Dear God, I prayed, all unafraid
(as we're inclined to do),
I do not need a handsome man
but let him be like you;
I do not need one big and strong
nor yet so very tall,
nor need he be some genius,
or wealthy, Lord, at all;
but let his head be high, dear God,
and let his eyes be clear,
his shoulders straight, whate're his state,
whate're his earthly sphere;
and let his face have character,
a ruggedness of soul,
and let his whole life show, dear God,
a singleness of goal;
then when he comes
(and he will come)
with quiet eyes aglow,
I'll understand that he's the man
I prayed for long ago.
(Ruth Bell Graham)
Ruth Graham wrote the above poem, and many others in her single years, only to look back with mature eyes, matured by matrimony, and say:
"I read my old premarriage poems... with a bit of amusement. I wrote them so earnestly -- meaning every word -- and lived to find them really unfair.
Pity the married couple who expect too much from one another.
It is a foolish woman who expects her husband to be to her that which only Jesus Christ Himself can be: always ready to forgive, totally understanding, unendingly patient, invariably tender and loving, unfailing in every area, anticipating every need, and making more than adequate provision. Such expectations put a man under an impossible strain. The same goes for the man who expects too much form his wife."
There are many things I am slow in learning, this, however, I have learned quickly. O, I forget at times and wallow for a few days at a time when my expectations of Matt reach Savior-Status, then the Lord reminds me, "Come to Me... Abide in Me... Caste your burdens on Me, for I will sustain you."
"Who have I in Heaven but Thee?
And on earth I desire none but Thee.
Though my flesh and my heart may fail me,
You, O Lord, are the strength of my heart,
And my portion forever...
The Nearness of God is my Good!" (Psalm 73:25-27)
And yet we are to remain married to them here on earth, faithful in love to our husbands, though they fail us. Only the Lord never fails us. And so we depend upon God and remain lovingly steadfast in our marriages. We persevere in love when they may not be loving us the way we had hoped- in the way that we do hope. When our flesh and our hearts fail us... let's abide in the truest lover of our souls, that we might not retreat in our earthly loves, but press on.
And when our sails are full of heaven's breath again, a miracle strength occurs.
Suddenly I take hold of my strong man and make him stronger - I set him up TO BE MY HERO... even when he is not acting very Heroic. Instead of shutting down, I open up. Instead of withdrawing, I press in. Instead of retreating... I hire a babysitter, buy tickets to a show, dress up, touch him, and at the night's end... I thank him for the lovely evening. Thank him in every way he most enjoys your thanks. Thank him for the date he didn't plan, the babysitter he didn't hire, the tender togetherness he didn't make a priority! And suddenly he will swell with tenderness and love, back in touch with the Hero He can be to you... by the grace of God.
By the grace of God.
Do not shut down, do not withdraw, do not give up, retreat, or let yourself become bitter. Take action today, tonight, the next time you pass him in the hall. Don't wait to be kissed. Kiss him! Don't wait for him to ask you about your day, touch him.
O, by the Grace of the only one who can ever truly satisfy, press on, fight the good fight, and love well!