Thank You, God, For My Husband...
"Teach Us To Count The Days
Teach us to make the days count
Lead us in better ways
That some how our souls forgot
Life means so much
Life means so much
Life means so much
...Every day is a gift
You've been given
Make the most of the time
Every minute you're livin'."
One of my favorite childhood memories is riding in the car to church every Saturday morning with my parents, watching them hold hands while singing the Chris Rice song, together. Both of my parents have beautiful voices, but I can especially hear my mom's comforting voice pouring these words out of her heart as if they held so much personal meaning for her.
I would sit in the backseat and harmonize along with my parents, but for me it was just another pretty song we sang on the way to church. Today, as a grown woman; mother and wife, I look back at my mom and I understand perfectly why the song was so dear to her and my dad. I understand why holding hands was important for them. I wonder to myself, what sort of trials were they going through in their own life for this song to bring them comfort? If I be honest with myself, I was probably the reason for at least a handful of those trials---especially in my teen years!
I have always wanted a marriage like my parents' and if I'm being honest with myself again, when I first got into a relationship with Rich, 5 years ago, I never would have expected it to turn out to be a blessed one. I'm pretty sure he would agree with me. Yet, I couldn't explain at the time why I always knew deep down that he was the man God had prepared for me. Neither of us were at a place in our lives where God seemed to be the center of it, or really even much of a priority at all. We didn't go to church together, and talking about God was more of an awkward thing between us. Later on down the road, we did get pregnant out of wedlock and no, we didn't jump straight into getting married just because of the baby. So how was God playing a role in our lives? It's okay, you're allowed to ask because I, myself, have asked that question plenty of times.
I can see it now, though. Clear as day. The last few months have made it evident.
I have never met a man who brings out the best in me, as much as my husband does. He makes me want to be a better woman all around. I enjoy taking care of him and being the mother of his children. I even beat myself up, a little too hard, if I don't live up to my own standards of loving him and being the wife he deserves for me to be. My husband brings a meaning and purpose to my life. Without him, I couldn't be the mother, friend, and daughter that I am to everyone in my life, today.
My husband see's in me what I have never been able to see in myself. He thinks I'm beautiful, inside and out. He trusts my opinion about things as if I were someone wise. He believes in me, and on days when I doubt myself he is there to pick me back up. Likewise, my husband works hard every day of his life to be the best provider, father and husband he can be for his family. I fear I may fail too often in giving him the credit that he so strongly deserves.
I realized something this year; that I couldn't be the wife I deeply desire to be for Rich, without putting God first. Proverbs 31 says (this has been paraphrased down to my favorite verses; to read the whole chapter, please turn to your Bible):
"An excellent wife who can find?
She is far more precious than jewels.
The heart of her husband trusts in her,
and he will have no lack of gain.
She does him good, and not harm,
all the days of her life...
She dresses herself with strength
and makes her arms strong...
She opens her hand to the poor
and reaches out her hands to the needy...
Her husband is known in the gates
when he sits among the elders of the land...
Strength and dignity are her clothing,
and she laughs at the time to come.
She opens her mouth with wisdom,
and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue.
She looks well to the ways of her household
and does not eat the bread of idleness.
Her children rise up and call her blessed;
her husband also, and he praises her:
'Many women have done excellently,
but you surpass them all.'
Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain,
but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.
Give her of the fruit of her hands,
and let her works praise her in the gates."
I am so far from being that woman, but she is who I desire more than anything to be for my husband and my children. I can't become a God-fearing woman without my Lord and Savior, and as I have strived to become this woman more and more over the recent year, it has really hit me. My husband has the same desire to be the man that God calls him to be for his family, too. He may not be as deep and intuitive as I am (that's where we balance each other out, because I can often go overboard!) but his heart displays it every day, and we no longer hesitate to discuss God in our house, or pray with and for our children. We give credit where credit is due.
God has made himself known more times in our life and in our marriage. He has shown us that He is ever present with us, and we have learned a great lesson in trusting Him. Especially recently.
I'll say it, again....... Especially recently!
From protecting and healing heart ache in our own children, to financial struggles and major life decisions: we wouldn't have the right answers for any of these trials, without God. I have grown to realize that I am closer to having the same marriage I always craved in my parents' marriage than I realized, but I had to find it in my own way. Comparing what God did in my parents life to what He has done in mine is not fair to myself, because everyone has their own story. Mine may not seem as perfect as I always pictured my parents' to be, but just as the Chris Rice song they used to sing to me says, "Every day is a journal page, every man holds a quill and ink. And there's plenty of room for writing in, all we do and believe and think."
Everyone has their own story, and every marriage has its own book. We are the ones who choose whether to end it or not, and I can see that Rich and I's book holds many years of blank pages that have yet to be written on. I am very proud of how far we have both come in our lives, and learning not to give up on each other has played a huge part in that. We have grown together in the past couple years more than I believe either of us have grown individually, in a lifetime. I have always loved him, but I love the man he is today with every ounce of my heart; for his constant efforts to be the best he can be and especially for choosing to put up with me at times. Believe it or not, I'm not always an easy girl to deal with. But I'm passionate and full of love, especially for my family, and I'm ever grateful that my husband chooses to see that side of me.
God knew what I needed. He knew I needed a man who was on the same exact page as I was; someone who would learn and grow with me in faith, not ahead of me or behind me. I didn't need a man who considered himself already glorified and holy in God's eyes, who thought he could help me become a better woman; I needed a man who was humble and knew his own faults, and focused on improving himself while I focused on myself. I didn't need a man who I had to preach God to and convince him to come to Jesus; I needed a man who found the desire in his own heart, on his own free will and time, without me forcing it upon him.
I've heard the analogy throughout my life, that marriage should be like a triangle where God is at the top. The more we work to draw ourselves closer to God, the more we will naturally draw closer to each other in our marriage. I believe that is true.
I love my husband. He may be a pain sometimes, and I may be a pain even more times, but I'll never stop loving him and I'll never stop thanking the Good Lord for preparing our hearts for each other.
Have you stopped and thanked God for the blessings in your life, today?