21 "Under three things the earth trembles,
under four it cannot bear up:
22 a servant who becomes king,
a fool who is full of food,
23 an unloved woman who is married,
and a maidservant who displaces her mistress."
I've been married for just over ten years. It seems like a lifetime unto itself in many ways. I struggle to remember life apart from Heidi. I know I've lived longer without her than with her, but the B.C. years seem more forgettable since she entered my story. With every year we're together, I'm losing clarity in my remembrance of the first 18 years of my life. I think this is the magic of love. "It covers over a multitude of sins" as the Scripture says. Her love has covered over me so beautifully.
I read this text a few weeks ago and it has been pestering my heart like a little poodle nipping at your heals. I can't escape the power of these six words..."an unloved woman who is married". An unloved woman is unconscionable in and of itself. But an unloved woman who is married?...this is unbearable to creation itself. There is nothing that causes the universe to hide in fear like the reality of a marriage where the husband leaves his bride unloved, unwanted, unvalued, undone. It just can't bear up under these conditions.
I've left my wife unloved before. I've gotten busy with life. I've said yes to too many invitations. I've sought the rush of accomplishment. I've chased my own adventures apart from her. I've sat in silence in front of the television letting her take care of the household duties. I've seen her eyes hollowed out by monotonous obligations without so much as an acknowledgement of appreciation. I've seen Satan ravish her with insecurities without lifting a finger to fight off her inner demons with the "truth that sets free". I've let words stay inside me when she needed them...oh, has she needed them. I've complimented everyone but her. I've befriended everyone but her. I've changed my schedule for everyone but her. I've left her to wonder at her place of importance. I've made her feel replaceable. I've given her the name, "Afterthought" by my actions. I've left her to wander in a world of uncertaintly as to her role in our marriage. I've made her read between the lines too much. I've left her to fill in the blanks on too many occasions. I've left so much inside her unfinished, promising to come back and complete what I said I would do, and letting time take the edge off my vows.
I've left her at home with the girls too many nights. I've shrugged her off when she needed "adult" conversation. I've been a lazy listener. I've made her feel like a bother, a nuisance. I've seen her dying for my affection, and sadly left her for dead. I haven't asked nearly enough questions of her heart. I haven't done much to sacrifice myself to make her dreams come true. I haven't been the creative leader in the home that I am in the church. Some of these weaknesses go beyond neglect toward abuse. This is unacceptable.
I don't want my wife to be unloved. I want more for our marriage, our friendship.
Here are some declarations I must make in order to avoid the dread of this verse:
1. I will speak when I'm tempted to stay silent.
2. I will move when I'm tempted to stand still.
3. I will hug when I'm tempted to withdraw.
4. I will kiss when I'm tempted to stare.
5. I will ask questions when I'm tempted to just talk.
6. I will affirm when I'm tempted to attack.
7. I will enjoy when I'm tempted to endure.
8. I will create when I'm tempted to shut down.
9. I will date when I'm tempted to distance myself.
10. I will listen when I'm tempted to solve.
11. I will enable when I'm tempted to disable.
12. I will understand when I'm tempted to be understood.
13. I will sympathize when I'm tempted to criticize.
14. I will forgive when I'm tempted to forgo.
15. I will gaurd my eyes when I'm tempted to feed my flesh.
16. I will accomodate her interestes when I'm tempted to push my own.
17. I will give her freedom when I'm tempted to pursue my own.
18. I will look for the good when I'm tempted to point out the bad.
19. I will defend her when I'm tempted to dis"gaurd" her.
20. I will pursue her when I'm tempted to abandon her.
21. I will trust her when I'm tempted to question her.
22. I will serve her when I'm tempted to let her serve me.
23. I will help her when I'm tempted to let her do "it" herself.
24. I will honor her when I'm tempted to talk about her.
25. I will crown her when I'm tempted to "down" her.
I don't want my wife to be unloved. I want my chivalry to cause her to feel captivating. I want my romantic heart to break up things she's scared to try for fear of failure. I'm a guy, but that doesn't me I'm the incorrigible grunt that culture says I am...I'm created to love my wife with such passion that it confounds all of creation. And I want to...I really, really want to.
There is nothing so dreadful as an unloved woman trapped in a marriage with a misguided man.