Monday, February 9, 2009
When Sinners Say "I Do"
I am a sinner. My husband is a sinner. We said "I Do" on July 17, 2004. Together, we are going through a study for couples at our church, called "When Sinners Say 'I Do'". Yesterday afternoon was our first session. It was really good. We just went over the first chapter of the book by Dave Harvey.
There is an accompanying study guide, and there are small group questions, as well as reflection questions for me to do, and then some for Papa Bear and I to do together.
Here is one of the questions:
Think about an ordinary experience from your marriage this week--a change in plans, a conflict, an unexpected surprise. How did you handle that experience (in words and deeds)? And what did that even reveal about your view of God in that moment?
Here's how I answered:
Last week, my husband was notified that their company's western division would not be getting their annual bonuses. This means that loads of people will not get close to $2000 bonus. When my husband called to let me know this, I nearly cried. We had really been counting on this bonus, so it was really disappointing. Hubby's answer to my disappointment was "The Lord is our Shepherd", to which I readily agreed. I KNOW that God will take care of us no matter what.
Then my husband called me back about 10 minutes later and asked me to pray for him. I could hear the sadness in his voice as he let me know how disappointed he was.
This is so different from something that happened about a year and a half ago. Hubby called to let me know that some friends who had JUST gotten married a couple of months previously, were pregnant. I cried. I said "It's not fair!" My thinking was we had been trying and praying and that hubby and I had done things right and we were married and Christians, so why wasn't God allowing us to get pregnant? It really hurt. Then on top of that, he said "How can you say God's not fair? Why are you so upset?" NOT what I wanted to hear!!! I really felt like I had just been caught with my hand in the cookie jar, so to speak. Like I was being chastised...parent to child. I hurt so much that I said I had to go, and hung up the phone. (Now, you must know that Papa Bear and I do NOT do things this way. We rarely have "fights", and when we do have disagreements, they are resolved quickly.)
I didn't answer the phone the next few times he called. I didn't answer his email. I went into the bedroom and cried and cried. I couldn't call anyone, because I just don't do that. I won't bemoan or badmouth my husband to anyone. I prayed a lot. Then a few hours later, I wrote him via email, letting him know how I felt, and I asked him "Why is it that your reaction is always so good? Why can't you just show me your NORMALNESS...your humanity? Why do I have to feel like I'm going through this heartache of not being able to get pregnant by myself?"
I did answer the phone the next time he called. He apologized, and said that he had already had about an hour to process the information he got about his friends' pregnancy. I said "Well, why couldn't you let ME in on that piece of information???" He said that he felt hurt and disappointed at first too. But why couldn't he show me that side of things? Why did he just have to show me the "super-spiritual, it's all God's plan" side of things? I don't deal well with that when I hurt so profoundly. My husband explained that he loves me and reminded me that he is in battles constantly dealing with pressures to perform, provide, the worlds values, the immodestly dressed women, daily doubts, daily failures and simply fought with this in his mind like he does with most other problems and distressing events. He refers to it like a mental hand to hand combat or Jiu-Jitsu with Bible verses that help him gain resolve and a spiritual footing quickly and bring his mind to where it needs to be. I told him that I am not used to thinking that way and process things differently, even though I believe those things but just it just takes me longer to get there but I could really understand why he has to be that way.
So back to last week....I was very happy that he called and let me know that he was disappointed and sad too. It made me feel like he really cared about my feelings and also let me know that he IS human. It made me realize that this wasn't one of those things that he was going to chalk up as "That's just how I am, and I'm sorry if you don't like it. Deal with it." That's not in hubby's character at all. I realized that he had heard what I said and felt a year and a half ago, and wanted to show me that he wanted to change how he did things...for me.
What did that reveal about my view of God? That He knew what kind of man I would need for a husband, and He was and is faithful, and He loves me. God knew that I would need a man who wasn't so full of pride that he couldn't change his ways to make me realize how much he loves me. He knew that I would need a man who would pick me up out of my sorrow and my self-pity and point me to Jesus, and to the promises of God, which are always faithful and true.
I hope this made sense. I highly encourage you to pick up this book. If you are single and engaged, or if you have been married for 40 years, this is an excellent book to go through. I am so excited to see what it will bring over the next 4 weeks!