We are in the midst of planning my daughter’s wedding. She’s picked her dress and the colors. The bridesmaids and groomsmen have been asked. The venue and date have been booked. We are working on the decorations, guest lists, menus and other details for her dream day. But there is one element that will be missing and there’s nothing that can be done. Her daddy will not be there to walk her down the aisle.
The apple of her daddy’s eye, my Gracie had Terry wrapped around her little finger. He doted on her. My son loves to tell the story of his “favorite day”. Normally, if there was a difference in what Zac or Gracie wanted, Gracie was known to come out ahead. And, she had this little refrain that she would sing quietly to her brother “I always get my way. I always get my way.” On this day, she must have been a little louder and her dad heard the sing-song tune. That was the day that Zac got to pick everything they did. He got a pick of any treats. That was the day Terry realized how easily Gracie could manipulate him. She was daddy’s little girl.
Gracie was fourteen when her dad died. She’s lived longer without him than he was on this earth. Both Zac and Gracie have tattoos to honor their dad. Zac’s is a cross with Terry’s name and dates under it. Gracie’s is a brightly colored sugar skull owl. Terry embraced a phrase from the Radio Music Theatre in Houston: “Cute as a little baby owl!” A stuffed toy owl sat on the dash of his truck. This toy was known to find its way onto the stage when Terry was involved in a skit at church. You never knew where you might see it. He would howl with laughter when it was discovered. The owl has become our symbol for Terry.
So, as we plan this wedding, I keep thinking about all the things Terry would be doing. I try to find subtle ways to include his memory in the event. And, I have a charm for her bridal bouquet with a picture of Terry and Gracie sitting on my mom’s sofa. Gracie was in elementary school at the time. Terry may not physically walk her down the aisle, but he will be there as I walk her to the altar. On each table during the reception, there will be a small owl charm. Most won’t know why, but those of us that loved Terry will. Gracie loves brunch (just like her dad) and her wedding cake will not be as much cake as it will be waffles. This day will be filled with laughter and love and a few quirky moments. The daughter of Terry Benson would have to have those. And, there will be a few tears as we remember and celebrate.
This November, when my beautiful red head walks down the aisle to her new husband, I suspect I will hear Terry’s voice say “She’s just as cute as a little baby owl” and maybe a little sing-song child’s voice chanting “I always get my way. I always get my way.”
I’ve read several articles recently about celebrity couples that are divorcing. Most of them contain a statement similar to this: “they still love each other very much, but. . .” The current quarantining was listed as the turning point in many of the articles. One entry said they have “felt more like brother and sister”. All I can do is shake my head.
What is Love? Most of us begin our relationships in breathless anticipation. The butterflies and warm bubbly feeling is intoxicating. You don’t want to be separated from your beloved and eagerly anticipate your next encounter. Is that really love? Although there may be some love involved, I think it has more to do with infatuation and even lust. Infatuation is defined as “falling in love with or becoming extremely interested in someone or something for a short time.” While the definition of lust is “a psychological force producing intense desire for an object, or circumstance fulfilling the emotion while already having a significant other or amount of the desired object.” Not very romantic, but very often this is the starting point of love.
How many marriages do I know that were built on the intense desire to be married? It’s being married, part of a couple that is the focus. The “who” in the relationship is often secondary to the need to have someone to love. The picture is all rosy and blissfully wonderful. It’s all about living happily ever after. The object is finding “A” person willing to become “THE” person.
When we are caught up in the excitement of a new connection and the possibility of finding that “one” person, we are able to overlook anything and everything. There are no obstacles that cannot be overcome in claiming this relationship. Much like the fog covers the challenges of climbing a sheer mountain, desire masks the issues that may cause problems in a long term relationship. We disregard the things that would normally signal a need for caution. Repeatedly, the warnings are dismissed. It doesn’t matter if there are hints of anger, unfaithfulness, insobriety, detachment, or domination. The tendency is to ignore differences in faith, questions about step-parenting roles, and the handling personal finances. The hard questions are left unasked rather than risk lifting the curtain and ending the dream.
There is a very big difference between infatuation and being in love. Infatuation is when you first see someone that you are attracted to and immediately feel there is a connection based on that whereas love is knowing the good and bad of someone and still loving them all the same. One cannot be truly in love and be unable to acknowledge the negatives in the relationship. Unconditional love, the love we all say that we want, means we face the good and the bad and love in spite of it all. We are willing to work through the difficult things. We are able to love through the darkness and get to the light.
I understand the “brother and sister” statement. I remember thinking this very thing about my first husband. Our relationship was good, just not very exciting. We had two very active teenagers. Life was busy. We spent our time together, but after 18 years I wasn’t breathless when he walked into the room. Still, we looked forward to the future together. There are worse things than being married to a really good friend. Trust me. Burying that friend, the husband I planned to live with into old age was far worse. It had been so easy to take our marriage and our love for granted, that I had lost touch with how deeply in love with him I was. I made a promise to myself to never allow that to happen again.
Marriage is characterized as a partnership. So, what happens if:
the partners fail to cooperate?
they don’t participate equally, or don’t agree on major life decisions?
they are no longer physically or emotionally attracted to each other?
when one of the partners treats the partnership unequally?
when one of the partners becomes too sick to do their share?
Do you dissolve the marriage partnership?
I recently read an article by Steven Berman that states:
“Real marriage is not an equal partnership. It’s not a partnership at all. It’s a merger, a permanent joining to create something new.
If you look at marriage as anything other than a lifetime commitment to a mate, you’re looking at something other than marriage. You’re looking at a friendship with benefits, a shack-up, a good time, or a live-in boyfriend or girlfriend. Adding a piece of paper to it labeled “marriage license” adds nothing to the relationship except a tax break.”
Both of my weddings included the vows: “for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, till death do us part,” Sounds pretty permanent to me. Don’t get me wrong, if you are in an abusive relationship – get out!. If you are in danger, you are not being cherished. However, not getting your way, not being happy, or (especially) finding someone more interesting are not reasons to divorce. Marriage is not about what feels good. Marriage is about commitment. Marriage is about giving up everything to join together.
So, what happens when you miss the spark, when the grass looks greener somewhere else? What’s a person to do? Basically, fertilize your own grass and make it the greenest thing around. Put in the work. There’s a psychological term: “Fake it till you make it.” Basically,
“Faking it until you make it only works when you correctly identify something within yourself that’s holding you back. Behaving like the person you want to become is about changing the way you feel and the way you think.”
Accept that you only control yourself and not your partner. Understand happiness and contentment are a choice you make for yourself. Stop placing blame and accept responsibility for where you are in this marriage. Offer love with no conditions, no reciprocation. And, I think most importantly, immerse yourself in God’s love and continually pray for your partner. Not what you want to see changed, but for true God’s guidance for your partner. In the best marriages both people are giving more than themselves, which is impossible if you don’t believe in anything more than yourself. A union of two people beyond the physical requires something beyond the physical to bind us. Emotions are not enough.
“Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.”
Ecclesiastes 4:12 NIV
Looking for the best that God has for you will bleed into your relationship(s). As you focus on Him and His plan for you, the greener pasture becomes your own. You are able to love even the most unlovable. You will find happiness & joy in a way you never imagined. Even if your marriage partner doesn’t get it. God will and He will honor your faithfulness.
“Everything in the world is about to be wrapped up, so take nothing for granted. Stay wide-awake in prayer. Most of all, love each other as if your life depended on it. Love makes up for practically anything.”
We’ve all heard the story of “The Three Little Pigs’. The first little pig built his house out of straw. The second little pig used sticks. The third pig used bricks. The wolf was able to “huff and puff” and blow down the first and second houses, but the brick house withstood his efforts. As a child in VBS, I also remember singing the song about the foolish man and the wise man:
The wise man built his house upon the rock The wise man built his house upon the rock The wise man built his house upon the rock And the rains came tumbling down
The rains came down and the floods came up The rains came down and the floods came up The rains came down and the floods came up And the house on the rock stood firm
The foolish man built his house upon the sand The foolish man built his house upon the sand The foolish man built his house upon the sand And the rains came tumbling down
The rains came down and the floods came up The rains came down and the floods came up The rains came down and the floods came up And the house on the sand went smash.
So, how many of us truly heed the warnings of these two children’s stories?
We live in a “microwave” world. We have no patience to wait for anything. We eat fast food, drink coffee from pods, use credit to the extreme, treat sex as a dating option, and seek “happiness” above all else. We’ve lost the need or the desire to plan, wait and/or build something of value. We struggle and come apart over the “stuff”. We live in a culture that confuses wants with needs. I NEED a bigger house. I NEED a new car. I NEED the new phone. I NEED to be happy. I NEED to have the BEST.
Instead of being content with what we can afford, we buy and sell and trade. We save for the temporary things that we will tire of when the next newest thing is unveiled. But, we forget about investing in the things that matter. We are so intent in our pursuit of happiness, that people and relationships become secondary. We don’t take the time to repair and/or build our marriages or relationships. We treat relationships that should be the most precious with less regard than the latest IPhone.
As we build relationships, we establish a solid footing for marriage. We build the brick house for ourselves. When sex becomes the basis for my happiness, I build a house of straw or sticks without a foundation. A challenge or problem within the fragile walls will knock it down. I know that I’m old school. I do believe in the marriage vows “to have and to hold from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and health, until death do us part.” Unfortunately, the truth of many a marriage is this: “to have and to hold today, (unless you disappoint me or become a bigger liability than an asset to my happiness) or until something better comes along.”
I do believe that we have to return to our strong belief in family values. I do not advocate the “Leave it to Beaver” life, but I do believe that marriage and family have to come first. My children were always important to me. I was the typical Momma Bear and they knew they could depend on me to stand up for them. However, my husband came first. If I did not focus on building a strong marriage, my kids wouldn’t have the family that they needed. These are the “bricks” that I have found critical to a successful life/marriage:
My Relationship with God
My Relationship with my spouse
Taking care of my children
I met both of my husbands through church. Faith has been a huge part of each of my marriages. Without God, I could not have survived some of the things I have endured. We believe that God is in control. We have to trust in Him for all our needs. My kids were also raised in the church. I would make a pallet on the floor of the gym where we had services and lay my baby on it while I practiced the hymns and/or offertories on the piano. Gracie learned hymns in the womb with I practiced. The church was a 2nd home to my children. Sunday’s were not optional. We would be in church that day. Never a question.
Date nights every month away from our kids are important. When my children were small and money was tight, we were known to drop them off with a sitter and go home to watch TV alone. It was what we did as much as just building time together, alone. It’s important to spend time growing together. It’s so easy to get pushed apart with children in the house. There’s so much to do. Sleep is often at a premium. It’s work to remain a couple and not just co-parents.
I’ve spent my life being a working a mom. I went to the office and sometimes traveled for work. I don’t think my children ever felt slighted. In fact, after being laid off and home for 9 months, they were ECSTATIC when I returned to the work force.
There are many, many options in life. I would challenge myself as well as others to decide which battles in which you engage. Is the fight for newest or the best “thing” critical to your life? Or, will it just bring a moment of happiness and feed the “NEXT” wolf? Will my house stand against the huffing and puffing?
Knowing the correct password—saying ‘Master, Master,’ for instance—isn’t going to get you anywhere with me. What is required is serious obedience—doing what my Father wills. I can see it now—at the Final Judgment thousands strutting up to me and saying, ‘Master, we preached the Message, we bashed the demons, our God-sponsored projects had everyone talking.’ And do you know what I am going to say? ‘You missed the boat. All you did was use me to make yourselves important. You don’t impress me one bit. You’re out of here.’
“These words I speak to you are not incidental additions to your life, homeowner improvements to your standard of living. They are foundational words, words to build a life on. If you work these words into your life, you are like a smart carpenter who built his house on solid rock. Rain poured down, the river flooded, a tornado hit—but nothing moved that house. It was fixed to the rock.
“But if you just use my words in Bible studies and don’t work them into your life, you are like a stupid carpenter who built his house on the sandy beach. When a storm rolled in and the waves came up, it collapsed like a house of cards.”
We have a blended family that includes 5 adult
children that range in age from 20-30 years old. We are firmly entrenched in the marriage
stage of life. So far, we’ve had 3
weddings: Zac in 2016, Kyle in 2018 and
Reagan was married this weekend. Three
down and two to go.
As a parent, there are lots of thoughts and emotions
that arise when one of your children moves toward marriage. You want the best for your child. You pray they are making sound choices. There’s the joy (and lets be honest the stress)
of adding another person to your family as well as the new extended family. Weddings are fun, beautiful, joyful,
frustrating, tiring and hard work. And,
after the party is over, the REAL work begins in earnest.
Marriage is a constant exercise in give and
to statistics, almost 50 percent of all marriages in the United States will end in divorce or separation. Researchers estimate that 41 percentof all
first marriages end in
divorce. Of the remaining 50 to 59 percent of
marriages, I wonder how many would rate their marriages as “successful”. I love being married. I was married for 18 years, widowed for 10
years and celebrate my fourth anniversary in a few months with my new
husband. I had a successful first
marriage and I consider my current marriage a success.
So, what makes marriage so difficult? I think the answer is pretty simple: selfishness. When I concentrate on “ME” and “MY WANTS”, I cannot put my marriage first. My selfishness takes precedence. I recently saw a sign that said: “Want a bad marriage? Put yourself first. “Want a good marriage? Put your spouse first. “Want a great marriage? Put God first.”
There is so much truth in these words. If I concentrate on what God wants, I will take care of my spouse. It doesn’t matter if my spouse reciprocates. I am still responsible for seeking a Godly marriage. And if my spouse also seeks a Godly marriage, so much the better!!
We’ve all heard and/or read 1
Corinthians 13, also known as “The Love Chapter”. I find that putting scripture into my own words, makes it a little
more real to me. This is my personal interpretation
of a few of the love verses.
1 Corinthians 13:4-7, 13 (Melissa’s
Love is valuable. It is worth everything to me.
Love keeps going even through the hard
gives to others instead of taking for itself.
is happy in its’ own yard. There are no greener pastures.
doesn’t exist only when it gets attention. Love
doesn’t allow my selfish wants to conflict with those I love.
doesn’t manipulate to get its’ way.
plays 2nd fiddle at times.
is calm in the face of conflict or disappointment.
has learned the art of forgive and forget.
doesn’t take pleasure in making others beg for attention
speaks the truth (even when it hurts.)
withstands any attack.
is from God and trusts that He is in control.
often wears “rose colored” glasses and sees the good in a difficult situation.
never asks “what if” and longs for something (or someone) else Love stands firm and stays true to its’
vows and commitments.
There are three things that will make me successful in life: Trust, Hope and Love. And Love is the one that is my focus.
We all crave love. We want to be adored and cherished. Too often, however, we confuse lust with love and settle for less than the best God has for us. We have found that we can avoid solving issues within relationships by moving on to new relationships. There is excitement in the chase. We use the excuses “I’m just not happy and I deserve happiness”, “We’ve just grown apart and have nothing in common”, or (the biggest lie from Satan) “God wouldn’t have brought him/her into my life if He didn’t want me to be with him/her.” Just as Eve allowed the Serpent to persuade her to eat the forbidden fruit, we listen to the world and throw love and commitment to the wolves in order to have a moment of excitement and fun.
As my children begin and continue
to grow their marriages and their own families, I pray that the words of 1
Corinthians 13 will ring true and keep them on the true path.
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, and it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, and always perseveres.
And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.
My husband knows I love fresh flowers. Nearly every week, he fills my crystal vase
with flowers. Often he selects roses, but we’ve had many different types. I truly enjoy the various blooms. Last week, I heard our girls discussing the dozen
red roses in the vase that sat on top of the kitchen counter. One said “Don’t waste money on flowers, save
it for jewelry.” They all seemed to
agree on the concept. It’s a sentiment I’ve heard through the
If you know Tim, you know he is “thrifty”. He doesn’t buy extravagant bouquets. My weekly flowers come from the selection at
the grocery store. They are not
expensive, but that doesn’t change their beauty or their meaning to me.
I appreciate good jewelry.
My wedding ring is a symbol of the endless, eternal love we share. Tim designed it to represent two broken
people coming together to become one. It
is precious to me. But, as much as I
love the meaning behind this ring, there is so much more to building a lasting,
successful marriage. Marriage is all
about daily sacrifice. Every day, I commit
myself to making my marriage better.
Sometimes that means I don’t get what I want. Sometimes that means I step back and put my
husband’s needs ahead of my own.
Sometimes, we both make sacrifices in the best interest of our family. There are days that aren’t spectacular and in
fact there are more ordinary days than extraordinary in this day to day life.
A vase filled with flowers remind me how fragile
relationships can be. Flowers are beautiful. If I keep them watered
and protected, I will get days and maybe weeks of beauty. Still, they fade. New flowers must be added to the vase to
continue to enjoy them. If they are
neglected, the water turns green and fungus begins to grow. Before too long, the vase is stained and
marred forever from neglect and disuse.
Marriages are just as fragile. I have
to pay attention and care about the details.
I cannot assume that the first days of romance will effortlessly continue. I need to renew my commitment to my marriage,
to my romance every day. Just as fresh
flowers can refill the vase, fresh attention replenishes a marriage. Are there days when I don’t really want to
invest in my relationship? Of course there are.
Sometimes, I have the RIGHT to be upset, depressed or angry. But, I cannot allow those moments to turn
into days or weeks of selfish indignation.
At some point, I have to pull up my big-girl panties and decide what is
most important. The world will tell me that I deserve to be
happy. The flowers remind me that happiness
can be fleeting. But, the joy I find in my marriage, much like the crystal vase
that holds and provides for the flowers, will stand strong and ready.
I hope my husband never tires of giving me flowers. For every flower reminds me of our love: past, present and future.
I learned a lot from grief.
I learned that my identity was as a wife, a mother and a daughter. When I lost my husband, and later my dad, a lot
of what made me feel whole seemed to disappear.
For years, I submerged myself in my role as “mom”. I needed my kids as much as they needed
me. As they grew up and moved on with
their lives, I again lost my touch point, my anchor. Where did I belong? How would I make a difference? It was a struggle. I forgot what it meant to be just “me”.
Have you ever felt the effects of too much caffeine? That jumpy, panicky feeling became normal for
me. Most days, I felt like I need to
crawl out of my own skin. On the days when my kids weren’t around or I
didn’t have to work, I stayed in bed. It
was easier to sleep than to face my reality.
I didn’t keep up with my house or
my yard. I avoided being at home as much
as I could. I didn’t know how to ask for
help. I didn’t know if there was any
help. I was overwhelmed. I was supposed to be strong and I was embarrassed
to admit that I was failing in every area.
I just tried to keep my head above water.
I lived this way for almost 10 years. I knew I had to get used to my new “normal”
and believed that I had dealt with my grief.
I helped with grief recovery groups.
I put on a good face. I didn’t
realize that I was living with depression.
All the things that had given my life meaning seemed to be
disappearing. My son and daughter didn’t
need a hands-on mom. I had accepted that
I would live out the rest of my life alone.
It had been long enough. I had to get over it all. I had to close the door on the part of my
life that wanted to be loved and accepted.
But, I had a friend that listened to me. A friend heard what I said and what I didn’t
really want heard. He asked questions I
didn’t want to answer. He probed into
areas that were off-limits. He
recommended counseling. He encouraged me
to trust again. He challenged me to open
the doors that I had closed and sort through those emotions and dreams. He waited patiently to be allowed into all
areas of my life.
There are many that question the choices I’ve made over the
last four years. And, there are those that frankly, just
disapprove of the life I now have. I’ve
heard the whispers and I’ve seen the looks.
I don’t have any doubts that I am
exactly where I need to be. I married my
dearest friend. I have never felt safer
or more secure. I am loved deeply and
completely. Our life is not without its
challenges and frustrations, but we face them together.
I have learned that grief is love turned upside down. I will never give up the opportunity to
experience a deep and passionate love in order to avoid the pain of grief. Love is worth EVERYTHING!
I recently saw an article titled “If Your Husband Does These 13 Things, You Hit the Marriage Jackpot”. As I read through the 13 items, I was quite pleased. I DEFINITELY hit the jackpot with my husband!
He encourages and inspires you.
He can comfort and calm you.
He still flirts with you.
He works hard.
He loves spending time with you.
He loves and respects his mother.
He complements you often.
He is selfless.
He says “I love you” often.
You are his #1 priority (after his relationship with God.)
He surprises you.
You are a team.
He admits when he is wrong.
As I looked at the list, I began to wonder: Does my husband believe that he also hit the jackpot, or do I tend to be more of a pothole? A Jackpot is something we all want. We avoid potholes. They cause damage and expand with every contact. I want my husband to see how deeply I treasure him. At times, I may require more than I offer, but I will strive to be the “jackpot” wife he deserves.
Today is a day of remembrance for me. Thirty-one years ago, I married my first husband, Terry Benson. The memories of that day are happy if a little bittersweet. In sixteen days, we will note the 13th anniversary of Terry’s death.
Terry and I loved each other very much. We laughed, cried, fought and loved a lot over the 18 years we had together. We watched our kids grow into teens and enjoyed their activities both together and separately. I loved him so much that I struggled with how to let him go
If you have never experienced widowhood, it’s hard to explain the emotions that go with it. There’s the obvious loss of the person. But, there is also a loss of identity. I had been part of a couple for so long and it was hard to be “just me” again. I was not longer Terry’s wife. So, I took refuge in being Zac and Gracie’s mom. I missed all of the things that I had come to take for granted. No longer would Terry drive me to work and drop me off at the front door. He was no longer there to pack my lunch. When I got really irritated at work, I couldn’t call and hear him tell me it would be okay. When the kids activities conflicted, I had to choose which one would have to go it alone or figure out how to be two places at once. When the car broke down or had a flat, I now had to deal with it. I had to figure out what bills had to be paid and when. And, I had to figure out how to sleep at night without the sound of his breathing.
I managed the life of a widow for almost 10 years. I thought I was pretty well adjusted and capable as a single adult. I had even learned to enjoy life again. And then love came knocking. Love in my fifties was a bit different that in my twenties. We both had a history and the baggage that goes with that. We had different experiences from our previous marriages and quite honestly, different expectations because of that. And, we had five children who all had an opinion.
As I admitted my love for Tim, my new husband, I had to question how I could love both men so deeply. I struggled with feeling like I was cheating on Terry. Even though he had been dead for almost a decade, my heart still ached to hear his voice. I had promised to love him until “death do us part” and I had yet to release my heart from that promise. As well as I thought I had handled my grief, there were lots of things that I had never addressed. I had buried my depression with activity. I was so accustomed to “putting on a brave face” that I almost forgot what it was to be honest about my feelings. So, ten years later, I was in counseling trying to sift through all of these emotions.
I am still amazed at how deeply I love now. Tim is very gracious and we share many sweet memories of Terry together. I am so grateful that he is not threatened by my memories. God allowed me the double blessing of loving completely not once, but twice. I will never forget the life that Terry and I shared. I will tell our grandson, Joshua Terry about his Papa Terry when he’s older. And I will continue to be grateful for both of my husbands. God has truly blessed me in so many ways
“But those who trust in the LORD will find new strength. They will soar high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint.” Isaiah 40:31
Today, is my 3rd anniversary, the end of one year and the beginning of another in our marriage. I still have moments when I can’t believe that I am Mrs. Douglas. I get to watch him work around the house. I hear his wonderful piano playing. I spy him coaching my daughter how to install cabinets or floors or plumbing. I see him sleeping next to me and say a prayer of thankfulness for this journey in my life.
Our marriage hasn’t been smooth sailing. There have been lots of bumps along the way, some bigger than others. And we have survived. We have learned that their are friends that stick with you through thick and thin. And sadly, that there are others that are just along for the fun and disappear during stress. We’ve endured snide comments and remarks both before and after our wedding. And, through it all, I am so glad that we are together.
I’ve learned that happiness is a choice. No one person or thing will make me happy. But, our marriage has offered numerous opportunities for me to choose happiness. I’m am reminded that love can be hard. However, the benefits of loving another so completely are without measure. I know that blending two families offers immense challenges. And, I adore all five of our kids and their spouses/significant others and the effort it takes to get us all together. It’s worth it all!
As we begin the 4th year of our marriage, I am thankful for the wonderful man that is my husband. He is kind and generous. He never meets a stranger. He shelters me and treats me as if I’m made of glass. I love the compliments he gets for pulling out my chair and opening the door for me, acts of chivalry that are not often seen these days. He says what needs to be said and not just what I want to hear. He listens when I disagree or just need to talk it out. He loves me deeply and expresses that in so many ways. I am truly blessed to have him in my life.
I look forward to all the things that God will do in our lives. I KNOW that He has a plan to use both of us. I KNOW that we are loved and cherished Kids of the King. I KNOW that we will have difficulties in the days to come. And, I KNOW that I serve a God that answers prayers so I continue to pray for the miraculous and the wonderful in our lives as well as those that surround us.
His words are kisses, his kisses words. Everything about him delights me, thrills me through and through! That’s my lover, that’s my man, dear Jerusalem sisters.
In 2005, my husband died. It was unexpected and it was devastating to me. Many well-meaning people shared scripture that were meant to be comforting. But, at the time, I didn’t find much comfort or even any semblance of truth in many of the verses shared.
“So I will restore to you the years that the swarming locust has eaten,” Joel 2:25a
“then the LORD your God will restore your fortunes and have compassion on you and gather you again from all the nations where he scattered you.” Deuteronomy 30:3
“God blessed Job’s later life even more than his earlier life. He ended up with fourteen thousand sheep, six thousand camels, one thousand teams of oxen, and one thousand donkeys. He also had seven sons and three daughters.” Job 42:12-13
I didn’t understand how some unknown thing in the future would ever replace what I had lost when my husband died. How could the years we lost together be restored? My husband was dead. Nothing could ever replace him in my heart. Nothing new would replace what I had lost. I couldn’t accept that any of these promises was meant for me, personally. I was in pain. I grieved the loss of my life as I knew it and as I had dreamed that it would be.
But now, I see. I have a new marriage and with it a new extended family. My new husband is not a replacement for the one I lost. I will always grieve that death in some way. One doesn’t love completely and then forget that relationship. But, this new marriage has taught me that I can love again, that my life did not end. I have been given a chance to experience a deeply passionate love, once again.
This marriage is different from the one I began in my twenties. This marriage is founded on a long-standing friendship and maturity that I lacked 30 years ago. I can love more completely because I understand the fragility of life and relationships. I have learned to give all now, because I do not know what tomorrow holds in this life. I try not to miss a chance to say “I Love you” for I have determined to never again regret words not spoken. I cherish the quiet breaks, the silly moments, the busy times and even the heated, uncomfortable times; for they represent all the things that form a lasting and loving relationship. I vow to speak positively about my husband and to honor him in my words and actions. I am aware how important it is for my all of my children (both through birth and marriage) to have a model of stability to use as a pattern in their own lives.
This marriage of almost 3 years will never replace the 18 years of my first marriage. This marriage is new. This marriage is a blessing of restoration and joy. I can truly say the God has blessed my later life even more than my earlier life. He has restored my joy.
“You’ve kept track of my every toss and turn through the sleepless nights, Each tear entered in your ledger, each ache written in your book.
God, you did everything you promised, and I’m thanking you with all my heart. You pulled me from the brink of death, my feet from the cliff-edge of doom. Now I stroll at leisure with God in the sunlit fields of life.”