd and I am the one that is lucky to know the secret him. Now that we live in different states the warm fuzzy feelings can be even more distant, but it’s important to remember. I love you boo!