This isn’t really what I envisioned of marriage. I don’t think many of us do. What most of us want is to be caught up in a whirlwind love that takes your breath away, knocks you off your feet then gently pulls you along. Oh sure, I’ve had moment like that. Moments of rapturous adoration in which I look at him and my heart melts. But few. Very few. Mostly, I feel like I don’t yet know him. And for all the time we have been together and all that I have seen and heard of him, I fear he’s just as much a stranger to me today as he was the day we wed.
Our marriage was planned before my birth. It seems to me that this is all that I was born for. Not because my emotions tell me so, but because my life has been driven by this invisible force pulling us together. It was inevitable, but not altogether unwanted. After all, what little girl doesn’t want to grow up and marry a prince? I had grown up in a fantasy world made of castles in the sky in which he and I lived happily ever after. But here we are and the day in and day out demands of life have slowly pulled my castles in the air down to earth. Our address is no longer Cloud 9 Lover’s Lane. It’s something quite ordinary and less romantic.
I am learning more and more about him everyday. And more and more about marriage in general. Like, despite what they say, love isn’t something you fall into. If you want to compare it to a river, it’s not a downstream float. Love is a raging river, fierce and exciting and terrifying. You don’t just float down it. Your work at it, every muscle in your body working to get you over the rapids of life together as a couple. He and I, committed to one another forever, work daily to stay in the same boat as we face the rapids. The spray of the river often impairs my vision as I try to work alongside him. He seems to always know what he’s doing and I struggle to keep up. The swells, the rocks, all dangerous unless we work together as a team and I must admit, he’s really the only one who knows how to do this.
Lying here tonight with him beside me, I marvel at how little I know this man, how little I know of love, and how much I wish I could be the wife he deserves. I still fight the urge to run. I’ve been fighting it since the day we married. I didn’t know him then, and I still know little of him now. Just when I think I have something of him figured out, he reveals another part of himself that I have to come to terms with. The pieces don’t always fit together, and new revelations gives new form and dimension to old ones. Will I ever understand this man that I love?
Reader: understand that this is but another metaphor of my relationship with Christ, whom I am beginning to know intimately as my Husband. I have wrestled lately to know him more, in light of the fact that I know so little of him in the first place. Sure, I know the scriptures. But knowing scriptures is a small part of knowing the person of Christ. It is through the scriptures that He is first revealed to us, first awakened in us. But there becomes then a daily walk in which He becomes that man beside us, ahead of us, leading us on. For when we take up our cross, we are beckoned to follow Him. Would you follow a man you do not know to a death your flesh does not want? No, of course not. So it stands to reason that He would reveal himself to us in such a way that we can know him and trust him without question. That is the intimacy of relationship. A marriage we were all born for. An arranged marriage between us and Him, in which we come face-to-face with a love that requires work on our part, as we strive to overcome the flesh and embrace Him in spirit and in truth. And as much as He reveals himself to us daily, there is always more to learn. Some of it doesn’t make sense, some of it makes us uncomfortable. Some of it changes things we thought we knew about Him. All of it draws us closer to Him as we surrender our will and our desires to embrace His. As we come to trust Him, we can more readily admit that He knows these waters way better than we do. We can work next to Him, freely allowing Him to take control as it become quite obvious that He is the expert and we are little more than helpful passengers. In the end, however, He is our Prince. Our Husband. Committed for all eternity to love us and care for us, for richer or for poorer, in sickness and in health. And not even death can part us. What a marriage it is, after all!