For Better or For Worse

I’m learning about it means to be a good husband. Yes, I am single–in both the technical “marital status” and actual sense. But as a friend had once shared with me, as a Christian I am joined together in a spiritual union with Christ. How I grow and nurture my relationship with Christ provides insight into how I will or will not grow and nurture my relationship with my future wife.

When I realized the truth of this statement, I was saddened. For no sooner had I come to see another truth: I would make a terrible husband. Over a decade ago, as a hopeful but naive teenager, when I had first committed to following Christ, I was in essence making a vow that declared my complete devotion to him–for better or for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health–for the rest of my life. Indeed, I was proving myself to be faithful, when it was an easy vow to keep, when it was for the better, and I was in richness and in health.

But then came the trials and temptations of life, and suddenly the very cords of my relationship were being stretched and broken. Through the lusts and greed and pride of life my heart had become hardened. As the days progressed my love subsided more and more. It happens, so slow and subtle. My feelings became dull, my love grew heartless. I kept serving the church, believing it was my duty. That will keep him smiling, I thought. But he was not pleased. After all, shall a wife be flattered when she receives roses bought in obligation?

I admit there were times when I was unfaithful. I had other lovers. Times when I found other things more attractive. Money, respect, relationships. These lovers danced before me so alluringly. They whispered secret pleasures, they spoke of great thrill. For some time I had listened. I would leave in the evenings to flirt with them, coming back home worldly-drunk, not unlike the man with the smell of cheap perfume and faint lipstick on his shirts. Yet I still had the audacity to face God and say, “But out of them all, I love you the most!”

That was what I was. An unfaithful, unloving spouse. Yet in all his right and power to divorce me, God has stood by my side. He forgives, he forgets, and he chooses to love. He waits for me to come around. This is the power of a vow. Not that it is merely kept, but that in every right for him to break it he chooses not to. That is what is meant by the terms “love” and “unconditional.”

So, here I am. I’m thinking I’ve got to get this right. If I’m not good with God, the most patient and perfect lover, then I will never be the husband and father I ought to be.