It’s now ten years and three children into our marriage. I still felt like something is missing. We have a beautiful home in the country. My husband ministers to a wonderful, close-knit church family. I have a fantastic part-time job teaching where I can fulfill my personal goals and still be a full-time mom. My personal faith is strong. But still- something is missing.
Often in the busyness of life my husband and I are going in different directions. Sometimes I feel like he sees right through me. He doesn’t recognize when I’ve had a bad day. He doesn’t seem to miss me when I’m gone. If he has free time he usually doesn’t choose to spend it with me. Sometimes I look for something on TV that I think he’ll be interested in just so I can get him to be in the same room as me. I am lonely. In my marriage I am lonely.
He has been more distant lately. His stress is evident. He has closed me off in silence. I have a suspicion as to what is going on but I am too afraid to bring it up. Ever since we started dating he hasn’t forgiven me for my past. I get so angry with him because he doesn’t see that I am someone different today. I just feel like he should forgive me. Why can’t he see that all I need is for him to forgive me?
This weekend we have houseguests – a minister and his family are here for a revival at church. I guess I better muster up a smile. It’s hard to wear this mask sometimes but I feel like I have to, to preserve his ministry.
Well, tonight we were supposed to go for coffee with the rest of the congregation. But the unspoken tension between Daniel and I was unbearable tonight. He told me to just take the kids and he would wait in the car. I’m so aggravated by all this. Part of me wants to protect his reputation. Part of me wants to smack him. I ended up going inside and telling everyone that he had a really bad headache and I was taking him home.
I got back into the car and could feel my anger boiling. That’s when it all exploded. The weeks of tension, the days of silence, and ten years of denied pain all exploded. It started with my typical callous response. I berated him with barking commands. “We should be in there! Are you still hanging on to regrets about my past? What is wrong with you? You really need to get over this or our life and ministry is going to come crashing down.”
Slamming his fists onto the steering wheel he looked at me and said, “You just don’t get it.” Looking past his pain I snapped back in defense, “Oh, I get it. You are sorry your darling little wife wasn’t delivered to you in a pretty white package. I can’t take back my past. It’s done. Get over it.”
The rest of the ride home I just glared out the window my head swirling with accusations against him and anger over his haughtiness. We pulled into the garage. I gathered my children under my wings and carried them off to bed. I knew it wouldn’t be long before our company would be coming back- just another added stress to the evening.
I tidied up the kitchen, swept the floor and threw in some laundry before I finally gathered enough sense to go to my husband. I walked into our dark bedroom where he was laying. I could hear him crying.
For the first time in ten years I felt my heart changing. In a moment my contempt for him started to crack. My resentment for his supposed lack of forgiveness seemed callous. I need to go to my husband.
I crawled beside him in the bed and ask him if I could touch him. My tears began to flow unrestrained. I just took him in my arms and cried with him. I felt his grip around my body grow tighter and his emotion pour out onto me.
I felt different. I was finally ready to listen. I was finally hearing what his heart was saying. God broke my icy heart to finally be the suitable helper that my husband needed to get him through this.
He began to speak. “It’s not about forgiving you” he started. With a new calm in my voice I asked, “Ok, what is it about?” “It’s about feeling like I’m not good enough for you. I just don’t feel like I’m good enough. I want to love you, protect you, and be someone special to you. But I don’t feel like I am. I don’t feel like I can be a lover to you because you’ve done all this before. I just want to know that I fulfill you sexually. I need to know that I am special.”
In my thoughts I cried out to God, “Forgive me Oh God for my foolishness. Forgive the hardness of my heart. God let me be what he needs. Let me say what he needs to hear.”
Each breath for me seemed like an effort. My tears burned my face. I paused. I took his face in my hands and looked at him in the eyes. For the first time I saw my confident, self- assured husband as a broken little boy. He wasn’t angry with me. It wasn’t about forgiving me. It was about his security in our relationship. It was about knowing that he pleased ME!
The only words that would come to me were, “You have no idea.” I wasn’t sure how to put my feelings to into words. After a moment I gathered my thoughts to respond.
“It wasn’t love that drove me to give up my purity. I was all alone. I was a lost lonely teenager who had no one guiding her. No one reassuring her. My parents were so involved in their own new lives with new spouses that I just fell between the cracks. This guy came along and I thought I was going to get what I was looking for. But instead I was stripped of my dignity, my purity, my innocence, and my confidence. I wish you could see. I was broken. My life was shaky already and now I was blasted with self-doubt and shame and more loneliness. I hated my life. I hated who I was. I hated what I had done.
When I met you I knew that I finally found someone that could love me the way I had never been loved before. I knew God brought you to me to be what I never knew. God gave me you to be his arms to hold me. To be the support I needed. To be my redemption. You aren’t just special. You are my salvation. You are my chance to get it right. You are all of my hopes and my dreams and desires. It’s you. It’s nobody else but you.”
He took his hands and wiped the tears off my cheeks. He came closer and pressed his wet lips on mine and kissed me with the deepest kiss I‘ve ever felt. For the first time I felt my soul connect to his. I felt my heart bind to his like it never had before. We just lay together kissing each other until our tears finally dried.
I had never felt closer to him. I felt accepted by him blemishes and all. He said exactly what I was thinking, “I’ve never felt closer to you than this moment.” I wanted to give my body and spirit to him I wasn’t sure how. I was timid.
As his body pressed close to me I could feel his arousal growing as well. He whispered in my ear, “I want to make love to you so badly right now.” Again, my tears welled up. “I want you to make love to me. I want to be loved by you. I want to give all that I am to you.”
I was lying beside him. He rolled over and melted into me. We kissed, we touched, our spirits connected through our bodies. I opened myself up to him like never before. He entered me with passion that he never allowed himself to give before. We made unfathomable love. With each thrust of his body I could feel our flesh uniting. We crossed the threshold of oneness to begin the marriage that God truly intended.
Hang my locket around your neck,
wear my ring on your finger.
Love is invincible facing danger and death.
Passion laughs at the terrors of hell.
The fire of love stops at nothing—
it sweeps everything before it.
Flood waters can’t drown love,
torrents of rain can’t put it out.
Love can’t be bought, love can’t be sold—
it’s not to be found in the marketplace.
Song of Solomon 8:6-8
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