Saturday, March 8, 2014

Who Me? Adapt To My Husband?

Here is another post by Barbara, my mother-in-law.  This is my very favorite 
one of them all! It is a beautiful love story. I think you will enjoy it a lot also ~

Throughout my years in junior and senior high school, I was part of a Bible quiz team.  This involved many hours of Bible study and memorization, but it was competition and FUN - especially when our team won and one year, went on to the international competition!  My parents, who were behind me all the way in this endeavor, gave me a copy of the Amplified New Testament, which was to help me as I studied deeper meanings of the verses.  Little did I know how it would affect me later on in life...

When I got married, I knew I should be submissive to my husband {Eph. 5:22}.  My mom was a great model for this, and I praise God for her example, which made it easier to me.  However, one day I was reading in the Amplified version, and was surprised to discover the words "Wives, be subject {be submissive and adapt yourselves} to your own husbands as [a service] to the Lord."  Ephesians 5:22 AMP {translated from the Greek}  As a young bride with a lot of expectations, I honestly didn't think it was fair to expect me as the wife to adapt myself to my husband.  Why should I have to do all the adapting?  But there it was, in black and white, in God's Word.  And I had learned, through many years of growth in the Lord, that when God gives a command, He also gives the enabling to keep that command {"Faithful is  he who called you..." I Thess. 5:24}.  He had done that for me many times as a single person.  So why should He not do it now?  All I had to do was stick close enough to Him to receive that grace ~ the grace to adjust myself to the peculiarities of my husband.  

Adapting yourself isn't just a one-time deal and it's over.  It takes ongoing practice.  Well, here's one way it came ~

Every young woman, it seems, dreams of one day meeting her knight in shining armor, who will sweep her off her feet, tell her she's beautiful, and walk down that aisle to meet her at the altar.  I guess the fairy tales help out with the imagery, but you get the gist.  And I fell prey to that line.  Oh yes, I knew he had to be God's choice for me, but underneath it all I craved hearing someone tell me that he loved me, that I was beautiful even if only to him.

So when, at age 30, I met and married the man God chose for me, a rather handsome dude, I must say, I waited to hear those words of love from his lips.  It wasn't a prerequisite, of course, but maybe just every now and then it would have been nice.  Those words, and other terms of endearment, were few and far between.  Oh, I knew he loved me, and I Ioved him, and our marriage was solidly built on biblical principles; but I really would have liked to hear more of the mushy stuff.  

Yet I knew it wasn't my job to change him; so I began to accept, with a small degree of disappointment, the fact that my husband was the strong, silent type, not very showy with his emotions, verbal or otherwise.  I was thankful that, the week we became engaged just between us, he promised to always open doors for me as an expression of his love.  That was cool.  And he did keep his word, which spoke to me silently every time I got out of the car or entered a building with him.  I knew he loved me.  How could I not?

Thus I found myself beginning to put into practice God's "adapting" command to wives in Eph. 5:22.  And I realized that God was indeed giving me that grace He gives to follow His commands.  Not surprising, since He created the heavens with His breath {Ps. 33:6}.  He can do anything, you know.

I began to accept Harold the way he was, and God filled me with contentment.  {I've since discovered that a godly wife will need that adapting grace from time to time throughout the years of her marriage.  That's OK.  God's supply of grace is infinite.}

Fast forward almost 30 years to the day I discovered the diamond was gone from my engagement ring.  AAUUUGH!  What an awful feeling.  I felt like the lady in the Bible who looked all over for her lost coin.  Only my story had a different ending.  I searched high and low, shining a flashlight all over the carpeted floors, but found nothing.  Nada.  I did some research to see what it would cost to replace my little rock, and felt that it was too pricey to even consider.  We weren't rolling in the dough, and I didn't feel comfortable spending a lot of money on such an item.

Then I began looking into getting a faux - a cubic zirconium.  Our pastor had worked with gems and gave me some input. He said it would sparkle like a diamond but with a few more colors in it, like a rainbow. I priced it at a reliable jeweler's shop, and together my husband and I decided to go this route - soooo much cheaper.

Off to the jeweler's I went, where I had to make one more decision: did I want it cleaned up, looking "like new"?  Hey, why not, I figured.  As long as I was saving a goodly sum, and it probably needed a good cleaning anyway, what difference did ten more dollars make?  I was told when to return for the ring, and went home to wait.

The day finally came, and I drove to the jeweler's in the next town.  It was near Valentine's Day.  How appropriate, I thought with a smile.  As I slipped the ring on my finger at the counter, my eyes filled with tears.  It was SO gorgeous!  Shiny!  Sparkly!  Who could TELL it wasn't a real diamond?  Not I!!!  {The lady at the counter thought I was sad, and I quickly had to reassure her that I was totally the opposite!}

All the way home I let my left hand lift from the steering wheel to see my fake "diamond"  dance with a gazillion rays of bright California sunlight.  How fun!  I couldn't wait to show Harold!  Upon entering the kitchen at home, I called to him and flicked on the overhead lights to show off my new acquisition.  "Honey!"  I cried.  "Just look!  My ring looks just as beautiful as the day you gave it to me!"  And, without missing a beat, in his quick-thinking, quiet way, he responded, "And so are you."  {Kiss.}

Inwardly, I sensed something falling into place.  Somehow it didn't matter that, all these years, he hadn't been calling me "lovely," "beautiful," "gorgeous," or any of those other things I thought I needed to hear.  Instead, all these years, he'd been treating me as if I were beautiful ~ opening doors for me, and doing numberless other things that spoke of his love for me.  All of a sudden I didn't care anymore if he called me beautiful.  His life spoke it.  I knew it deep inside, where it matters most.  I realized that I would far and away rather have a man who doesn't necessarily call me beautiful but treats me as if I were, than to have a man who calls me all sorts of lovely things but who treats me more like dirt. 

And then it hit me ~ I had indeed adapted to my husband, at least in this issue.  And if I could do it once, why not again, and again, and.....???  Thank You, Father.  Your grace IS sufficient. {II Cor. 12:9}  And as I face the years of growing older together, I realize we will both be changing; and God will give me, out of His limitless resources in Jesus, all the adapting grace I need for each hour, each day.

am so blessed.  God's ways are always best.  Always.