Thursday, March 03, 2016

DEAR FUTURE HUSBAND

You know I've been busy with my magical tidying this year, and in doing so, I've unearthed some things.  Lots of things, really, because we've lived in this home six years now and brought home three children into it and lived a lot of life.  When I was going through our books, I found the letters that I wrote to my future husband starting from my high school years.  Here they are, and I handily numbered and dated them, because I am nothing if not thorough when it comes to life documentation.

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Bless my heart.  I came of age in the time when "I Kissed Dating Goodbye" was all the rage, and though I didn't kiss dating goodbye at all, I was always looking to "guard my heart" and "wait for God's perfect plan," keeping one eye on my current dating conquests and the other on my future husband to be.  Now - those sentiments did serve me well in many ways.  Though I did date several guys in high school and college, I never had any truly serious relationship until John, and I am thankful for the ways that naturally safeguarded my emotions.

I forced myself to read through these letters (while cringing a bit) to get a sense of what I hoped for and expected in my future spouse.  My naiveté is complete and precious all at once.  I dreamed of a perfect love that brought happiness and fulfillment and where I would always be understood entirely and cherished sincerely.  I had confidence in God's plan for our shared life and hopes for what it would look like.

To be honest, so many dreams have come true.  We've had a rich and loving marriage and many fun days and seasons.  I'm so thankful for John, and I know without a doubt that God brought us together for our good and his glory.  John is my best friend and does love me unconditionally.

But - I want to shake my head at the girl who wanted happiness more than holiness.  I didn't know, and sometimes I still don't know, that real life and real marriage is real work.  It costs a lot of everyone involved, and it works like sandpaper on any rough patch that I have.  I thought I was smooth before marriage (because I couldn't see myself clearly), and it is revealed over and over to me the dark places inside my heart as they are mirrored back to me in our family setting.  You don't get to hide your mess from people who live with you, and I didn't realize that I had so much mess until my husband and then children were there to see it firsthand.  Ick.

I glorified marriage and my future spouse and had expectations that bore little relationship to reality.  Now I see how much work it takes from both husband and wife to seek God first and then our spouse's well-being next.  This does not come easily or naturally.  My self wants to fight for my "rights" and to be right and dictate the state of our home.  I can still fall back into glorifying what my marriage could or should be instead of looking to what God is calling our lives to look like.  He wants me to be a servant and lay down my life and love others before myself, as Christ loved the church.

These letters made me realize what a work in progress I will always be.  I remember thinking I knew about life as I wrote them with all of the confidence of an 18, 19 and 20 year old.  As an almost 35 year old, I understand how little I knew then, and how little I still know now.  I pray that the Lord continues to reveal himself to me as life goes on and shows me the places where I need to trust and rely on him.  And I'm so thankful that my husband doesn't remember reading these letters, because I sheepishly gave them to him before we got married, and though he read them at the time, he had forgotten they had ever existed.  Bless his heart.

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