I've been giving a great deal of thought lately to the institution of marriage. A lot of things are to blame for this... My own fairly recent divorce and my subsequent longing for companionship chief among them. This has been long overdue, though. After a year of deftly avoiding the emotional fallout of the end of my marriage, it's time to figure out what lessons were learned, cowboy up and take the pain, and then move on.
I have shined the aforementioned light of Christ into my life, and it has thrown my various shortcomings into sharp relief. With a painful clarity, I can look back on my life and see all the stupid things I've ever done to mess it up. It's a good thing, though. Acknowledging one's shortcomings is the first step toward eliminating them (which, perhaps, is why I've quit smoking and lost 40 pounds in the last two months).
There seems to be a great deal of discussion (and frequently, controversy) over the role of a woman in a marriage. But what I've heard very little of is discussion over the man's role in a marriage. Marriage is, after all, a two way street. So many people seem to be concerned over what the Bible says about wives without giving equal weight to what it says about husbands:
Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her, so that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, that He might present to Himself the church in all her glory, having no spot or wrinkle or any such thing; but that she would be holy and blameless. So husbands ought also to love their own wives as their own bodies. He who loves his own wife loves himself; for no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ also does the church, because we are members of His body. FOR THIS REASON A MAN SHALL LEAVE HIS FATHER AND MOTHER AND SHALL BE JOINED TO HIS WIFE, AND THE TWO SHALL BECOME ONE FLESH.
(Eph 5:25-31 NASB)
We are to love our wives as Christ loves the church. As Greg Laurie says, that's a tall order. Think of the suffering that Christ endured because of his love for us. We are to love our wives like that.
It is with a great deal of regret that I look back on my life with Sunny and I know that I didn't love her like that. Don't get me wrong, I cherished her, and loved her more than life itself, but how can I say with a straight face that I loved her as Christ loves the church? I should have taken care of her, I should have protected her, I should have made her feel like she would always be safe in my arms, but I didn't. My failings as a husband are now abundantly clear to me. But that's what the light is for, isn't it?
I need time. Time to grow as a person, and more importantly, to grow in Christ. The Lord is working in me, and I know He has a plan for me. Whether that plan includes another marriage, well, I guess I'll find out. I do long for someone to share my life with. I harbor dreams of a future filled with love, happiness, and children. In those dreams, the woman's face never quite comes into focus. Whoever she is, I hope she knows that as long as I draw breath, I will take care of her, I will protect her, I will hold her in my arms and never let her go. I will love her as Christ loves the church, and we will be one flesh.