My words don’t work all the time.
I know, it shocked me too. My entire life I have relied on my words. I’ve used my words to convince, to sell, to lie, to win arguments, and occasionally for good. But I have always relied on them, and they have almost always worked. But being married is different.
It turns out, sometimes a wife just wants you to be there. Sometimes, and this is really surprising I know, they don’t want your questions, answers or opinions. Sometimes they just want you to hold them. To listen. To shut up.
I’m a slow learner, but I think I am starting to learn this lesson. One day, I may even remember it when Lindsey needs it– and without a reminder.
Three months ago today I married the love of my life. This afternoon we are going to the wedding of our good friends Rachel and Ben. All of this has me thinking about that day and the words we said. So today, I thought I would post the words our pastor charged us with, and the promises we made to each other.
The Charge to Brian
Lead. With humility, selflessness, sacrifice that knows no bounds, constantly speaking, acting, and responding to Lindsey for the purpose of her heart falling deeper in love with God. Persevere and endure through the times of difficulty. Hold her. Lead her. And know that non of this is remotely possible if you are not trusting God to lead you. Lead Lindsey to love the Word deeply. Wash her in the Word. Lead her to serve the broken. Lead in a way that causes the world around you to see how Jesus leads us.
The Charge to Lindsey
Show grace to Brian.Serve him. Care for him. Encourage him. Speak truth and pray for him. Surrender to his leadership in a selfless, Godly way. Persevere and endure through the time of difficulty. Pursue righteousness and surrender in a way that will show the world around you how we are to surrender to Jesus.
I dedicate this marriage today
And our hem tomorrow
To the Lordship of Jesus Christ
I will never leave you or forsake you
Where you will go, I will go
Where you will live, I will live
Where you will die, I will die
Your people will be my people
And your God my God
May the Lord bring anguish upon me
If anything but death separates us
I give all of myself to you.
Love as distinct from “being in love” is not merely a feeling. It is a deep unity, maintained by the will and deliberately strengthened by habit; reinforced by the grace which both partners ask, and receive from God. They can have this love for each other even at those moments when they do not like each other; as you love yourself even when you do not like yourself. –C.S. Lewis
I love this quote. It makes me feel like I have a the opportunity to be a good wife. I don’t feel like a very good wife right now, but when I read this, I see hope.
Lewis tells us that my love can be maintained by the will to love Brian. So, it doesn’t matter if I’m not particularly “feeling” it one day. I can will myself to love him, and in doing so, end up strengthening my love for him as I form this habit. And I love the thought of making it a habit to love my husband, just as you would make it a habit to turn on a nightlight before bed.
And this unity between us– this covenant that we formed before God and with God– can be made stronger all the time if we ask God for grace in this. We mess up, we hurt one another, we let the other down. But when asked, God gives us grace and we can thus give it to one another.
Instead of having an emotional feeling for Brian, I can have this “deep unity.” And I can have it with him even in the times I do not like him very much. He can have it with me when he doesn’t like me very much.
So, there’s hope. When we make a habit to love and will ourselves to love, and we ask God for grace in our inability to love and for the grace to show to one another, there’s hope.
Brian demonstrates this to me regularly. He makes it a habit to love me and he shows me so much grace in my shortcomings towards him. He told me last night that I am the perfect wife for him– even if I were to say that I didn’t want to be better (responding to what I just said). He gets this. I’m trying to.