08 February 2011

Sometimes He Flops

Dearest Fliss,

Inside every woman is a little girl who just wants someone to wrap their arms around her and love her like he loves nobody else.

You've found the man who is absolutely gob-smacked with you.  He loves everything about you...your hair, your eyes, even those pesky freckles you've been trying to get rid of for years.  You light up when you hear his voice or catch a glimpse of him, and he gives you that look that sends you into cardiac arrest.  This is what you've been waiting for...dreaming of...

and so you marry.

The honeymoon is so much more than you've even imagined.  You're the center of this amazing person's universe!
You move into your first apartment.  He goes off to his job, and you eagerly plan for the moment you'll see him again.  He twirls you around and smothers you with kisses.  He praises your cooking, and does dishes with you.  You go for long walks together.  Wake up snuggled in his arms.  Life is good.

A few weeks (or months) go by...

He works.  A lot.  Even when he's home.  And you wonder if he still wants to spend time with you, or if he wishes he were single again and had more freedom.

He forgets.  A gallon of milk here, a dry cleaning pickup there, your 17 month anniversary.  But you imagine you're not quite as important as you once were.

He's selfish.  He plays on the computer while you clean up dinner, leaves dirty laundry and whiskers all over the bathroom, and never takes off his shoes when he comes in the door.  You get a sick feeling in the pit of your stomach.  Did he ever love you?  Or was he just looking for someone to replace his mommy?

He's lazy.  He flops half-dead in front of the t.v. at night, and forgets about family devotions.  He sleeps through Sunday School, and you're late for church.   Now you're mad.  He's neglecting his responsibilities before God.

It's time for The Silent Treatment,
The silent treatment is a form of bloodless murder in which you don't actually kill someone, you simply pretend they don't exist.
Nothing is wrong, dear.  (Be sure to clench your teeth, or this may sound sincere.)
Eye contact is strictly forbidden.
If you can stay out just a little too late with friends so he worries, that gives you bonus points.
Be sure not to let the ice queen facade melt until he has completely come around to see how right you are.

or maybe The Tantrum.
You're going to have to shed a lot of tears.
Be sure there are plenty of accusations and that you explain in detail each and every time he's wounded your tender, loving heart.
It's only really worked if you get an apology and a promise to do better.  If he's still making excuses, you haven't done your job very well.  Hyperventilating and hiccuping may bring him around.
Be sure he holds you tenderly until you drift off to sleep.  You get extra points if he kisses away the tears.

and now YOU'RE in control.  And you're miserably unhappy.  You've never felt less loved and more alone in your whole life.

It's easy to respond in loving submission when you're treated like a princess.
He takes from the money he's been saving for a new racing bike to cover your overdraft, and simply hugs you as you sob an apology.  Twice.
He stays up after you've gone to bed, and does all the dishes from your first dinner party.
He drives 17 hours after working a 14 hour shift so you can attend your sister's graduation four states away.

But what about when he flops?
When he spends the money you've been carefully saving up for summer vacation on a hunting blind?
When he "forgets" to take out the trash or walk the dog before he goes to bed? Every. single.  night.
When he stops having devotions, or finds a million excuses to skip church?

It's hard to submit to someone who isn't earning your respect.  Very hard.

And this, sweet daughter, is where God wants you to bring you:
Marveling at a love that sacrifices.  Tasting eternity. Glimpsing a glint of His love.  Disappointed.  Angry.  Hurt.

God knows HE is the only one who can love you the way you need to be loved.  In His lovingkindness, He gives you someone who will help you draw closer to Him, not replace Him.

You need the sunlight moments, when you would be willing to live in a tree house on breath mints and love, just to spend the rest of your life with this man.

You need the shadow moments, when you choose to obey God and respectfully submit to a man, utterly human, who has failed you.

Because somewhere in between those two, and yet beyond them both, you will learn Christ in a way you never dreamed possible.  
You will experience a tiny fraction of His love fleshed out, and it will take your breath away.  
But you will also have to drink deeply of His humility and daily obedience to know Him as never before.  

As you grow into an intimate relationship with Jesus Christ, you'll understand that your marriage is the tool God has chosen to use to accomplish that in your life .  You'll finally learn there aren't "good" and "bad" times in a marriage, there are times you see Christ, and times you learn Christ.  You need them both.

And you will be happy -- not just joyful -- really, truly happy.   And loved like nobody else.

May you be cherished as much as you are now for your whole life,

P.S.  Out of respect for your Dad, all the situations mentioned above were borrowed or altered.  Except the driving to my sister's graduation. Daddy really did that for me!

1 comment:

  1. This was so powerful. I deeply needed to hear these words and challenges. Thank you, Mrs. Rebecca.