The question "what exactly does romance you?" has been on my mind for quite a while. It's been something he didn't know. And neither did I. He's asked me to genuinely consider it. To help him understand. To help him know what to do, so he can stop shooting in the dark. I've tried. Over time, I've begun to crack the foundation of the answer. But I still don't fully understand it.
A recent fiction series that has taken my heart wholly has helped me crack that code, to a degree. I've built tremendous defensive walls. Yet, on top of that I have I realized just how much words play into it for me. Words I
to hear. Words that show he is
by me... he
me. Today. And again tomorrow. and the next day.
If I hadn't read
, I'd probably be beating myself up more for the yearnings I have. I'd be tempted to feel weak. silly. too much. not enough. too girl. I know these feelings aren't inherently wrong. I'm thankful that I know that now. They are longings that were created into me.
But since I've begun to identify what would make me feel romanced... the true yearnings of my married soul... as I've tried to put words and explanations to it, I've found myself running through mental lists of the things he
.... the things he
In fact, I'd say I've dwelled on these things some. Become frustrated at all the things he
. Holes within me that he isn't filling.
I have always loved listening to Gary Thomas speak. Something about his voice and the passion behind his words just totally enrapture me. He is the author of
. I went to link a podcast he was featured on to a friend, when it came up in conversation the other day. I left the podcast on to play while I cleaned up the kitchen. I just love listening to him so much. Just an ordinary day.
I wasn't anticipating this to hit me. I've heard him speak on marriage so much. I didn't think I was going to hear something new. But holy moly guacamole.
"There's a question I can ask an engaged woman and it will take her 15 minutes to answer. ... You go to an engaged woman and you say "tell me about your husband to be." And she's off and running. It's her favorite topic. "Oh, he's this and this.. and I so appreciate this about.. and you've gotta hear about the time he did.. oh and he's so thoughtful..." By the time she's done, I love the guy and I've never met him, right? I'm thinking "maybe I can still steal him for one of my daughters. He looks like a good candidate."
And then I'll go into the conference. I'll talk to somebody, a woman who's been married for 7 months, 7 years, 17 years... I'll say, "tell me about your husband." And I'll hear "well, he's not this... he's never done that. couldn't spell spiritual leader, much less be one. I really hope you're gonna talk about this and that."
I remember going back to my hotel room one night. Throwing myself before the Lord and saying "God, when does a man stop being known by what he is and becomes known by what he isn't, in a woman's eyes? What is that bridge when a man stops being known by all that he is and becomes known and defined primarily by what he's not. And the sad answer to that is usually marriage.
Because of all of the hopes and the expectations and the idealized notions that we pour into what we think marriage should be through our eyes.. when we wake up to the reality that we've married somebody who stumbles in many ways, we can collapse in our disappointment. [James 3:2 - we all stumble in many ways] "
(hear him speak on all of this
I was struck. Struck hard. Just hours earlier I had allowed myself to soak in something he
said. Something he
How utterly unfair of me!
When did I morph from all that he
? The man of character I married. The man who still comes home every day after work. Even to this place that isn't so hunky dory at dinnertime with two young-cranky-rambunctious-wear-mommy-out-kids. The man who sacrifices so very much, for them, for ME.
When did I forget all of his strengths? All of the things I'm so proud of. How hard he works for us. How much he cares for us. How good of a daddy he is. How he loves to spend time with us. That we, his family, are the most important things in his life?
I've allowed myself to be caught in the trap of the world's marriage mindset. Time has eroded, slowly yet surely, at my conscious awareness of my husband to morph into a place where I can quickly list all the things I wish were different.
But I cannot quickly tell you all the things that
. Firmly, solidly
I am ashamed. And I am thankful. Thankful for how God
weaves his puzzle pieces
. I love it when I see Him do this.
If that friend hadn't invited me to lunch.
If whatever topic hadn't come up in conversation, to remind me of Gary Thomas.
If I hadn't thought of it later, to post on her facebook.
If I had decided to listen to something else that afternoon.
If I'd had a kid here, yelling and screaming and opening six cereal bar boxes and spreading them around the playroom...
I wouldn't have heard him say that. I wouldn't have been so struck by how I've allowed my mind to wander.
The original question, What romances me?, isn't a bad one, in and of itself. It's what I've allowed myself to do with it that causes the harm. It's how I've allowed myself to be disappointed when I realized he missed an opportunity to tell me something I wanted to hear. First, I have to share this newfound discovery with him, before I expect him to rise to that expectation. Second, I have to give him grace to change... over time. And third, Grace to not get it right every time, even when he does know.
Because God knows, I sure don't get it right, most of the time. I, too, am someone who stumbles in many ways.