This week marked 14 years of marriage for Hubby and I. Though as a young bride I couldn’t have imagined the victories and valleys we’d share youth made me sure that we’d conquer both together, victorious.
I remember hearing of longtime, happily married couples whose lives had been shaken with grief and loss so powerful it was as if it had been an earthquake. A perfect “10” and the aftershocks had left their marriage in the rubble. I’d also heard of happily married couples who’d taken that rubble, and rebuilt something stronger, and more beautiful out of the pieces that were left. I often wondered what had happened to the latter. I couldn’t imagine a scenario in which Hubby and I would not cling to the one person under the sun who knew us best. After all, we’d experienced hardship and loss before. We are so very different by nature that where one of us had been weak, the other had been strong. Those strengths and weaknesses had complimented each other and served as tools to help each other through.
But what happens when you are both weak? When neither of you have any strength? When both of your plates are full to overflowing with grief, pain, loss, stress and worry and your cups are empty? How do you help your spouse balance those emotions when your own plate is dangerously close to dropping? You can’t.
I couldn’t. This last year we experienced our own perfect “10” and what I found was that my cup was empty. I barely had the strength to balance my own plate, never mind relieve some of Hubby’s burden. I could not lighten his load. I could not cure our children. I could not pay the mounting medical bills. I could not give him peace and comfort when I struggled just to save myself. So I prayed to the One who could.
29 He gives strength to the weary
and increases the power of the weak.
Father, please take this from me! But if this is Your will, please fill my cup and give me the strength to bear it. Please lighten this overflowing plate.
Ah, but He already did.
And He was patiently waiting for me to remember that He himself would carry the load. Would give me His strength. Had already offered to fill that plate and cup with His bread and wine!
As I surrendered more to Him,my burden became lighter (Bread is rather light) and He filled that cup with strength born of hope. And made me aware that I needed to love Hubby. Not the feeling, that was still there. But the action.
Father, I don’t know how to help Hubby, Please give me the strength, wisdom, and knowledge to love him the way he needs right now.
I was reminded of a message years ago by our pastor in which he shared praying for God to help him see and love his wife as He does. This ended up being to make the bed,but I was sure that wasn’t the answer for Hubby (Though I’m ALL for expressions of love that include a tidy bed). I was really sure that Hubby was going to need a lot more. So….
God, please give me Your eyes so I can see. Help me to see him and love him as You do.
That’s it? It does not seem like enough. Not for this.
But when I kept my focus on meeting Hubby where he was, as he was, being patient and kind, and praying continuously to see him as Jesus does, and love him as Jesus does it was a powerful thing. I became more aware of his pain and suffering, which was hard, but it naturally evoked more patience and kindness. And in return, lightened his load and opened his heart towards me and towards God.
Yes, love is God, and God is love. And, our love is stronger and more beautiful now after pursuing it in this valley than it ever was before.
My cup overflows…..