He came dragging in late again, and I watched closely as he set down his bag and slipped off his shoes. He looked so tired, and my heart went out to him. I crossed the room and silently wrapped my arms around him tightly, holding the embrace a little longer than usual. Finally I whispered, “welcome home.”
He had been coming home late a lot recently. Work was busy, which in essence was a good thing considering his role in the business, but I felt bad for him nonetheless. His new responsibilities brought with them a great deal of pressure, and I could read it in the lines on his forehead and the circles under his eyes, as if stress itself had etched it there.
My wife heart wrung its hands helplessly, and I opened my mouth, but no words came out. I grappled for communication that would convey what my heart wanted to say. I’m proud of you. Your hard work doesn’t go unnoticed.
Finally I spoke with compassionate concern, “how was your day?”
His reply was much the same as the late night before. “Busy. Long. Good.”
The words coming from his mouth said “good,” and I knew that was true, but unspoken they also conveyed, I’m exhausted. And once again my wife heart sympathized for him. I wanted to reach out and take some of the burden from his cup, even if just for a moment.
Have you ever loved someone so much that you wanted to take their struggle away, that you desired to make it somehow better? To fix it?
He had a hot, home-cooked meal waiting on the stove. The house was clean, the children were too. I loved him, and he knew it. He knew too of the pride I held for him. I told him often. Basically I was doing all I knew I could do. I was offering support, a listening ear, and plenty of affection. Yet I wanted to do more. I needed to do more.
I wanted to fix it. I wanted to take the hard away and replace it with only good times and laughter, but I couldn’t. I couldn’t fix my husband, I couldn’t save him, and I couldn’t take away the difficulties from his life. I couldn’t do any of these things any more than I could have changed him years ago when we first got married.
I had desired to at the time, to change him, and though, thankfully, he was so very different now than he had been then, I knew his transformation had nothing to do with a dutiful wife. Sure, the faithful prayers had helped I suppose, but in the end I hadn’t fixed him then either. But God had.
This morning as I prayed again for my husband as he slept, I reflected on how the Lord had changed his life. Our lives. He alone had brought things to the blessed station where they now stood, and His faithfulness was unchanging.
Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us,
I cannot fix my husband. I cannot make his work less exhausting or somehow shorten the day. I cannot take away the stress he feels to provide for his family, and I cannot take his burden and make it my own. But I can love him, support him, and pray for him. I can trust God to give him the strength he needs, and to guide him daily. I can trust God with his life, and listen attentively for what I may do to assist in the matter. I can be his helpmate, my most favorite calling, but some things are outside of my control.
Some things I just can’t fix. So instead I simply trust the one who can.