I have never been very good at romantic relationships. Essentially I have had three serious relationships my whole life and one of those relationships turned into marriage; they were all three disastrous.
The third disaster was and is quite beautiful though, as it has taught me what true love really means. To say our first year of marriage was hard is an understatement. We were like a Paula Abdul song gone wrong.
Yes, we were attracted to each other alright, but when the honeymoon was over, it felt more like a head-on collision. We didn’t fight about the normal things. We had an agreement with household chores – no one did them.
What happened was that we allowed the stress of “outsiders” to enter our marriage. “Outsiders” are not just people. They are anyone and anything that causes stress on one or both persons in the marriage.
We were young and didn’t understand what it meant to be a team no matter what. Our marriage was quite the rollercoaster because when “outsiders” were not present, we got along great!
Man, we were besties! We laughed, we played, and had great sex! But the second an unwelcome “outsider” came knocking at our door, all hell broke loose.
In our first year of marriage we dealt with major family struggles, extreme health issues, several job losses, moving to another state, and serious financial setbacks.
I remember lying in my bath tub sick with chronic migraines and desperately disappointed at how my marriage was turning out. I cried out to God and asked “Why?”
All I heard God saying to me was “Sing, Jesus Loves Me” until you believe it. What God? You mean the childhood song, “Jesus Loves Me?” I heard Him say, “Yes, that is the one.”
Every time I began to sing the song, I would get so choked up, I would have to start over and over and over again. I couldn’t bear the thought of singing the lyrics “Jesus Loves Me” when I was sure He had forgotten me. How could Jesus love me when everything around me was going to crap?
After maybe 30 times of trying to simply get through the chorus, I finally belted out the song, sobbing tears of both joy and desperation. In that moment, I knew that Jesus had not forgotten about me and that Luke and I were going to be alright.
To be truthful, I think our families are surprised we are still married (that is how bad it was)! There are so many reasons why Luke and I are not right for each other, but there is one reason that we are: I know from the deepest part of my inner being that Luke is who I was supposed to marry.
I waited for him as a celibate, virgin, and single lady for 5 years during my late teens and early twenties. This was very hard because I was use to having a boyfriend to adore me all through high school. But after high school, God told me to lie down serious dating until He sent me the right one.
This was not easy. There were a couple great guys who I really liked, who liked me back, who I maybe could have even loved; but I never felt at peace with any of them like I did with Luke.
Luke reflected Christ to me in a way that I had never seen in a man before. He was kind, gentle, and selfless. He had a “Santa Clause” demeanor that made me feel I could run, jump on his lap, and hang on his neck without him getting annoyed. I was at great ease with him.
He was charming, quite comical, and perhaps the most unique person I had ever met. Sure, he swore a bit too much and drank a few too many beers at the time, but He had a heart of gold and a smile that melted my heart. I knew he loved Jesus and would know how to love me. I knew plenty of Christian men who wouldn’t be caught dead swearing or drinking who were arrogant jerks. Luke was the real deal and I knew I couldn’t live without him.
The funny thing is that Luke is nothing of they type I thought I was looking for. I was certain that I would marry a charismatic-evangelist-type with an ultra strong-willed personality; together we would travel the world as some sort of “power couple.” I now see that I wanted to marry someone like myself. Thank God He had a different plan.
Luke and I work. He calms me down. He is as steady as a rock in the midst of my roaring ocean of a heart and mind. We have had a lot of shattered dreams, but we are learning to clean up the mess together. He grabs the broom and I hold the dustpan (because he is a better cleaner than me). When “outsiders” show up we try to lock the door. If they come in anyway, we try and hold hands, join forces, and hold on for dear life.
Love is not a feeling (although my keyboard is wet with tears); it is a choice. It is important to choose wisely because marriage is supposed to be forever (even though divorce is not the unpardonable sin contrary to popular Christian opinion).
This month we have been married for 6 years. Humanly speaking, I have no idea how we have made it this far in this very messy establishment we call a marriage, but we have and I am so glad that Lucas David Peterson is mine and I am his.
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