I’ve been found out! Yes, indeed, I was once one of those idealistic ditzes who thought I had married THE PERFECT MAN (see “Sigh…my hero!!” by Donna Haug). Only to find out that he, like I, was only human.
But at least my fallacious understanding was backed by Scripture, or so I thought. He was going to love me as Jesus did……..and so I would have no problem respecting and submitting to him. “Ahhhhhhhhhhhh!!!” my heart sang in the weeks and months leading up to our wedding. “My hero!”
I was soon cured of my naiveté. Take the basic mix of two typical human natures and add in polarized cultural backgrounds, a language barrier, and damaged ear drums, and you hardly have the ingredients for a tranquilly sweet, Popeye-and-Olive evening, sitting cuddled up underneath a palm tree on a desert island, gazing out at a beautiful sunset.
More like the fixings for the Boston Tea Party………..or the French Revolution……maybe even the LA Riots!! “Stop the world, I want to get offffffffffffffffffff!!” (Benny Hester).
But, then again, add JESUS, and perhaps you have an alternative: possibly a heap of ashes (albeit the size of Mt Everest, mind you) as raw material for the makings of a Garden of Eden?
So began my courtship with reality. My enlightenment hasn’t happened over night, but little by little, through the Scripture, words of wisdom from others, and my own experiences, God has shown me how His grace works in the real world of marriage.
Joy Harris, a missionary to Australia, once spoke about the reality that the man whom Scripture expects wives to submit to “as to the Lord” (Ephesians 5: 22 ) doesn’t always act like Jesus!! In fact, sometimes, he can be downright antagonizing!! Joy’s word of wisdom? Remember, he is not God. He is just a man.
As I pondered this, I realized that God was letting me off the hook, compared to what He expected of my husband. This mere man, with all of his human nature, was obliged to love me as Jesus did, and to present me to the Lord “without blemish.” Did that mean God was holding him accountable for how well he took care of me?
Suddenly, I no longer felt like a potential doormat. Rather, it occurred to me that if I possessed any element of compassion at all, I would do all I could to make it as easy as possible for this man to love and care for me!
Next reality check: my patronizing attempts to fix things (actually to fix him) weren’t achieving the desired results. They were only refueling the fire. So I stopped. When I had a complaint, I didn’t say a word to my husband. I didn’t talk about it. I just prayed. I only spoke if I had something positive to say (ah! the wisdom of Thumper’s mother).
And I found we moved from the brink of World War Three to the Korean Armistace.
As I held back my words, I found that the Lord gave me His! So that when something needed to be said, His redemptive message, for the both of us, for our marriage and our family, came across.
And then those qualities, which I had loved and admired in my husband from the start, began to re-emerge!!
Our transformation from war to peace, from ashes to joy, and then on to the gateways of paradise, has come more gradually since those initial “Aha!” moments. I have learned to be his biggest listener…….to seek to be the one, next to the Lord, who understands him best. Then, I can help him to process through all his thoughts and dreams so that he can come to the wisest decision about the matters that affect our lives and our family.
As Barbara Johnson puts it, it’s a boomerang blessing! As I help him to understand himself better, I am also helping him to understand me. So that when we make our plans, no one’s needs and desires get left out.
And we can drive down the road and laugh about his dreams of going Lawn Bowling when we retire.
In the end, I suppose I’ve learned that my husband needs neither an idealistic nor a disillusioned Olivite.
Rather, he needs, wants, and even craves, an Iron Lady with bite.
I’ll be the first to volunteer.
*Please excuse the formatting problems that may occur with this article. I am posting from a computer with a Korean font and sometimes this causes strange characters to appear. I apologize for the inconvenience and thank you for reading anyway!!