On Love and Respect and All the Hard Things

I don't think marriage is supposed to be easy. It seems that most things worth doing are hard, they require thought and sacrifice, they spend you to the last ounce of energy and the reward is great because of the effort.

Paul says it's a  picture of Christ and the church, of uncontainable love poured out and lavished on the somewhat unwilling.  Of submission and trust and respect for that loving authority.

Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. ... Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her, - Eph 5:22, 25 NKJV

Loving me as Christ loved the church must be tough. 

 

I think submission is hard sometimes, but to love the unlovely, the crabby, grumpy, unthankful,  and mumbling?  The pony-tailed and sweaty?

And to love me not only in the way that makes me feel loved, with flowers or chocolate or date-nights or spontaneous house-cleaning.  Or built-in book shelves.

To love me the way I need it, too.   The way I sometimes don't want  it.

Husbands, love your wives just as Christ loved the church.

Loving me by telling me no sometimes, telling me to wait, to be patient.

Or telling me, for my own good, to do those hard things.

  You love me like that, and I'm the better for it.

You love me enough to tell me what I don't want but desperately need to hear.  You've never said it quite like this, but you could: "Put your big girl panties on and deal with it."

Yep.  You married a silly, selfish girl.  Did you know that?   Did you know that loving me like Christ loved the church would be such a sacrifice?

You sure do it well.  You are gentle with me and patient, and I just want to thank you.

 Thank you for being like Christ and loving the unlovely.  For sacrificing and  cherishing and nurturing.

 

Like iron sharpens iron, we bristle and grate sometimes on our way to sanctification.  But what joy in this marriage!  How blessed I am to share life with you.

Thank you.

And that part at the end of Ephesians 5, about wives respecting their husbands?

A man leaves early every morning and sweats and toils, tapes up bleeding fingers and makes beauty out of wood and nails.  He gets up 6 days of the week with an alarm, eats thousands of sandwiches over the years without complaining, counsels, teaches, builds, fixes,  reads stories, preaches to the unreached, runs miles and miles with his slow wife, and sometimes makes pancakes for his family or does the dishes.

Respect almost seems like an understatement.  Couldn't there be a bigger word?  You deserve more than I give, but I hope, pray, yearn for you to know that I do. 

I do respect you.

You are amazing, for so many more things than I can list here.  

You are amazing when you smile at the end of a hard day and when you play that game of checkers or Linkology.  You are amazing when you laugh at my silly-woman-who-needs-to-get-out-more humor, when you read my words and think I'm something special.

My encourager, my gentle leader, my strong-man and my teacher.  My crush and my best friend.

Thank you.

 

{Edited and re-posted from the archives}

Linking up with Emily at Imperfect Prose, and Crystal at Thriving Thursdays

Five Minute Friday: Graceful

This might be the hardest five minutes yet.

When I think about graceful and what wears that definition, there's not much in my day that comes to mind.  I think of ballerinas or swans or...Swan Lake.

Graceful doesn't describe the herky-jerky stop-and-go days we usually have around here.  It doesn't describe the part of this family, the 2-sixths of us, who drop things frequently and shatter glass and tears.

It doesn't describe the fist-on-the-table mom who wants them all to just.  Stop.  Bickering.  There's no wisdom for those moments and all we can do is stop, abruptly.

This House of Payne.

But grace-full, yes.  All of us here, full of it and beautiful in it.

The stopping is grace because it makes way for the new start, and you know that in five minutes those siblings will be laughing hysterically or asking each other for help or formulating a  plan to take over the mom.

A sudden stop where grace enters in.  Graceful us.  Grateful us.

{Just five minutes.  Can you spare five minutes for a graceful community of Christ-followers, to share your gift on this writing prompt from Lisa-Jo?}

Five Minute Friday: Join

They squabble and I squirm because I just don't have the words.  What do you say to siblings bent on destruction?

Hearts need to change and mine is first in line.

My words are not what they want to hear and the feeling is mutual, but we just can't stop.  We struggle to make home together and I tell her, when I find her all huddled up, that people are just difficult.  That's all the wisdom I can muster.

And we are all people.

After the fuming and the glorious repentance (the angels sang, they did), I lament.  Why does family life rip and tear sometimes?

Why can't we all just love each other and skip through the fields stringing daisy chains and singing songs?  

Oh, to live that quiet life.

I join with Jacob and Esau's mom.  With the mother of those "sons of thunder", too.  And with millions, billions, of moms throughout time and geography.  Because everyone, everywhere, at every time and point in history, has had to make their home with people.

And I love my peeps, so we sleep without the anger and tomorrow we start over.  Thank You, Jesus.

{Five Minute Friday, where we write for fun and nobody corrects our grammar.  Click the link below to join the fun!}