I had just finished reading about William Wilberforce’s struggle with ambition. “By his own admission he had ‘risings of ambition,’ and it was crippling his soul.”
This post has no ambition whatsoever. It is humbly offered as my version of what it means to fight for my husband. I let the request for my version rest for a week; praying for wisdom as to whether or not I should respond.
It’s funny how seeing real-life flesh and blood live out the mystery of the bride can do more to spark a fire than anything else. When I wrote this my father-in-law was taken to the hospital by ambulance while visiting us.
I watched his bride of 47 years gracefully bear the burden and pain, walking by his side. There is nothing more beautiful than a man and woman who have walked beside each other for nearly 50 years clinging to each other even more deeply in adversity.
Today, as I watch those I love persevere in love for their mate, I choose to renew my own vows of love for my Norse-man.
So, I vow …
To relish the strength of my man and rest in his leadership over me.
To reach out with affection, when least expected.
To sit on the front porch, and listen to what he has to say, rather than thinking about my list of to-dos.
To enjoy the beauty of real life happening each morning when I overcook his eggs and laugh as he asks me to “try not to burn the eggs” one more time.
To see that he is my real life hero if I just take the time to pay attention: to notice his voice speaking tenderly to the pixies as he tucks them into bed and his integrity as he chooses hiddenness over ambition in his career.
To live in the moment, not in distraction. Moments like when his hand finds the small of my back, when he whispers “I love you,” our conversations over coffee.
To create that sacred space for God and God alone so that in those quiet moments, where no one else is watching, my spirit is renewed.
To rediscover the art of paying attention.
To not be consumed with me versus him. Our love is not a competition. His good is my good; my gain is his gain.
To care less about “being love” and more about “falling into Love himself.” Being in love is not what makes this marriage holy. The two of us becoming one in His love is what makes this marriage holy.
To resist the urge to escape reality in mindless television watching, and sit by the fire reading aloud to him when he asks.
To take seriously our glorious representation of the Trinity, three persons in one. We have this transcendental relationship. The one flesh we possess finds its origin in the nature of Love Himself.
To temper my actions throughout the day with kindness.
To be productive, accomplish much, assert my own opinion, but do it without clamoring for attention.
To cultivate a quiet spirit that speaks volumes.
To discover the beauty of being lost in the mystery of living life side by side. Through the good and the bad. In sickness and in health.
To celebrate his barbarian’s heart. YAWP away, baby.
To uncover the layers of wildness that is his soul, which reveal a foundation of tenderness.
To say yes again and again into the journey of the wonderful unknown. (When I married him, I was promised a life of adventure. He delivered in every way. He is a ship I can’t steer. But I’ve crossed oceans I would have never voyaged otherwise.)
To never forget that the sound of love is surrender. The sound of love is sacrifice. The sound of love is surprise.
To keep my mystery. There is an intrinsic beauty that can only be discovered in the mystery.
To let the rest burn. Our home, our cars, our possessions. This love is worth watching everything else fade away.
To make God’s name great, not my own.
To never forget our “lover’s walks” through the streets of Oxford every Friday night. Discovering the beauty in walking after dinner and talking, rather than just jetting to a movie.
To bring those cobblestone streets home with us wherever we are, so we can dream our dreams and fall deeper and deeper in love.
To laugh at the silly things you say.
To die to myself a little bit every day, my love, in order to watch you fly.
To slow the rhythm of our family, cherishing the slow mornings, long conversations, and life at home rather than in the car.
To always remember: being in love is not the basis for our marriage, it’s the result. The result of years of wilderness wanderings hand in hand, picking up the pieces of broken dreams and making new ones, holding hands as our firstborn emerges all skin and bones, and waking up to tears in the night for those we love whose own vows are breaking.
To tell you over and over again, “We have the same soul.” His soul woven into our one flesh.