Several years ago Marj and I drove to Historic Williamsburg, Virginia. On our first trip we had two young sons with us. This time those sons, plus one more, are all married. In fact it was the generosity of one of those sons that we were able to use his ‘time share’ for our lodging. I took a lot of pictures. A few of them have become paintings in Acrylic or Watercolor and have appeared in previous Blogs. Today’s Ink with pen and brush is based on one of those photos. In Williamsburg everyone on staff is dressed in period costume. This scene is of live horses and carriage driving down the street. In this Valentine Blog I sense the passenger to be a husband dashing home with his Valentine gift for a wife whom he loves very much. His gift is a small object beautifully wrapped, but there is more. He is renewing his love and care for her once again. His gift is to ‘bring good’ into her life every day with more zeal than ever before.
“Love is born of an earnest consideration of the object loved. Love is the disposition to bring good to the object that is loved.”
The story below is from an author you will probably recognize, but I am not going to reveal the name until next week. For this Valentine season…just read and consider.
“Several years ago, my wife, Nancy closed the door of our bedroom and said, “I want to talk to you.” Then she got out a list. Now she would not say it was a list. She would say it was just notes but it had numbers on it, so I would say it was a list. She said, “When our marriage is at its best’—that is, like the trinitarian fellowship—‘I feel like we serve one another equally.” She reminded me of the early days of our marriage, especially when we had small children—a time when division-of-labor issues can be large in any family. It was easy for me to say I gave at the office. She would remind me that community intimacy is built on serving. It’s not just getting stuff done; it’s mutual servanthood.
“She would say, “When I see you serving around the house, I feel drawn to you. When I see you vacuuming, I feel affectionate toward you. When I see you empty the dishwasher, I feel romantic toward you. When I see you bathing our children, I feel physical desire for you. “I used to bath those children three or four times a day. Come home late at night “Hey, come here kids. Get in the tub. Come on.”
“She said “When our marriage is right, I feel like we are mutually the same, and I feel like that’s kind of slipping. I feel like I serve, but our kids aren’t seeing you partner. And I feel like when our marriage is at its best, we know each other equally. You know the details about my day, and I know them about yours. I know more about your work right now than you do mine. When our marriage is working right, there is joy and a lightness to you. I miss that guy. I need that guy.”
“My initial response was “I get it. I hear what you’re saying. I miss that guy too. I just have to tell you, I have so much to do. I have so many questions that I don’t know how to answer. I have so many problems. I feel like it’s right here before me. So, I want to love that way. I just need you to know I’m doing the best I can.”
“Normally when you say to somebody, “I’m doing the best I can.” They’re supposed to say “Yeah, you got me there. I can’t argue with that.” But Nancy’s immediate response was, “No you’re not doing the best you can at all. You could talk with a spiritual director about some of this stuff. You could hire an executive coach. You could talk to a counselor.” She listed several things. “No, you’re not doing the best you can.”
“And I realized she was right. I didn’t tell her she was right for some time after that, but I realized she was. I was thinking, at some point I will get this problem solved and this question answered, and this deal done.
“But the kingdom is available now; I just have to want it more than I want anything else. The Trinity is right here. I don’t have to have anything solved. In fact, I could say to the world, “Go ahead bring it on, because nothing can separate me” I just have to want it more than I want anything else. I just have to say, “With Gods help in this moment I will refuse to allow anything to sever that from me.”
Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her…In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies.He who loves his wife loves himself….For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife and the two will become one flesh…However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.”