I'll be the first to admit, though ruggedly handsome and hauntingly demure, I'm no Prince Charming. She tells me I was romantic before, when we first met, and why can't I be like that again. I cannot remember trying to be romantic. I just wanted more time with her; so I wrote about, thought about it, sung about it.
I must have been larger than life to her. That was her attraction to me-I smelled of wild, worldly places, far away and dangerous adventure. But the real me was buried under blankets of hurt and questions, and masks of tranquility over angry, brooding eyes. And though I saw in her the person I always wanted to be but could never become, she was buried, too. How naive to think that digging through those layers over the years would be an enjoyable process. It is good, now, to look back at it all, seventeen years and counting. But it has been a lot of work, sometimes war, sometimes hell.
As if seeing glimpses of the truth in the midst of this process has brought some sense of completeness, then we would have to deal with the hatred we felt toward our own respective realities. Without God, personal, loving, patient in the picture, I would have given up on myself a long time ago, and not allowed anyone, not even her, to not give up on me, too. I am so deeply thankful that God does not give up on us.
But sometimes, we quit on each other, even while our relationship remains intact on the outside. We see the hard truth about each other: the need to control and manipulate in her, and the tight-lipped limit-pushing selfishness in me, and the problem looks utterly insurmountable. And we quietly, secretly quit on each other. I know nothing I can say will bring about the response I desire to see-peace, so I stop talking. She gets to where she sees she misjudged me, again, aka, I will not yield, and she retires her words, too. It becomes a dreadfully silently violent truce.
Our objectives are clear each to our self, and sometimes they pull us in conflicting directions. My objective is to make money to pay for our life. Sometimes that means I can be at home more. But in the interest of keeping life flowing at its clip, sometimes it means I must be gone. That is my reality, and I deal with it because I have to. That can be a struggle when her objective is to have me home for the boys' activities, or some family gathering, or just because she wants me home with her. In any situation, the struggle is two viciously independent individuals attempting to trump the other's will.
But in the middle of all the heated discussions,cutting words, and sometimes weeks of frozen silence, I never allow myself to think I am not responsible for those feelings-mine and hers-because I am the man. I promised to cherish her, honor her, protect her, and remain faithful to her until I draw my last breath. And while I may feel, sometimes, as though I am drowning in a sea of discontent, I whisper His name, and I am content to feel that way as long as she is in it with me. I die a little in each storm. I die so we may thrive. And as I die, she sees the me under all the layers and masks, that will not leave, will not quit on us. I will never let her go. I will cleave to her always, to us.
Those frustrating, discontented feelings will eventually subside. In the meantime, I will continue with my objective, with a greater sense of her objective, and the grace God gives for the storm. I begin thinking of her, who she is under all the layers, and I see that girl I thought of every spare minute, wrote to, sung about all those years ago. And whoever was wrong, it will not matter. It will never matter. Because I have decided there is no me, no her. There is only us, one flesh, united in purpose, as the Creator designed it.
Genesis 2:24 (New Living Translation) This explains why a man leaves his father and mother and is joined to his wife, and the two are united into one.