From the time I was just a little girl, I dreamed about the day that I would marry my “Prince Charming”. I remember planning the dress, and every perfect aspect of my dream reception. For a period of time in the late 1970’s I was certain that John Schneider from the “Dukes of Hazzard” was going to sweep me off of my feet! If not John, then certainly it would be Scott Baio from “Happy Days”. I had never realistically considered the most important aspect of my dream wedding, the groom, until many years later when I was dating my husband. In my dreams, it was all about the wedding.
For most women, I am certain we all fantasized at one time or another about the idea of being swept off of our feet by a man, getting married in a perfect ceremony, and living happily ever after. Most never giving the desired characteristics of a godly husband a second thought. So when we meet “Mr. Right”, we are so often consumed by making our dreams come true on the special day, that we fail to plan for what happens after the wedding…the rest of “til death do we part.”
As I watch my husband of nearly 22 years sleep tonight, I consider that for which I failed to plan. The loss of his parents, illness in mine, the loss of a child, infertility, the miracle of a child, the near loss of our marriage, God saving our marriage, and my chronic illnesses. Time has changed his sweet face. While it’s still the baby face that was hidden under long hair and a beard when we first met during our sophomore year of high school, so much has changed. His beautiful eyes are set a little deeper in his face. Lines carved by time, stress, hard work and heartache adorn his sweet features. Then there is the hair, or lack there of. We always laugh that he had hair when we met, apparently I brought about its demise.
Tonight as he sleeps, preparing for a busy day at work and providing for our family , my heart leads me to Ephesians 5:25. “ Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her.” For the first several years of our marriage, my husband loved me, but not the way Christ loved the church. My husband gave of himself, but never gave himself up for me. All of these years later I realize that we needed to spend far more time preparing for our lives together, rather than simply planning for the day that would mark the beginning of our life as one. How different the lives of couples in this world today might be if we put as much dreaming and planning into making marriage what God directs in Ephesians 5. Women and men alike should abide by the principles God set out for us, not the guidelines of this world.
I’m blessed to say that while we struggled as a couple for the first several years, the Lord poured His never-ending grace upon our marriage. My husband and I were saved many years ago, and our marriage received an amazing, God ordained change. My husband learned to love me the way Christ loves the church. I learned to follow Ephesians 5:22 and “… submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord.” Oh, and that submission I learned, it’s not about being walked on or treated badly as our society might like us to believe. Rather it’s about allowing my husband, who loves Christ first and me second, to lead our family. It’s about me being willing to look to him as the God ordained leader of our home. Most certainly have been times I have questioned his decisions and argued my case. It’s those times we talk, we pray, we debate, and we pray more until God’s plan is clear.
I’ve learned that the most important preparation a young couple could ever make for their wedding, is seeking God’s direction for what comes years after the wedding. For when you trust in the Lord, and seek His guidance with your whole hearts, only then can He teach how to truly love and care for one another.
Those sweet eyes closed beside me have dark circles beneath them. My Love is tired. He needs his rest tonight because in the morning he will awaken and return to the grind of corporate America. While problems will occur, stresses will be heaped atop him, and our family will face whatever is thrown in our paths. The blessing is looking at that face and knowing that no matter what comes our way, we will face it together…in love, with the Lord right beside us in every step that we take.