Today is our 29th wedding anniversary.
Watching my own newlywed daughters work at their marriages makes me smile. They seem so much more mature is some ways than myself at their ages. Maybe it is because they have had the chance of seeing me make so many mistakes along the way. Homeschooling means you are together a lot, and that doesn’t always allow you to hide your ugly side from your children.
When we were married, our pastor wanted us to write letters to our future spouses’ parents, and my letter to my in-laws would be embarrassing for me to read now, all these years later. It said something to the effect that I saw a lot of potential in their son. What I really meant was, there was potential for change, and it would be up to me to help in the process. Woe to any young bride who goes into marriage with a thought like that.
Oh how we laugh when watching re-runs of the Red Green Show, especially when all of the men stand at the end to take the Possum Lodge Oath; “I’m a man. I can change. If I have to. I guess.” They say it with completely defeated, monotone voices and I possibly laugh loudest, because it hits me the hardest. I’m sure, throughout the years, I have expected my husband to take the exact oath, and I would be by his side to help him carry it out!
Elisabeth Elliot, wife of Jim Elliot, shared a wise observation in her book, Love Has a Price Tag.
“My second husband once said that a wife, if she is very generous, may allow that her husband lives up to eighty percent of her expectations. There is always the other twenty percent that she would like to change, and she may chip away at it for the whole of their married life without reducing it very much. She may, on the other hand, simply decide to enjoy the eighty percent, and both of them will be happy.”
I shamefully admit that I have thought, “If I could take only the positive qualities I see in other men and somehow put them all together to create the ‘perfect’ husband, then, I would be happy.” After all, then he would be all-knowing, all-caring, always available, always creative, always handsome…Hmm…. sounds like I’m describing the only One who can truly bring me joy in life. Once I realized the error of my ways, it cleared up a lot of unfair expectations I had in my mind regarding my husband.
Instead of changing him, which is not my job anyway, I figured out I was the one who needed some changing and am learning to ask God daily to do the heart surgery it requires.