Monday, October 21, 2013

I Do

I eyed my husband skeptically out of the corner of my eye as we walked along the gravel path. He was walking carefully, holding his back stiff as he cautiously walked along. I knew this wasn't his favorite thing in the whole world to do, especially with a back that won't quit doling out pain in large doses.

I also knew that he knew it was something I would enjoy.

Every little girl dreams of her Prince Charming, her beautiful white wedding, her Happily Ever After. My parent seemed to struggle with their Happily Ever After, causing me to wonder with uncertainty if there would actually ever be one for them--or for me. I was determined that my husband would sweep me off my feet, that we'd be the perfect married couple, that I would find my Happily Ever After, that all those other married couples must have it all wrong.

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He proved himself sweet, kind and romantic, the perfect Prince Charming in a blue Dodge Stratus. And when he proposed, I knew he was The One.

Ah. Newlywed bliss. My Happily Ever After, all wrapped up in a handsome, dark-haired, 6 foot 3 inch man.


I expected my husband, with all his wonderful qualities, to fill every void I had ever had in my entire life. Poor guy. He probably never knew what hit him until after the I do's. And when he didn't meet those high expectations, I became upset. I didn't see how he couldn't understand how my needs needed to be met.

I tend to think of myself as a Mary Poppins-type of spouse--Practically Perfect in Every Way. In my mind, I rarely do wrong, and if I do, it's only because someone else practically set me up. I am not annoying. Or irritating. Or frustrating. (Well, I'm sure it's frustrating when I run late, but really, how frustrated can a person get over these things?)
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Sometimes I think it would be beneficial to go back and reread those vows we took 14 years ago. We said them one time, in front of friends and family and the preacher. But when the newly-wed bliss rubbed off and real life set in, I realized that my Prince also didn't like to dance, drove like a maniac, could argue with me until I didn't know what I was arguing about anymore, and would fall asleep while sitting up watching tv (sometimes in mid-sentence). Frustration set in, and my perfect Happily Ever After was threatened by Real Life.

I, (name), take you (name), to be my (wife/husband),
to have and to hold from this day forward,
for better or for worse,
for richer, for poorer,
in sickness and in health,
to love and to cherish;
from this day forward
until death do us part.

He'll never chase me through an airport or chase my taxi through New York City traffic on a motorcycle declaring his eternal and undying love for me. We'll probably never find ourselves on the tip of a Titanic-sized ship as it's going down, and I'm guessing he'll never sit behind me as we turn a clay vase together. But these are grand, movie-sized, theatrical ideas that don't represent real life at all.

Instead, it's the small moments in our relationship that mean the most. He doesn't hold grudges, not even after an arguement, and he's always ready with open arms and a kiss to make up. He plans all our vacations, down to the very last detail. He drives an hour away with his wife while his back is sore so that she can have a much-needed weekend away.

And then he walks a trail with her. And takes her out to dinner. And sits on an uncomfortable couch in an uncomfortably warm cabin with her feet in his lap.

It took me a long time to understand that God wants to fill all those voids in my heart. I can't expect my husband to.

It's a God-shaped hole.

And only God will do.

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