Written February 6, 2012. Updated July 22, 2020.
The land here is flat, the dirt is black, and they have fog like nothing I experienced in the red clay hills of the south. I had been trying to get a new driver’s license from my new state with my new last name for too long, running into problems at every turn. That morning I had everything in place, believed there were no more hoops to jump through. I just had to make it to the correct building, present the documents I’d finally accumulated correctly, pay my money, and the whole ordeal would be over. But it was foggy. Very foggy. School-delaying foggy. The short window of time I had to do it was closing, which would mean waiting another week. Rural America doesn’t do things like suburbia. Rick wanted me to stay home, to wait to leave. He worried about me driving in the fog. I understood. I stayed put and waited. When it was finally time to go, with very little time to spare, I rushed out to my car to find it defrosted, gassed up, and containing all the things I would need for my day. He wanted to follow me with his car until the point where we needed to go different directions, making sure the roads really were a little better.
As I drove away, I knew what it felt like to be loved. This is love. To be cherished, to be considered, to be the one he turns those blue eyes on with the look of love.
This week he has shown his love through clean floors (in spite of so much construction debris). He has shown his love by putting on my new license plate, drilling holes so it fits correctly. He has shown his love through moving furniture and commenting on curtains he didn’t care about and affirming the decisions I acted so confident about but really didn’t know what I was doing when I made them. He has comforted me through petty frustrations. He has loved me unconditionally. This is love.
What have I done for him? How have I shown my love? How have I been the hands and feet of Jesus to him? God, help me to love this man. You love him through me. Give me wisdom and grace and creativity. Let him know he is cherished and adored.
Today we have been married for 38 days. They have been 38 amazing days, full of wonder and grace. They have also been difficult days. We were both single for much longer than most. We are used to doing things our own way, the way our family does things, the way we think things should be done. There have been a lot of questions like, why do you do that – like that? (Do you know how much mental effort and emotional restraint it takes to think back, answer that question thoughtfully and honestly, and not get defensive?) There are many adjustments being made by both of us during this time. Some of them are easier than others.
But there are moments of splendor too. There are moments when I have seen God’s love for me displayed by this man.
How did he stay single so long? How did so many other women miss the treasure that this hard-working, faithful, successful, witty, generous, trusting, handsome man is? I don’t know for sure, but I know this much: I begged God over and over again: Lord, keep my husband for me. Preserve him. Help him not to get tired of waiting and settle for less. H
elp him to be blessed, fulfilled, and full of Your Spirit. Teach us what we need to know so we can be together and have a beautiful relationship. But please God, keep him for me.
What an amazing thing to see those words, whispered into a fog I couldn’t see through, seemingly unanswered for so many years, living proof right in front of me. As the fog clears, I see this man, full of the Spirit of God, kept for me, blessed, and fulfilled. He was missed by others because God preserved him for me.
This is love: God’s gracious hand, granting me the desire of my heart, in His time.
How can I ask for more? I am beyond thankful. I am a woman who is greatly loved.
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Eight and a half years later, I write honestly that he still cares for me like that. Life has taken wild turns and changed us in ways we could never have anticipated. He has so many more responsibilities these days - three small children, one with Down syndrome, another farm with a big mortgage, a house, and more. Yet he still takes the time to hand me a drink, make sure I've eaten, rub my feet, or just water the flowers for me.
I've said it before and I'll say it again - if you still have time to decide, choose a man who is kind. Choose a man who is thoughtful and faithful. Don't give everything you have to someone who isn't willing to give everything he has right back. A good marriage is the union of two excellent givers. It's impossible to out-give my husband, but he makes it easy to try.
Our marriage isn't any more perfect today than it was back then. Our struggles are different now - harder, and we have so much more to lose. Deep pain has lead to relationship challenges that take our breath away and leave us grasping for anything solid to hold onto. But when you choose a good man, he will humbly learn new ways of dealing with trouble. He may make mistakes; in fact, he WILL make mistakes (just like you will). But a good man will learn from those mistakes and become even better. I'm so thankful that I waited for God to lead me to a good man.
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