Edition 10 – Wednesday’s Word
June 24, 2009 | My Jottings
Yesterday I shared about how much I’ve enjoyed the books by Vinita Hampton Wright. Today’s (longish) quote is from her book Days of Deepening Friendship, and its substance keeps rolling around in my mind and heart. This excellent book is actually about deepening our relationship with God, but Ms. Wright’s blessedly candid words below are about marriage:
“For instance, in the beginning of a marriage, infatuation takes you quite a way, and you are sure that what you’re experiencing is fully love. The years show you otherwise; you learn love layer by layer, wound by wound, gift by gift, and revelation by revelation. After years of living with this person, you wake up one day and realize how faulty and frail and self-serving your love really is. You discover so many falsehoods in yourself that have remained, magically, hidden from yourself.
After a few years of marriage, love no longer connected my husband and me at the surface of life; it submerged us in periods of darkness and confusion out of which we had to feel and fight our way. It wasn’t anyone’s fault – it was simply the way our love developed in the real world. After a while, though, what I hungered for most was to be the truest, kindest, and most honest friend to this man that it’s possible to be. And I wanted him to express to me the truest, deepest friendship possible. He and I have come to understand that if the friendship keeps growing, so many other things heal and get better. The harshest conflicts lose their power when the friendship grabs hold. This intimate, tenacious love makes possible repentance and conversion, and it gives energy to our courage and grace.”
Michael and I are getting ready to celebrate twenty-eight years of marriage. As we find our way through the new dynamics that his Parkinson’s disease presents, my goals and desires as a wife are changing. I used to picture us retiring together on a lake, traveling to new places each year, entertaining friends over home-cooked meals, chatting companionably by a fire in the cool Minnesota evenings, working on projects together.
I’m not sure many of these dreams will happen now, and the reason why this is okay is because we belong to the Lord. He is ours and we are His. We may not understand all that He allows, but we love and trust Him with our lives.
When I read this above-quoted portion of Vinita Hampton Wright’s newest book, I put my head down and wept. She put in words what my heart has been yearning for ever since I realized that European trips, frequent fellowship with other couples, a cabin on a lake, intimate conversations and even vigor were going to go by the wayside.
As our new normal plays out, I think less about the fun and adventure we might have had, and more about learning to love Michael in ways that make him feel like I’m the “truest, kindest, deepest” friend he has ever had.
If any of us are granted deathbeds someday, we may soberly ponder and even sadly voice our regrets as our earthly lives ebb away.
Would anyone ever regret loving their spouse so unselfishly? I still have a long way to go on this path, but I fully intend to have no such regret.