He stood as if chest high in cement; excitement and adrenaline surged through his mind. His own personal electrical storm was sending lightening bolts zig-zagging into his heart. It had finally arrived, the day he had longed for ever since he first saw her walking down the hall.
Is your marriage what you expected it would be or become? Can you recall those feelings, the plans, the excitement, the wonder you knew would define your marriage? Sure you saw how others struggled, maybe even your parents, but you and your mate would have something different.
Do you remember the time the two of you spent talking about what your future was going to be? You knew there were challenges in the relationship of marriage, yet the two of you were sure there was nothing you couldn’t overcome together. As you discussed the future, your excitement grew. Waiting until the moment when you would finally hear the pronouncement you were Husband and Wife felt like grinding millennia — until finally that dream became the reality.
The tremor began in his legs first, moved to his arms, and eventually his body was shaking, which took him completely by surprise. He had been waiting for this day for a very long time, it seemed he had always loved her. They had talked about it; there had been choices to make, families to contend with, but it was finally happening.
So often I have found myself meeting life with expectations that slammed me into the granite wall of reality. I can recall my own ideas of what being married would look like, my hopes, my dreams, the things I wanted for myself and my wife. Then eventually would come the children we could love and show what it meant to be committed to the one and only. But as those of us already married know, rarely do our expectations reflect what we discover when the two become one!
The music began to play and he knew it was time. And then she was, walking down the aisle escorted by her father. He only had eyes for her because she was the most beautiful woman in the whole of God’s giant universe, and she had said Yes to him. Even as she approached the front of the church, as he stepped down the steps to meet her, it was as if it couldn’t be true. Any minute he would wake up and she’d vanish into the night as had happened so often in the past few years.
Do you have memories of the instant you knew she or he was the one? Do you remember that first rush of amazement when it finally occurred to you this was the person to spend the rest of your life with, to share together whatever life might be or have in store for you? You were certain nothing else could matter as long as you could be together! Maybe you lived in different towns, one end of the state from the other, or maybe it was a whole continent that divided the two of you.
Mail sent was painfully slow in coming and could not hold the feelings shared with lettered words. Phone bills were becoming too high. It seemed eons before the two could finally be together, then came that awful moment when their good-byes had to be said and one or both had to return to the real world. Life had to go on until the promise to be together always, made each to the other, could be fulfilled.
She noticed, as she let go of her father’s arm and took the man’s that he was the one shaking. Peace cascaded over her; she knew he would be with her forever. A smile crossed her face as she felt just how nervous he was, knowing she had expected to be the one shaking with nervous anticipation of what their lives together might be.
The pastor began to speak, songs they had chosen together filled the little church. The vows were made. Then came the pronouncement, “Ladies and Gentlemen it is my great pleasure to introduce to you Mr. and Mrs.” The organ burst into song as the young man practically ran from the church pulling her with him.
It was done, no one could or would disturb the life they had planned through so many long phone calls and letters that never seemed long enough. Now there was nothing to keep them apart ever again!
The End… Or Not!
You might look at the verse chosen for this blog and see it as a bit lopsided. Little appears to have been said concerning the role of the husband in comparison to the list for the wife. However, do not let first appearances deceive you. For on closer inspection and as you consider the entire context of the message found in the chapter, you may discover something more.
God never intended for any form of hierarchy between His children when He created this world of ours. That first marriage in Eden united two beings of equality and brought completion each to the other. Man and woman were both given responsibility for the garden home God had created for them. They were two becoming one in heart and mind with talents that were to complement each other as they discovered the wonders of love.
God created humanity to experience an adventure called love, one that came directly from the center of His Grace. It must have been a sight to behold as God led Eve to Adam, as she let go of God’s arm to take the arm of the one created just for her. God had created Adam for Eve and Eve for Adam. There were no expectations to be crushed; they knew each other in a way that was deep and pure and true.
We know and live a different reality today. That original love was hijacked and lust came creeping, spilling into competition with love. Lust is sometimes confused with love, except lust is selfish, drawn to taking and never giving. Love is the opposite, it is all about giving and never taking.
And for the most part, humanity has been experiencing a combination of the two. We’ve been told love is some form of contract bringing two parties together until one of them doesn’t measure up, then all vows cease to exist and the contract becomes null and void!
Men, I’m talking to you man to man. The ladies’ portion, the responsibility that is theirs is extremely well spelled out. There is a need to recognize, to remember the verse is directed to a first-century society. So some of those spelled out responsibilities must be understood within that context.
However, men, our responsibility has not changed from the first century to today. We are, as Christian men, to give ourselves for our wives as Christ gave Himself for His Bride, the Church! Nowhere will you find that responsibility changed by God. As someone who has chosen to be a disciple of Jesus Christ, you owe yourself, your complete self, to the one God has joined you in oneness.
This is not the post where I care to cross swords with anyone objecting to the responsibility given to men by God. The challenge is in being what He has called us to be, willing to give what He pours into us.
My first expectations of married life were pruned by the Master Vine Keeper, as they still are today. Because as long as we live in and on this little planet God made we will face the challenges of two becoming one!
What each of us must decide is this, are you willing to be pruned? Whether it is as husband or wife, the pruning never ends unless you decide to depart from the Vine Keeper’s Plan. And honestly, I’m not sure it even ends then. However, this I do know, as long as you profess to be a disciple of His, pruning is a given for both the Man and the Woman who have chosen to become One in Him! The bottom line is this, what will you choose?
However, let each man of you [without exception] love his wife as [being in a sense] his very own self; and let the wife see that she respects and reverences her husband [that she notices him, regards him, honors him, prefers him, venerates and esteems him: and that she defers to him, praises him, and love and admires him exceedingly]. Ephesians 5:33 Amplified Version