I’m sitting on a night-stand in our house. Christian and my house. not my old house or his old house which we accidentally keep referring to as home. as if this is just a hotel our parents are allowing us to live in together for a while. one day they’re probably going to show up and tell us that they’ve had enough and it’s time for us to say goodbye and go back with them. but it hasn’t happened yet. so we practice calling this home instead. and we practice calling each other husband and wife. and we think it’s great. and sort of like an inside joke.
I sit on the night stand and face our closet. eleven shelves and one place to hang church clothes & “can’t get wrinkly” clothes. our recently unpacked wardrobes find themselves in new places. and they think it’s funny to lose themselves in these new places. this morning, before he went to work, we went on a half-asleep search party for his long underwear and sweatshirts. it was a legitimate search party because we used flashlights for some reason. finally, we found them sitting peacefully on their shelves. quietly laughing at us & saying, “hey! don’t look at us like that! you put us here!”
our clothes are shoved together- his and mine. they don’t exactly coordinate with each other. his dark-colored, messy work clothes & my bright, flimsy sweaters stacked perilously near to each other. a loosely hung pair of his pants hangs down & finds the hem of my skirt. his work boots sit under the folds of one of my Sunday dresses. Carhartt & Vera Bradley rest side by side. his greens & greys against my pinks & aqua blues.
they show our differences. but they show something else too. they show that God is in the details.
our personalities. if they were stacked on shelves alongside our clothes, I imagine that the contrast would be almost as great. he is down to earth & laid back. I am flying with my head up in the clouds. and flying at full-speed-ahead.
my sister once jokingly came up with what middle names Mom should have given us girls to best describe who we’re NOT. for instance, my five year old sister’s name would be Megan Silence. because she hasn’t been silent since first poking her head into the world. I would’ve been Renee Patience. because patience is my most in-need-of-practice virtue. but the thing about practicing, is that it takes patience. and well… point made.
he does have patience though. and he generously gives it to me. especially since he is on earth most of the time, and I’m usually on a space ship circling Mars where he has to gently radio me and tell me to come back down to common sense.
but spaceships circling Mars aren’t all that bad. up there, I often get a better perspective on things than he does. you can see more from up there. you can be more optimistic way up there. and I definitely am the optimistic one on our “shelf of virtues.” he tends to be more pessimistic. and so by the time we have a conversation about something, I’ve usually convinced him that the world isn’t about to burn up in flames, and he’s usually convinced me that unicorns and rainbows aren’t going to spring up out of the snow and turn everything into green grass and flowers.
it’s called balance. and once again, God is in the details.
our differences also come through in how we communicate. I am usually able to say exactly what I want to say how I want to say it in the fastest, clearest way possible with lots of extra analogies and anecdotes and examples if necessary. and if it happens to be unclear the first time, I can say it again five different ways on the spot with historical or poetic references & possibly in Spanish as well.
he is quieter. and gets his point across more slowly. which would be perfectly fine if I had more… yeah, patience. it would probably be easier for him to answer the question “how are you?” if I didn’t ask “are you okay? are you hungry? are you cold? how was work? are you tired? are you upset? are we okay? did I do something wrong? can I get you a drink? do you think I should make banana chocolate chip muffins or just chocolate chip muffins? why aren’t you answering? would you rather I leave you alone?” a second after asking the first question.
but the times that God grants me the ability to shut-up, I am always impressed by his wisdom. he thinks things through & considers all possibilities. he doesn’t tend to freak out or over-react. he cares about people and he thinks through his answers carefully.
sometimes I try to pretend like he’s wrong, but most of the time he ends up being right about things. (shh. don’t tell him I said that.)
but even our varying ways of communicating to each other are good. he’ll ask me to talk to him, and normally I’m pretty good at that. it’s when he asks me to stop, that I struggle. (just kidding. he actually never tells me to stop.) but I also love love love when he talks and I can just listen. I soak in those times when he opens up and I fall in deeper in love with his heart.
we both understand the other’s sarcasm, and we somehow manage to never push the sarcasm too far for the other person. we joke & burst into the same corny songs at the same time.
God is in the details.
I took a “five love languages” test today, because a friend-worker from Chick-fil-a sent me a link to it. I pretty much scored equally on all five love languages. in other words, I’m equally needy? maybe I’m just well-rounded. let’s go with that.
it’s funny when you’re living with someone who needs love in different ways than you. for me, I like getting small gifts - even if it’s just a note, it means a whole, whole lot to me. but I also like being encouraged. and I like holding his hand or when he puts his arm around me. I guess I just like being liked and any way that he puts in extra effort to show it makes me feel amazing.
for him though, I think he feels loved when I get things done and help him take care of his own “to-do” lists too. making dinner & having a clean house seem to be important to him. I’m sure he appreciates me telling him I love him five million times a day, but I can see him feel loved when there is something he asks me to do, and I get it done and even go the extra mile to make life easier for him. when I thank him for working so hard and offer to rub his sore neck, I know he feels loved. when I ask his opinion or tell him I think he is wise, I know he feels loved. I think he needs me to need him and appreciate him. so me scoring equally on the five-love-languages test is probably good because I really do need him. but on the same note, I also need him to need me. and I know that he does.
sometimes of course, there are stand-stills. where you both sort of feel like aliens for a moment. trying to read the other one’s language and figure out why on earth they aren’t loving you the exactly right way you want to be loved. “they are so selfish. don’t they know how much I give and give? it’s my turn to feel loved.”
as soon as I even start to feel that way, it’s good for me to stop and realize I am being selfish. the Bible doesn’t say love is about what makes YOU personally feel good. the Bible says love is patient & kind & doesn’t envy & doesn’t boast. it bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. it never ends.
love is giving. love is action. love is a choice. love is not about you. it’s about them.
sometimes it would be easier to be a hermit with a few goats than to truly love. but they don’t usually teach that in Disney princess movies, do they?
what they also don’t teach about love is that, even though it is work, even though it is meshing two very different people into one, even though it is constantly pouring yourself out for that other person, it is also the most rewarding thing in the world. not rewarding in the sense that you will get a castle and always feel wonderful and live happily ever after. but it is rewarding because you have a partner to trip down Life Road with. a companion to hold your hand and pick you up when you fall or to pray with you on the dusty ground when you both fall. a person who may occasionally drive you crazy, but who has also seen you at your worst and chooses to love you just as you choose to love them.
even this, however, wouldn’t be enough to make it in marriage though. because some moments you may not choose to love the other person. and some moments they may not choose to love you. but if you have Christ as a foundation, you also have Christ to fall back on. He constantly chooses to love you. and He is constantly showing you what real love is. if you’re both falling back on Him, then you will both be falling back towards each other. your eyes and hearts and feet will be pointed in the right direction, in the same direction.
“love is not blind; love is the holy vision.” (one thousand gifts)
he can see my faults. I can see his. we can both see our differences. but we also see beyond that. we want to see the goal. He is showing us that this is the day that the Lord has made and this is where He has us. He wants our focus on Him and His kingdom. our focus on loving Him. our focus on loving each other and becoming one unit striving towards Him.
we are so young. we are so in love. we have so much to learn. God is so gracious. God is in the details.
don’t look for someone perfect. don’t look for someone who is the exact same. look for someone with God as their foundation. look for someone with the same holy vision.
and love like crazy.