Nobody really knows the inside story of a relationship apart from the two people involved in it. Our marriage certainly didn’t look like a marriage made in heaven from the outset.
I had a troubled, dysfunctional childhood, my parents were divorced and my future mother-in-law clearly disapproved of her son’s choice. We had only been dating for a few months when he proposed to me.
The look of shock-horror on her face when we announced our engagement was testimony to her feelings and a deep concern to me and my fragile self-esteem.
For I came from the wrong side of the tracks and was not the wife she’d envisaged for her youngest son. My background was predominantly working class and impoverished. I was also a loose canon spiritually as I came to faith in a Pentecostal church – horrors for a staunch Evangelical such as she was.
Plus, we married in indecent haste (in her eyes) and really should have waited until I’d completed my nurse training and he had secured gainful employment after leaving university.
But we were young, deeply in love, full of optimism and enthusiasm and committed to making this work.
As we said our vows (the old-fashioned kind), little did we know how taking one another ‘in sickness and in health’
would lead to far more years with the latter than the former.So my mother-in-law was probably right to be at least a little bit doubtful that this union would go the distance.
Even though she was basing her reservations on the knowledge she had then, not on what would happen in the months and years to come.
My Philosopher husband would have to call upon supernatural reserves of patience, perseverance and endurance to cope with the life we had waiting ahead of us.
Not one that either of us signed up for.
But our reality, nevertheless.
Fortunately, my mother-in-law and I became close over time and genuine love and trust eventually bloomed between us. She was a tremendous help and support when our first son was born and she absolutely doted on both grandsons, as they did on her.
Now, as my husband and I celebrate our 38th wedding anniversary, I do so with a tribute to the wonderful man I am so privileged to be married to.
For I wouldn’t be half the woman I am today if he hadn’t stuck by me and continued to pour his love into my heart and life – as he still does every single day.
Here’s to you, sweetheart, beloved husband and greatest friend….
My beloved is like no other
He is chief confidant, encourager,
best friend, counsellor and lover
He has become house-husband
carer, chef, chauffeur, gardener,
joy bringer, helper and life sharer
My beloved is like no other
He takes broken confidence
trust and low self-esteem,
tenderly gathers the pieces
and patiently reveals
a scene, picture of wholeness
the best I can be in God’s eyes
though pain and sickness conceal it
Laid out before him
my fractured heart, body and life
are now objects of beauty
become companion and wife
as he looks at me with Christ-eyes
of compassion, understanding and patience
enough to cover all trouble and strife
My beloved is like no other
in his desire to see me healed
from the chains of the past
and the part he has played
in bringing to pass the day
when a new me is revealed
Meanwhile, he gives and loves
unselfishly, requiring only
that I respond with the best
of my limited ability
as body, mind, every part
gladly submits to his love
which fills and overflows my heart
And if our marriage didn’t look as if it was a match made in heaven, we have relied heavily on heaven’s resources to keep it going.
There have always been three people in our relationship. It has been greatly enhanced and strengthened by placing our lives, faith and trust in God.
He never leaves us nor forsakes us and a cord of three strands is not quickly broken (Ecclesiastes 4:12).
Without God’s presence, input, enabling and equipping we wouldn’t have made it past the first year, never mind get this far.
He gives us love for one another every day, plus a continual outpouring of grace to cope with tough times.
I know I have been amazingly blessed in the husband that was chosen for me. I am eternally grateful to him for sticking with me and to God for giving him the faithfulness and patient endurance to do so.
And, just as a closing thought, I’d like to encourage you to be aware of the important relationships in your life and consider how much God has blessed you too.
It may not be a life partner or children, but each of us usually has someone influencing and impacting our lives in a positive way.
If you do, then it is good to tell them how much you care about and appreciate them being there for you. You don’t have to wait until it’s an anniversary or special occasion.
How about today?
PS:Just in case you were wondering:
- The rings pictured are a replica of our own wedding rings when shiny and new
- My beloved’s photograph was taken on our wedding day
- This post is one of the “here’s one I made earlier” variety prepared in advance, left to marinade, stirred, seasoned and served up on the appropriate occasion
- A printed copy of the poem made its way into my husband’s card this morning
This reminds me of our approach to being a writer. We see the end product-beautiful and in harmony (most of the time). What we can't see is the beginning filled with rough drafts and erasures. Thank you for sharing this, Joy. I know I'm extremely grateful for God's mercy and grace in my marriage.
What a great analogy! Yes, we only place the final draft for publication once all feels complete in our eyes. People can view a marriage as 'successful' on the outside yet fail to have any awareness of the effort involved in achieving that goal. I'm so thankful we have God's mercy and grace in every aspect of our lives. Thanks very much for this insightful comment, Shelley.
Joy,Beautiful. Just like the union God gave you. I also loved the poem as I'm sure he did too. Congratulations. I hope you celebrate. Thanks for giving us a peek inside your life.
Thank you so much for stopping by to read this, Anne! Your appreciation of the post (and the poem especially) means a lot to me. We may have muted celebrations compared to most, but we certainly mark and celebrate the occasion as best we can.
A beautiful testament, Joy! Thank you for sharing your story…
My pleasure. So pleased you stopped by. Thank you!
Oh, lovely! God bless you both. Here's to years of happiness ahead.
Thanks very much, Helen, for your lovely anniversary toast! It is greatly appreciated. Blessings.
Beautiful, Joy. Such a lovely picture of what marriage is about. Having had to wait a long time for my husband, I treasure him all the more, and sometimes feel overwhelmed with the awesome way God blesses us in marriage.
Yes, Kornelia, it is good to treasure our husbands and see God's hand upon the marriage. Then we cannot fail to be awed at the sustaining mercy, love and grace which holds us together. Blessings to you and your beloved!
Happy anniversary Joy!! I so enjoyed your post. Like yours, my husband is a gift from heaven too. I met my husband at Bible college and married at the end of my second year. With our vows, in sickness and in health – shows the true love of 3 cords strung tightly together, facing many challenges, with hope in our hearts. I am truly thankful too :)Blessings on you and your beloved.
And what a wonderful gift it is to have a faithful, loving husband, isn't it? With God's help we can definitely face "many challenges, with hope in our hearts". Seeing one another as "a gift from heaven" also enables us to be thankful for God's grace and provision in the marriage relationship. So pleased to hear you are similarly blessed, Anita.
Catching up on my blog reading, as I have been behind! I am so glad you are blessed with such a husband. How wonderful that God took care of you by providing this man for you. I feel the same way about my guy who stands by my side no matter what and I do often tell him how grateful I am. 🙂
Hi Rebekah. Great to see you again! Hope the house move went well. Yes, God certainly knew what He was doing when He paired me with my husband, although I wasn't fully aware of the fact for many years. So pleased to hear you are similarly blessed and able to express that to your own beloved.