I have to laugh sometimes at the things God puts on my heart to write about. There I am, folding laundry, in the midst of what I would call, “(No)-Sleepocalyse 2016”, when I sense God whispering (not audibly, mind you- I am sleep-deprived not delusional), “Write about what it’s like being the perfect wife”.
Those of you with creative minds out there understand what I mean when I say that once He places this idea into my head, folding laundry turns into frantically finding paper and scribbling out random sentences that don’t quite tie together but will be laced intricately as only God can do.
It’s very therapeutic, this fleshing out of soul-manna.
Back to the perfect wife thing. This was comical to me for two reasons: one, our current reality didn’t seem to fit the theme He was going for- I was picturing something more along the lines of finding rest in Him or hope for the weary or something more timely. Two- and probably most important- I was feeling anything BUT like the perfect wife. Weeks like the past few Hugh and I have had leave us feeling like excellent teammates. I believe God has given us a unique ability to “work” together in our home. Being a really great co-worker, however, doesn’t allude to be an awesome wife. In fact, I would say that, “Loving Hugh better” has a permanent post-it on my prayer wall. But here’s the thing: I cannot write unless it’s His and not my own. Truly. My own thoughts and muddled sentences do not form anything inspiring or encouraging or truth-filled; it is only when He speaks to me that I can overflow to pour out.
So, in light of that, I want to take you on a quick journey.
It’s 2011, and I have plans of being the perfect wife.
Now, mind you, I should’ve known how bogus that was, considering I had fallen quite short in the perfect girlfriend department (and, let’s be honest, all other departments as well). But ladies, (and gents), you know exactly what I mean when I say that I was attempting to be all that I thought Hugh wanted me to be. I went hunting with him and killed a deer because, you know, #outdoorsygirl . I had perfected the, “No-make-up” make-up look (don’t even act like you don’t know exactly what I mean). I had cooked him a handful of meals that took more time and more money than the past year of dinners probably have. I was going to be passionate about my home AND ambitious about my career, balancing both with ease and intelligence. And, when we had kids, I was going to put them in their perfect little place within our perfect little puzzle and continue my superhero abilities at being everything for everyone.
This all worked out great until I got married.
Suddenly, the picture I had in my head was not the reality I was seeing on the day to day.
It didn’t matter how much I prayed or how much I tried, I couldn’t get it down.
My weaknesses and quirks began to come out, and my plans of being exactly what Hugh wanted slowly began to unravel. I went from this:
“Now if perfection had been attainable through the Levitical priesthood (for under it the people received the law), what further need would there have been for another priest to arise after the order of Melchizedek, rather than the one named after the order of Aaron?… for the law appoints men in their weakness as high priests, but the word of the oath, which came later than the law, appoints a Son wo has been made perfect forever.”- Hebrews 7:11, 28
Turns out, Hugh doesn’t need me to be perfect.
Our culture has twisted marriage and turned it into a selfish playground rather than the holy covenant that it is. We have treated it like it’s a happiness factory, and when the happy stops coming, the product must be broken and we move on to attempt to manufacture another. We say things like, “I just want someone to complete me” when another human being was never meant to make us whole in the first place. Friends, only Jesus has been made perfect forever. Only He can satisfy those deep unspoken needs within us. My weaknesses- our weaknesses- should not terrify us. They should not be things that we sweep under the rug or attempt to package up with a pretty bow; rather, our weaknesses should be the very things that speak this truth to our spouses:
Only Jesus satisfies.
When we begin to look at our own imperfections and the faults of those around us as more proof that we desperately need a Savior, we can love more freely instead of shaming and blaming and becoming discontent.
The truth is, even if you were in a different factory, the product flaw might look differently but it would still be there.
And- instead of trying to be everything for our spouses- why don’t we start leading them more fervently to the One who CAN be?!
Isn’t that true love?
The most sacrificial and compassionate act within a marriage is not sex, or dirty dishes, or laundry, or dinner- it’s leading our partner to the One who says never will I leave you, never will I forsake you.
Marriage is amazing. I love Hugh deeply and I am so grateful God put us together in this life- yet- let us be reminded it is a shadow of greater things to come, not the thing itself. When we realize this, it actually allows us to love each other more, not less. It takes away the expectations for our spouses to be something for us and instead, lets us simply live and love and serve alongside one another. When we ask God to fill up our cup with Himself, we don’t spend the day walking around with an empty cup asking those around us to fill it- we simply let the love He’s already given us overflow. This is true love. This is Jesus. Perfect forever.
I don’t know where you are at in life- single, dating, engaged, married. Spoiler alert: you are not going to be anybody’s perfect- you were never meant to be- yet you can lead them to the One who is. There is freedom in throwing in your, “trying to be something for everyone” towel and simply being who God created you to be. He is not surprised by your weaknesses and a spouse who knows their Creator won’t be either.
Today, may we love more fully on the basis of knowing we are fully loved. May we give ourselves and those around us the freedom to be human; and may we gratefully embrace the God who reconciled our weaknesses through His Son. Perfect forever. May we love our spouses not based on performance or expectation or personality but instead, on the basis of Whose they are and Whose image they are made in- weaknesses leading us to more of Him and His strength. His grace is enough.
(Photo by Stacy Richardson Photography)