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Three words. That is the entirety of the most romantic thing that my husband, Jonathan, has ever said to me, and they are probably not the three words you are thinking of (“of which you are thinking”, for the grammar police…I know, and I don’t care).

I had been having a rough time emotionally, but I knew that Jonathan’s job was very stressful at the moment, so I hid it from him didn’t tell him. I had been struggling maybe a week, when I came home to candle light, dinner on the table, and a flowering plant. Naturally, I burst into tears. Later that night, as my husband slow danced with me (he hates dancing, by the way), I asked him how he knew when I had tried so hard to keep it from him. Then he said three words, three words that went deeper than anything he had ever said.

“I know you.”

I think those three words sum up everything that we as humans crave in a relationship: to be truly known and then still, or perhaps in spite of, truly loved.

I know you.

Fast forward two children, a chronic condition, and many years later. I was sitting on the bathroom floor crying. I had been having a nasty flare up of symptoms that robbed me of energy, dulled my mind, and drained my enjoyment of life. I couldn’t play with my children, so what kind of mother was I? I couldn’t do housework much less go to work, and I couldn’t even follow a conversation. What kind of wife was I? And writing- HA! Words slipped away, leaving me with “uh”s and “um”s and shadows of concepts I couldn’t voice. I was pointless. I useless burden on my family, and despite his best efforts, there was nothing my husband could say to convince me otherwise.

So, he did something.

For years I had been wanting a laptop, something exclusively for my writing that I could use whenever and where ever. Jonathan had been wanting a small portable amp for his bass, for the same reasons, to use whenever and where ever. But when I was unable to see in myself any future, my husband went out, sacrificing what he wanted, and got me a laptop. That’s not what he gave me though. What he gave me was something rich and substantive: validation. He believed in me. He believed that even though I was a total mess at that moment, I had worth. When all I could see was what I couldn’t do, he saw who I was and helped me see it through his actions.

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So, he did something.

All this isn’t to brag on my husband, though clearly, he is amazing. God often refers to us as his bride for good reason. Marriage can be a powerful demonstration of Christ’s love for us. He sees us (even when we try to hide who we are from him), and he loves us. We may feel worthless and impossible to love, so instead of words, he did something. He gave all that he is for us- US! Have you seen us? We are a terrible lot! But no, he sees something deeper. He sees value that has nothing to do with what we can do. He truly knows us and truly loves us. With his sacrifice, he validates that we have worth- such great worth! And when all we can see is the mess that we are, the very fact that he wants us, helps us to catch a glimpse of who we are in him.

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