Reflective Meandering

Thoughts on faith, people, politics, travel, and transition.

Newlyweds

on July 1, 2014

When we were prepping for our wedding, folks would ask me what I wanted or how they could help and I would often joke, “I’m not sure, I’ve never done this before.” I thought I was done saying that after the “I do,” but boy was I wrong.

Not only had I never planned a wedding before, but I’ve never been married before, I’ve never had a male roommate before (I’ve never shared a bed with a female every night, for that matter!), I’ve never been out of work before, I’ve never lived in the big apple before, and I’ve never tried all of that at once before. This whole marriage thing is something that, truth be told, I was a little nervous about, and truth be told, is not easy.

I knew that it was gonna be tough going into it though. It seems like everyone we talked to about marriage told us how great it is and how hard it is, and everyone was right on both accounts.

I knew from the day that the hubs and I started dating (for the second time) that I didn’t want to be married to anyone else, ever. I knew that he was The One. He was made for me: he compliments me in every way, he is patient with me, and loves me like I’ve never been loved before, but there were moments, passing moments, when I thought that maybe I just shouldn’t get married at all.

I knew even before we were engaged that marriage would be hard. After all, I am Type A. I like what I want to be done, done, done my way, and done in my timing. I’m selfish, opinionated, and passionate. I want to be lead, but I also like to run the show. I want to be cared for, but I am also independent. I like to hang out with folks, but I also like to be by myself. I like to be taught, but I question everything and like to learn things for myself, too; and, I’m always right. I joked with a friend the other day that when I first started dating the hubs, I took him on a roller coaster ride that now he gets to ride for the rest of his life.

I was scared to get married because I knew my faults and was unsure that the hubs would want to look over those for the rest of my life, and frankly, I was scared how the Lord would use our marriage to sculpt me into a better person, to glorify himself.

I may be quirky and difficult, but I like me. I am self-aware, but I’m also confident. I was told by more than one person, and read from more than one book, that God uses marriage to sharpen us, to mold us, to change us, and I didn’t want to change; I still don’t. But, you know, God has ways of nudging us to follow Him, even when we don’t want to. (Watch this little girl tell Jonah’s story: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z4VrujheblY)

The fact is, only having been married for a month, I’ve seen God work to grow me in His truths. Instead of embracing the opportunities He’s provided me to practice being patient, I’ve chosen to become easily hurt and angered; instead of responding to the hubs in kindness, I seethe and recount his past wrongs; instead of being grateful for his willingness to work long hours to provide for us (remembering that I’m without a job), I am jealous of the time he spends at work and with his co-workers. See I Corinthians 13, this is not love. I am derelict in my duty to him, to protect our relationship and to foster trust, hope, and perseverance… and, I’m only one month in!

I feel like the folks C.S. Lewis discusses in The Screwtape Letters, here’s an excerpt of one in which I identify qualities of myself in the woman the demon is being educated on how to effectively tempt (remember when reading that it’s a letter written from one demon to another, and the Enemy referenced is actually God, or the Holy Spirit):

The contemptuous way in which you spoke of gluttony as a means of catching souls, in your last letter, only shows your ignorance. One of the great, achievements of the last hundred years has been to deaden the human conscience on that subject, so that by now you will hardly find a sermon preached or a conscience troubled about it in the whole length and breadth of Europe. This has largely been effected by concentrating all our efforts on gluttony of Delicacy, not gluttony of Excess. Your patient’s mother, as I learn from the dossier and you might have learned from Glubose, is a good example. She would be astonished-one day, I hope, will be-to learn that her whole life is enslaved to this kind of sensuality, which is quite concealed from her by the fact that the quantities involved are small. But what do quantities matter, provided we can use a human belly and palate to produce querulousness, impatience, uncharitableness, and self-concern? Glubose has this old woman well in hand. She is a positive terror to hostesses and servants. She is always turning from what has been offered her to say with a demure little sign and a smile “Oh please, please…all I want is a cup of tea, weak but not too weak, and the teeniest weeniest bit of really crisp toast”. You see? Because what she wants is smaller and less costly than what has been set before her, she never recognises as gluttony her determination to get what she wants, however troublesome it may be to others. At the very moment of indulging her appetite she believes that she is practising temperance. In a crowded restaurant she gives a little scream at the plate which some overworked waitress has set before her and says, “Oh, that’s far, far too much! Take it away and bring me about a quarter of it”. If challenged, she would say she was doing this to avoid waste; in reality she does it because the particular shade of delicacy to which we have enslaved her is offended by the sight of more food than she happens to want.

The real value of the quiet, unobtrusive work which Glubose has been doing for years on this old woman can be gauged by the way in which her belly now dominates her whole life. The woman is in what may be called the “All-I-want” state of mind. All she wants is a cup of tea properly made, or an egg properly boiled, or a slice of bread properly toasted. But she never finds any servant or any friend who can do these simple things “properly”-because her “properly” conceals an insatiable demand for the exact, and almost impossible, palatal pleasures which she imagines she remembers from the past; a past described by her as “the days when you could get good servants” but known to us as the days when her senses were more easily pleased and she had pleasures of other kinds which made her less dependent on those of the table. Meanwhile, the daily disappointment produces daily ill temper: cooks give notice and friendships are cooled. If ever the Enemy introduces into her mind a faint suspicion that she is too interested in food, Glubose counters it by suggesting to her that she doesn’t mind what she eats herself but “does like to have things nice for her boy”. In fact, of course, her greed has been one of the chief sources of his domestic discomfort for many years. The contemptuous way in which you spoke of gluttony as a means of catching souls, in your last letter, only shows your ignorance. One of the great, achievements of the last hundred years has been to deaden the human conscience on that subject, so that by now you will hardly find a sermon preached or a conscience troubled about it in the whole length and breadth of Europe. This has largely been effected by concentrating all our efforts on gluttony of Delicacy, not gluttony of Excess. Your patient’s mother, as I learn from the dossier and you might have learned from Glubose, is a good example. She would be astonished-one day, I hope, will be-to learn that her whole life is enslaved to this kind of sensuality, which is quite concealed from her by the fact that the quantities involved are small. But what do quantities matter, provided we can use a human belly and palate to produce querulousness, impatience, uncharitableness, and self-concern? Glubose has this old woman well in hand. She is a positive terror to hostesses and servants. She is always turning from what has been offered her to say with a demure little sign and a smile “Oh please, please…all I want is a cup of tea, weak but not too weak, and the teeniest weeniest bit of really crisp toast”. You see? Because what she wants is smaller and less costly than what has been set before her, she never recognises as gluttony her determination to get what she wants, however troublesome it may be to others. At the very moment of indulging her appetite she believes that she is practising temperance. In a crowded restaurant she gives a little scream at the plate which some overworked waitress has set before her and says, “Oh, that’s far, far too much! Take it away and bring me about a quarter of it”. If challenged, she would say she was doing this to avoid waste; in reality she does it because the particular shade of delicacy to which we have enslaved her is offended by the sight of more food than she happens to want.

The real value of the quiet, unobtrusive work which Glubose has been doing for years on this old woman can be gauged by the way in which her belly now dominates her whole life. The woman is in what may be called the “All-I-want” state of mind. All she wants is a cup of tea properly made, or an egg properly boiled, or a slice of bread properly toasted. But she never finds any servant or any friend who can do these simple things “properly”-because her “properly” conceals an insatiable demand for the exact, and almost impossible, palatal pleasures which she imagines she remembers from the past; a past described by her as “the days when you could get good servants” but known to us as the days when her senses were more easily pleased and she had pleasures of other kinds which made her less dependent on those of the table. Meanwhile, the daily disappointment produces daily ill temper: cooks give notice and friendships are cooled. If ever the Enemy introduces into her mind a faint suspicion that she is too interested in food, Glubose counters it by suggesting to her that she doesn’t mind what she eats herself but “does like to have things nice for her boy”. In fact, of course, her greed has been one of the chief sources of his domestic discomfort for many years.

You would think having read letters like the one from which I pulled this exceprt, I’d be aware of the work of the true enemy, and would be on guard to combat his efforts with true love. Perhaps one day, but since I’ve been so ignorant of Satan’s efforts, today, I’ll cook the hubs dinner and when we sit down to eat, I’ll seek his forgiveness for neglecting to love him well. And, knowing that this isn’t the first time I’ve had to do so and probably won’t be the last, in humility, I’ll thank him for loving me so well and for allowing the Lord to work in my heart, instead of working to change me himself.

I am so blessed to be loved by a man who loves Jesus, and we are so blessed to know that we aren’t only accountable to each other, but to our Lord as well. There is so much security in having a marriage with a foundation that doesn’t move, the foundation of Christ.

 

 

If you don’t know Jesus, all you have to do is seek him. Those who seek him find him. After all, he came to make a way for you – God gave His only son that we might live in eternity with Him.

 

 

 

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