This morning I was reading the Bible, and as I came upon a particular scripture I thought of my spouse.
Psalm 37:4 (ESV)
Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.
Immediately my mind went to my husband. This was no surprise. All morning I had been filled with love for him, and it seemed that now the Lord was telling me why.
As my husband had walked into the living room, first thing this morning, I had smiled. I had smiled at his bed head and scraggly beard. I had smiled at his sleepy eyes, surrounded with crow’s feet. We were both getting older, but the more his hair grayed and his wrinkles deepened, the more handsome he was to me.
I had smiled as he stood at the coffee maker, his rainbow, kitty cat pajama pants grinning back at me. What other middle aged man could make “People of WalMart” attire look so good? The press of his chest against the dull white of his stretched, old undershirt made me melt, and he was the only man who could make me respond this way. On his worse day, he put more flutters in my belly than People magazine’s Sexy Man Alive (any year and counting) could even try to achieve.
I put my Bible down, watching him through our big window, as he traipsed through the grass in compression stocking feet, hunting for a snake he had seen. My knight in shining pj’s, smirking like Steve Erwin on the trail of a crikey rattler. I couldn’t take my eyes off him, and not simply because I feared a snake bite on his black-socked toe. He was my everything.
I don’t often speak of him like that. Everything. It seemed too much, like I was placing him on a pedestal above God Himself, but I finally understood the Lord knew better. After all, it was God who had given me the gift of my husband, and I finally understood the gift wasn’t just someone to do life with. It was someone to understand love with.
God is love, and He freely gives us that love. He gave it in the gift of His Son, but even with that there are many who can not comprehend it. I guess He knew that would happen, and that’s why He had it included in scripture. He reminded spouses to love one another as Christ loved the church. Husbands and wives have the opportunity to experience the love of Christ in a concrete, tangible way, here on earth, but too often miss it. You see, that was my gift in my husband. God knew Ben would love me like Jesus loves us all (or as similar as possible for us imperfect people to manage).
As I read that Psalm this morning I realized I had finally learned how to fall in love, and stay in love. I had sought the Lord with my whole heart, giving Him every single part of my life, and in turn He has given me the desires of my heart. A heart desires love. Not the romcom, Hollywood kind, but the real stuff. The stuff that doesn’t make it into romance novels. The real deal that wasn’t always pretty, because life seldom is, but was perfect in its raw honesty and steadfastness. He had given me an unconditional love, so like the one He modeled here on earth, and He delighted in watching us dance and laugh in our romance.
This was the only way I could understand our marriage, why it was so perfectly imperfect, and such a beautiful mess. It was the only explanation for why I grew to love this man more and more, each and every day, even as our bodies aged and our worse idiosyncrasies emerged. It was the only thing that made sense in a heart that thought it couldn’t possibly hold any more abundant affection, yet somehow each day expanded its walls. He was my gift, my gift of love, my personal representation of Christ’s dedication to me.
My husband would never throw a stone at me, even though I have given him many reasons, but he also knew I wouldn’t lob one back in exchange. I was the desire of Ben’s heart too, and as he had diligently and unabashedly sought Jesus, I had become that love his heart needed. I had become his example of love in the flesh. We had been woven together, with Christ running through us, and the love that had emerged was cataclysmic. Even now as I write it leaves me breathless.
To put it simply, I found the more I sought the Lord, the more He revealed Himself. And the more He revealed Himself in my marriage, in my husband, and in our relationship. I’ve been blessed that this hasn’t been a one-sided deal. We have achieved our happiness through us both investing our time, our time to seek Jesus, our time to seek how to bless one another, our time to show appreciation for the gift of love we’ve been given.
I’m unsure how to end this post, and perhaps that’s fitting. Too often marriages end prematurely, either in divorce, or worse, indifference. So many couples end before they even begin. They never see the kind of love that’s free for their taking, if only they could delight to find it, to understand it’s found in Jesus.
I heard once that you never stop learning. So here’s to us all continuing our education in love, seeking it like it’s the most honored, advanced degree. Never seeing the end of our quest for perfect love, and finding it in our Savior, who blesses us with His love, here on earth, now and forever.