Monday, June 13, 2011

No More Marriage Books!

You know me and books. I am telling you about a book I've read or extolling the virtues of reading nearly every week on this blog. For that reason, you might have done a double take when reading the title of this blog post. I trust you didn't take it too seriously and that you'll allow me to explain.

Fear is something that I'm not prepared to adequately discuss. I can only speak from my own experience and that of those close to me. I believe most of the time our deepest fears involve people in our lives. The fear of what people think of us. The fear of ruining our children. The fear of losing a loved one. And yes, the fear of not being a perfect wife.

Which brings me back to the subject of marriage books to which I alluded in the title. I've read many of them, profited from some and recommended a few. I've heard all the practical tips for keeping our husbands' affection and accepting responsibility for his propensity to stray. I've even shared a few here and there.

I accept that there are women out there who literally care nothing about how they look, treat their husbands horribly all the time, allow their homes to remain in perpetual chaos and leave their men to fend completely for themselves in the food department. Perhaps there should be no surprise when their husbands want to leave them.

However, I believe most of us try to be good wives. And we try very hard. We probably even are good wives most of the time. But that time that our husband slips home for lunch and we're still in our pajamas or the time he wants to crawl into bed and finds a mountain of laundry atop it or when we're all alone and see how we really look in the mirror---those times we feel like the worst wife in the world. We remember the warnings in the marriage books, and we begin to fear.

I used to keep these fears inside; but then, like most thoughts of mine, they began to spill out as I talked to my husband. I'm not sure what I expected---maybe a sage nod that yes, I was finally getting it and I should be afraid because my status as perfect wife was definitely slipping. Or even a customized wife-improvement plan from the man I married. No, he reacted by getting mad! Not at me. He was mad at authors that seem to prey on our fears and make us into perfect robot wives always performing so we don't lose our husbands to a truly "perfect" woman. He told me to stop reading marriage books. Well, not as a command per se, but as a strong suggestion.

So I did. And I started reading him. You know what I found out? He loves me. Profound, huh? No really....he does. He doesn't just love me romantically. He loves me when the candles are snuffed out, when I have a bad day, and when I have some wrinkles and pounds that weren't there when we said "I do".

I don't know about the theology of it all, but it has put a new meaning on the verse that says, "Perfect love casts out fear." Not being a perfect wife. Or even the perfect husband. But the love that began when God said, "Let's make man in our image" and came to a grand climax when Jesus called, "It is finished!" That love is perfect.

I need have no fear when I am loved by an Almighty God after which my own man models his love for me. Would he die for me? I have no doubt. But its the daily living where I read the lines of his love in every little word and deed. And that's a book I'm not about to put down.

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