Now, we're not speaking of a local church meeting place, but of the worldwide body of Christ. I often look to this passage when having trouble relating to my wife. You see, my wife is a staggeringly beautiful creature, and I know God made her for me and me alone. God the Father, as John 3:16 reminds us, loved the world enough to send his only son to sacrifice himself for all of us, because we cannot protect ourselves otherwise. Can I, then, flawed, imperfect creature that I am, love my wife enough to sacrifice my life for her? Let's explore...
My relationship with Candice began just shy of twenty years ago in September of 1988. I was 16 and in grade eleven. She, 13, was in grade nine. We met on the bus on the way to school one morning. After dating for seven months, she dumped me because I wasn't exciting enough for her. And because she was attracted to someone else (who later turned out to be gay and therefore unavailable). So for the rest of high school, I waited and waited, dating one other person I had nothing in common with for a few months, which ended as quietly as it began.
During my last two years of high school, Candice became attracted to one of my friends and they embarked on a long relationship and were even engaged for a time. But I waited for her. Not to be deterred, I invited Candice to my senior prom, since it was pretty much the end of the line for her and her fiance. She said no, but later told me she wished I'd asked again later, because she would have changed her answer. Suffice it to say, I was the spaz who goes to his senior prom without a date. And so I gave up.
A few years later I was embroiled in a relationship with another woman, who bore me a son, but our love ended while she was pregnant, and upon my son Jonathan's birth, I was asked to move out. (Now I know my Christian friends are a bit taken aback, so I'll say that I know now why living together before marriage is a sin and not at all good for us, but I didn't know the Lord then and therefore was oblivious to his wisdom and grace...) And so I pined away, thinking that this woman was the only one for me. I ran into Candice again and we dated on and off, but I was a fool. I had been hurt badly, and could not bring myself to share as much of myself as Candice needed.
Regardless, the day came when Candice was absolutely, 100% in love with me. I don't know what I did to deserve that, let alone trigger it, but it happened. And I was afraid. Afraid of hurting her. Afraid if I gave in that the one I was waiting for would give me a window of opportunity and I'd be unavailable. But I had feelings for Candice too, so I selfishly put her through a few years of turmoil and heartache, and still she held on, which I didn't at all deserve. Had I a time machine right now, I'd go back and smack myself upside the melon for the cruel manner in which I treated God's precious creature. Of course, when you aren't careful, sex leads to pregnancy, and Candice and I ended up with our first child, our daughter Raven. And the whole world changed for us. And our relationship was strained beyond belief. Finally the day came when Candice told me to make an all or nothing run for the one I really wanted to be with. Obviously that ended in disaster, and I ended up having to pick my son up from his grandma's place for a few weeks.
Then it hit me. Candice loved me enough to want me to be happy, even if it wasn't with her. I came back to her with my heart in my hands, and she took me back. And that was it. And two more children and a move to the country later, here we are. Finally we just got married for real last June, for the sake of it. Candice wanted to be Mrs. Blyde. So I gave in. But years of immature love and unhealthy boundaries will take their toll on any couple. I wish I could say that the above is a complete recounting of my sins against this lovely person but to completely recount them would take a book as thick as the complete works of William Shakespeare, with a War and Peace-sized bibliography.
So, now here we are and our marriage has very nearly gone out the door on a couple of occasions. We've begun seeing a counselor, and we're putting the pieces together again, but how is it that God really wants it together? Well, see, Jesus is a Mike Holmes kind of carpenter. He rips out all that stuff that never should have been in there in the first place and for us, that means a complete gutting and reconstruction. And he's still in the middle of the demolition process. The spiritual high I get when I have a mountaintop moment is but a glimpse of what's to come in my walk with the Lord. It's keeping faith strong and love alive in the valley moments that allows the roots of maturity and divine love to spread into the soil and strengthen our spirits, bringing them closer to becoming one with each other, and with God.
The more I look at it now, the more I realize I am not the godly man God wants me to be. Not yet. Candice and I have never, ever become 'one flesh' as Matthew 19:5 plainly demonstrates:
Here is what I know, now that I've taken all day to consider this. I am 100%, prime time in love with my wife. She is the most beautiful creature in the world to me, and I know that she is a gift. A gift I don't deserve, but a gift I will treasure. "It is not good for a man to be alone," said the Lord. And so there's someone for everyone. And when we find that someone, and love blooms, we must not allow selfishness to cloud the Lord's plan. We must serve each other, love each other, sacrifice our lives for each other. And we must do it joyfully, or it's a cheap sacrifice indeed.
Stay tuned, everyone. As the rebuilding process begins and we begin fusing together as one flesh, I have no doubt I will have pages and pages to write about the glory of our Lord and his divine plan for lovers. See you next time.