The Father's Work: Defining Love Thru Marriage
My wife, Vanessa, and I will soon strike silver! November 9, 2021, marks our 25th wedding anniversary! 25 years. 300 months. 9,125 days. 219,000 hours. 13 billion and 140,000 minutes. But who’s counting?
From the Past to the Present
Vanessa and I are products of divorce. We entered our marriage wide-eyed and fully invested in making a fairy tale come to life. Well, reality set in quickly, as it does when two imperfect people try to set the table for perfection.
We have had our challenges, but have consistently supported one another from the onset. Through health challenges, becoming a blended family, being a first born and last born (clash-city), through two styles of communication, and a business failure, WE ARE STILL IN IT TO WIN IT.
The Lessons Learned have been plentiful, and they continue to be present as recently as…well, this morning. I digress... Marriage has brought me to a depth that I could not have imagined prior to married life. There have been years of ups and downs, and wedded blisses and dreaded misses.
Let me be the first to say, I am not an “expert” on marriage. I am still stumbling, bumbling, fumbling the ball, but I have learned some things over the years. Perhaps the most important is ‘what love is’, and part of that is ‘what love is not’.
The Grapes of Wrath
My beautiful Vanessa and I are admittedly works in progress, better today than yesterday but certainly with hearts for being better tomorrow than today. We’ve had our share of battles; a few big ones and lots of little ones.
One I remember was because I had the audacity to eat the last grapes that were in the refrigerator. In our household, we sometimes get on food binges that lasts a few days or sometimes weeks. This time, the fixation happened to land on grapes.
The exchange went something like this…
“Did you eat the last grapes?” (She said.)
“Yes, I did. Your name wasn’t on the grapes.” (I said - defiantly.)
And then there was WWIII. In the end, I bought more grapes. Nowadays, we laugh about that exchange. But since then, I have been mindful of eating the last handful of grapes.
I’m grateful for my marriage and the character development it has prompted in me. Has it been easy? Heavens no! God has taught me so much about selflessness, forgiveness, patience, and many components of Love.
What Love Is
One of my fondest memories occurred a few years’ back. It may mean nothing to most folks, but it meant the world to me. As odd a metaphor as it is to some, it helped crystallize to me what love was! We lived in Spring, Texas. I was walking our beloved dog, Honey. All of a sudden, a downpour came from the skies. Honey and I were caught unawares. We began running home, but hopelessly caught in the downpour with no shelter in sight.
Not more than two minutes later, a green Kia Sportage came roaring around the corner to pick us up, courtesy of emergency driver Vanessa Hall. I hadn’t thought for a millisecond about her coming to the rescue, but there she was. That was well over 15 years ago but it makes me smile to this very day. Why? Because that’s what Love is. Love has your back even when you don’t know your back needs to be got (bad English notwithstanding). Love puts others first. It’s far beyond a feeling. It’s a decision.
What Love Is Not
Love is not insisting on having the last word. Love is not defending ‘til the end. Love is not standing your ground even if you’re “right.” It’s not conceding truth, but it is saying let’s take timeout and revisit this at a better time and space.
Marriage is the ground in which God plows up so many emotions, tests you, grows you, challenges you, and shapes you in ways you might not have imagined (and never wanted, I should add).
Vanessa gives God and me credit for bringing out the best in her. Yet, I have seen her at her worst and lowest. There were times when I have had to push her (metaphorically) and vice-versa. There were times when I’ve simply had to leave her alone, knowing that her “better angels” would steer her properly. The Holy Spirit is ever-present, steadily directing our paths as we trust the Father as dictated in Proverbs 3:5-6.
We Are Better Together
For certain, I can say we are better together. For certain, I can say we have hearts to see other couples prosper, and benefit from some of the lessons we have learned in two-and-one-half decades of mining for silver. Well, here we are, silver is in sight!