Marriage Letters: Patience

Every Monday, Amber and I join Joy and Scott Bennett in writing Marriage Letters.  It is an effort to encourage other married couples to fight the good fight, to do the hard work. Did you write one this week? Visit Amber’s blog to link it. This week's topic--Patience.

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"Love is patient..." ~1 Cor. 13:4

Dear Amber,

"Love is patient."  That's  what the scripture says.  And before marriage, perhaps we had some vague notion of what that meant.  It was a conceptual notion, though, with no roots in life-narrative.

We've had our dark days, and I won't recount those here.  But through the struggle, I learned the look of patient love.  It digs deep roots, stands firm like a Louisiana live oak.  It's slow and long, provides shade for sinners and grace for community.  Patient love understands that brokenness is all-afflicting, recognizes the sickness in self.  I think patient love is humble.

I've learned all of this from you.  But we've also seen the truth in the narrative of our friends.  The couple who lost their child a few years back.  They clung tight during the dark days.  The woman with a stranglehold on hope while her husband exercised his wanderlust.  The old-timer who suffered joyfully through the cancer bout with his wife.  These are our saints.

These days, marriages are falling like Bruce Lee victims.  We're watching them bleed out, watching them succumb to divorce, affairs, apathy.   They tell us that we don't understand, that they're not happy, they're not in love, or that there are trust issues.  We watch them broken-hearted and beg them to be patient, to seek wise counsel, to hang in there.  Some do.  Some don't.  It's the way of our world, I suppose.

I wish we could convince them that patient love  is sanctifying, that it has the power to save a soul.  I wish I could convince them that patience is more than a virtue; it is vital.  And maybe there's no guaranty that patience cures all, but at least it's worth a try.

Thank you for bearing with me.  I suppose it takes a special woman for that task.  If I knew I was marrying a saint all of those years ago, I might have been a bit more grateful along the way.  But even in that, you've been pretty patient. And for that I say...

You are still my best,

Seth

Marriage Letters: Opposites Attract

Every Monday, Amber and I join Joy and Scott Bennett in writing Marriage Letters.  It is an effort to encourage other married couples to fight the good fight, to do the hard work. Did you write one this week? Visit Amber’s blog to link it. This week's topic--Opposites Attract. ***

Matthew 10:7—For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and the two shall become one flesh; so they are no longer two, but one flesh.  What therefore God has joined together, let no man separate.

Dear Amber,

They say that opposites attract, and in the early days I think that was true.  You were funky, wore vintage clothes, and listened to Seattle rock.  I was straight-laced, wore Polo shirts and Birkenstocks, and listened mostly to Rich Mullins.  You had a deep drawl from the dirty south.  My accent was more neutral.  You wrote poetry.  I wrote economic analyses.  You were bound and determined to burn a slow mysterious wick.  I was bound and determined to percolate.

From the moment we met we stuck like magnets, my negative to your positive.  There was joy in discovery each others’ styles, tastes, and doctrines.  We found a common love in turtle cheesecake, so there was that.  Otherwise, we were an engaged contradiction, a young conundrum.  I think the best things start that way.

But if opposites attract, we’ve found that it is the commonalities that bind.  Over the last 12 years, we’ve learned to dance to the same music.  We’ve hurt together, forgiven each other, healed together, rejoiced together.  We’ve left churches together, found churches together, put down roots.  We’ve made deep and lasting friendships together, found a common love for common people.  We’ve shared love for four babies.  We’ve discovered that everyone (even the Baptists) love good wine.  We’ve both put off old habits, tried to kill the worst of our flesh.  We’ve both found the joy in Come Thou Fount.  We’ve managed to raise common ebenezers.

And through this process, we’ve learned the hard lesson.  We are neither opposite nor similar.  Instead, we are one.  The process wasn’t easy; it wasn’t pain free.  But it has been good, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Drinking coffee with you is still the best part of the morning,

Seth