What happened last weekend felt hopeless and dark. But this weekend says it wasn’t.
I remembered I probably wouldn’t see you again until late that evening. We’d give each other a quick kiss, a tired, lingering hug, and chat about our days. I would tell you a few funny and/or disturbing stories about the kids and you would fill me in on work. We would give our best effort to listen and respond, though our eyes would be growing heavier by the minute. I thought about how you’d probably fall asleep on the couch later and I’d attempt to wake you up to come to bed, but eventually give up and crawl into bed alone, but not necessarily lonely.
And I felt a twinge of sadness. Like we’d lost something. That excitement and anticipation. That passion. What happened to us? I wondered. And for a minute, I wished we were back there, flirting in your dorm room, listening to that song on repeat.
I’m just overwhelmed, I finally squeak out. Clark and I got into a fight last night. About floors. I don’t think we can afford new floors in the new house, but he thinks we can. And watching our savings account disappear makes me feel all kinds of out of control. I like having a cushion. I think it’s an irresponsible decision, and all I want right now is to feel stable. In case you haven’t noticed, I am feeling unstable.
I laugh, but it comes out more like a bark. I make a mental note to google “How to Cry Adorably” when I get home.
We talk for a while. They ask questions and hold my hand. They pray over me. And then they give me the best marriage advice I’ve ever received.
That confident, independent woman-child told you things like, “I don’t like romance,” and, “Please don’t get me flowers. They’re such a waste of money,” and, “If you EVER (insert cheesy gesture here), I will run the other way.” I wanted you to know that you weren’t getting involved with one of those “needy” girls.
Flash forward to today. Ten years later.
We fight depression and “man” colds, job losses and panic attacks, miscarriage and grief, sinus infections and the stomach flu. Together. We battle insurance claims, broken pipes, family caregiving, moving and childrearing. Together.
Even when both of us are feeling selfish. Even when both of us are feeling exhausted. Even when both of us want to throw in the towel, lift up our hands and cry out to God in agony, “We surrender.”
After a fight in that first year (of which I have no recollection what it was about), my husband said something to me that made me stop and think — and changed the trajectory of our marriage.
He said, “I need you to stop nit-picking. If something bothers you, I need you to ask yourself if it is going to bother you tomorrow, or next week, or in a month. If you still think it is something that is going to bother you – say something. If it is not, let it go.”
Let it go.
I don’t think it’s a coincidence that the theme of love in 1 Corinthians 13 is placed between chapters about using our spiritual gifts in service to one another and worshiping our Creator.
The kind of love that is sandwiched between service and worship and bound up in love. This kind of love “is not easily angered.” – 1 Corinthians 13:5