When Did I Stop Caring?

Getting ready to pick my husband and his cousin up from the airport, I was about to throw on a t-shirt and jeans.  Something made me stop and reconsider my outfit.  Maybe I should put more thought into my presence.  After all, he had driven 2,000 miles to deliver our son’s car to his Air Force base in California.  He had then flown back to Wisconsin and was surely deserving more than a frumpy wife greeting.

“When did I stop caring?” was my next thought.  Because quite honestly, I can’t remember the last time I was concerned with the way I look for my husband.

Was it after I “landed” him and no longer had to try?

Was it after my body changed from having our first child?

Was it when I lost touch with who I am because of the three little ones under my feet?

Did it happen after a few years of aging?

Did “life” just get in the way of us?

T-shirt was replaced with a cute top, my comfy pants with capris and tennis shoes with adorable black wedges.  I even put on some jewelry, makeup and fixed my hair.  I was warmly greeted by my very tired, jetlagged husband.  No, he didn’t seem to notice the effort I had put into my look.  But it really wasn’t about that.  It was something much deeper.  A determination to care not just about the surface stuff but the deeper parts of marriage.

To not take my husband for granted.  To not forget we began this adventure with just the two of us, and once the kids are gone, it will again be just the two of us.  To take notice.  To make an effort.

To start caring.

Submission Is the Least of My Worries

Whenever I’ve been in a marriage class and the topic of submission comes up, you hear a lot of groans or chuckles.  For me it was never a humorous subject matter.  And it wasn’t even something that rubbed me the wrong way.  My only thought was that submission was the least of my worries.  I needed other kinds of help.  For instance, learning how to like my husband or how to deal with the side of his personality that only I was privy to see.

Although the church’s intentions were great when it came to marriage issues, I always felt like something was missing.  I don’t think they realized that not every wife sitting in that class had a husband who was “on fire for the Lord” or even remotely smoldering.  Yes, even those husbands who showed up at church.

Just as parking your butt in a garage doesn’t make you a car, neither does parking your butt in a pew make you a Christian.  But there always seemed to be this assumption that if your husband was in church, then your marriage just had to follow the Biblical mandates and all would be well.

I’m not going to lie.  The majority of my past, nearly 26 years of marriage, have been challenging.  Only in very recent years has there been a significant positive change.  We’re finally at a place that I don’t worry about us not making it.  But it’s been a long, hard road to get here.

Submission continues to remain the least of my worries but for a different reason.  We finally got this marriage thing together.  And it’s not because I learned how to submit or he even learned to lead.  We just learned how to do this thing together…with God’s help.  I’m not discounting the importance of submission in marriage, but I do believe that other work sometimes has to be done before you can even engage that kind of topic.

Maybe we need more classes such as:

How to Like Your Husband When He’s Gotten on Your Very Last Nerve

 

How to Bite Your Tongue When Your Husband Says Something Hurtful (or Stupid)

 

5 Ways to Desire the Husband Who Never Helps You Out Around the House or With the Kids

I’m joking (sort of).  Marriage is so much more than tackling the issue of submission.  Or even how husbands should love their wives like Christ loves the church.  These are ideal ways to flourish in a marriage.  But I think we’re missing some important steps before we get there.

Oftentimes couples are dealing with circumstances that don’t always get addressed…financial struggles.  Baggage from the past.  Addictions.  Problems with the kids.  Or even the differences between spouses when it comes to maturity in their faith.

Is it just me that thinks submission is the least of her worries in a marriage???

Another Fallen One

Shocked and saddened.  Another Christian marriage ending in divorce.  And this time it was a famous author…one of my favorites.  In fact, I have a picture with her and some of my friends.  I’ve read all of her books.  I follow her blog.  A few years ago, I attended one of her conferences in North Carolina.  How is it possible that her marriage would end???

I feel sorry for her, that the entire world has to know her business.  It’s bad enough when a Christian couple in the church divorces, let alone someone who is a bestselling author.  Because then all the know-it-alls and judgmental people come out.  They all have an opinion and feel it’s their right to declare if she was right or wrong for making the decision to end her marriage.

I just can’t voice my thoughts about a situation I’m not personally familiar with…even though at one time I would have been glad to offer my two cents (which is about all it’s really worth).  It’s so easy to spout off what the Bible says and how others should live it—unless we’re in that position.

There is nothing more humbling than to experience the very thing you judge.  Been there, done that.  The first time I heard about a teen pregnancy at my church, wow, it was amazing how super spiritual I suddenly became.  Then a few years later I would be shocked to learn my 17-year-old daughter was pregnant.  Suddenly my husband and I were on the other end of judgment because surely, we had done something wrong as parents.

It would be great if we could live in this perfect Christian bubble surrounded by perfect Christian people who follow the Bible word for word.  But that’s not reality.  We live in a fallen world.  We’re sinners.  Husbands cheat.  Kids rebel.  Pastors fall.

People sometimes lose their way.  They get caught up in the ways of this world.  They succumb to the temptations.  It’s unfortunate.  Sad.  Heartbreaking.  Tragic.  But this side of heaven it’s what we should expect.  Not until we reach our eternal destination will there be no more divorces, teen pregnancies, addictions, disappointments, lies and death.

Until then, when another believer becomes part of a tragic story, let’s not be so quick to jump on the judgment bandwagon.  We never know if we’ll end up in their shoes or face the unthinkable in other ways.

These days I’m more of the “rejoice with those who rejoice and mourn with those who mourn (Romans 12:15) mindset.  I won’t stop reading that famous ministry leader’s books or unsubscribe to her blog.  I’ll pray for her, that despite the circumstances, she will find a way to cling even closer to God.  And someday…see this trial turned into a testimony for another woman facing divorce.

“There but for the grace of God, go I.” (John Bradford)