LIKE HUGGING A CACTUS

“Charity suffereth long” (1 Cor. 13:4).

I stood at an altar on March 15, 1980 and pledged my forever love to my college sweetheart. We sang a duet together for our ceremony (albeit it was on a recording, since I didn’t want my hunk of a man to pass out during our nuptials!). The song was, “Savior, Like a Shepherd Lead Us.” As we knelt to pray, the whole audience erupted in laughter as they read the bottom of my husband’s shoes, which said, “HELP ME” (I have very humorous siblings). We said “I do” and marched out of the church into the glorious ever after. Well, sort of.

The glorious ever after has consisted of 11 moves, two states, two countries, four children, three more children, 11 grandchildren, and more junk cars than I can count (not kidding—unless it had over 100,000 miles we didn’t buy it). We actually pushed our little car up a hill once, so we could roll it down and pop the clutch to get it started! It was a Ford Pinto (enough said). Doesn’t sound so glorious, does it? Nope, but it is our story. Our happily ever after. The truth is, I’m not sure that we really loved each other when we were married at age 19. I think we had a fond affection and desire for each other, but the love part has been a Texas-sized process. Why? We are both completely unlovable! He is messy, and I am the perfectionist (both are annoying!). He squeezes the toothpaste smack dab in the middle, and I want it “squoze” from the bottom. He likes the mail scattered all over the kitchen island; I want it neatly tucked away in the mail sorter. The list just goes on, and most of the offenses are not so trivial as the ones aforementioned! That puppy tails and unicorns kind of love we had at 19 cannot be sustained long-term. Sooner or later, you either learn to embrace and love that unlovable (and sometimes prickly) spouse that God gave you, or you decide to walk away.

Maybe my sisters were spot on when they wrote, “HELP ME” on my husband’s shoes. Sure, it was funny, but my poor husband has probably wanted to shout “HELP” many times over the last 37 years. We have walked through deep waters of grief, parenting children that were not our own, chronic illness, rejection by a child, and rejection by friends and church members. Sometimes we handled things well, and sometimes not so well. I had a college professor that once said, “Never react. Always act as God would have you act.” I wish I could say I always heeded that advice. Too often, the “me first” mentality has ruled; and when things don’t go my way, it ain’t pretty! Or as my husband says, “You’re like hugging a cactus right now!” I yell—he gives the silent treatment. “HELP ME!” I assure you that both of us have cried out to God many times for help lest our marriage be dashed upon the rocks of foolishness and pride.

1 Corinthians 13:4–7 says, “Charity suffereth long and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil; Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth; beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.”

Our marriage isn’t perfect. There are still times when we’re altogether unlovable. By exercising grace with each other and immersing our lives in Scripture, we are 37 years in love! Maybe you can’t say that about your marriage. Would you submit right now to make your journey different from here on out? My favorite quote is one I read from Dr. David Jeremiah: “The bend in the road is not the end of the road, as long as you make the turn.” Make the turn my friend. Forgive the unlovable parts of your husband (love suffers long). Yield your will (seeks not her own). Don’t be unlovable yourself (does not behave itself unseemly)!

“Believe the best, forgive the rest.”

Action Points:

  • Take time today to meditate on 1 Corinthians 13.
  • Is there something unlovable in your husband that you need to forgive? If so, pray that God will help you forgive it.

This chapter was written by Tammy Titus. Tammy is a wife, mother, and grandmother. She and her husband are missionaries to Jamaica.

This chapter was taken from “The Extraordinary Wife”.

 

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Harold Vaughan

View posts by Harold Vaughan
Evangelist Harold Vaughan is the founder of Christ Life Ministries, Inc. To date, his ministry has led him to preach in forty-eight states and many foreign countries. Click on "ABOUT" in the menu bar to learn more about Harold.
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