Sunday, August 31, 2014

On Marriage, Love, and the Lord of the Rings: Thoughts after 4 years of Marriage

My husband always made me feel loved. Even when we had fights, even when I cried & ranted & knew he was putting up with me. Even when I felt like he didn’t like me. Even when I was so mad at him my vision was shaking. Even when he was sinking into depression and absolutely nothing I did seemed to make an atom’s worth of difference. Through all our hard times, through all our fights, I always never doubted, that he really truly loved me.

Even when first fell in love and were in la-la land, he never raved to me about my wonderful qualities that made him love me. Which, in the long run, was kind of comforting. Since my qualities can change. (I still remember trying to pry for compliments, when we were dating, asking him why he thought dating me was a good idea. " like camping and rice and beans. I’m never going to be rich…”)
In love, in la la land...
He never spoke of his love for me like this great fortress that would comfort me (like my favorite love song in High School “All I ask of You”). He didn’t really speak of his love for me at all.

He just loved me.
Just listened when I rambled about my fears and worries till 2 am, just listening. Told me when he thought I was wrong. When I asked him “Why do you love me?” He thought about it for a bit, and came back with “A combination of me wanting to, and feeling like God wanted me to.” God wanted him to love me (and he didn’t mind). That was reason enough. And as un-romantic as it was against “you are the most beautiful woman I ever met” “your soul is so beautiful” etc etc, it was rock solid.

Because no matter how many fights I pick and doors I slam and meltdowns I have, no matter how I nag him and worry about finances and act shabby in petty fights with other girls or get fat, that doesn’t change, that God wants him to love me. And that he would love me, with God’s help.
So why did he love me? Because God told him to. And it wasn’t a “my great love I have because I’m obeying God.” He loved me. It just was. In the thousand little things, his confident order of 2 beefy-5-layer burritos at Taco Bell, the 2 player games of 7 wonders, his grin when I solved the programming question, the berry-peanut butter sandwiches he fixed for our picnic, him talking to my tummy, explaining to our breech in utero baby the reasons why he should flip over….
It was a sort of un-self-conscious kind of love. It was just there---like the sun coming up. “Why does the sun come up?” the 3 yr old asks. “Because God wants it to” you say, thinking about something else. But it’s true. And it does come up.

 And when I came to him, distraught, wanting him to soak up all my fear/worry, be my rock, tell me that the world was going to be ok, etc---he told me, in a choked up voice, that he couldn’t do it. That he couldn’t really comfort me. And then he said “But the one who can perfectly comfort you is God, and He will take care of both of us.”

He was never my savior, my rescuer, my rock. He pointed me to the One who was. Early in marriage, at first I was a little deflated by this. 
I wanted him to be strong, to be there, to hold me and say “let me be your shelter…”--- not to get depressed by my emotional dump and tell me that he was weak as I was, and then point a finger at God and remind me “He’s gonna save us.” 
I was disappointed that my husband wasn’t going to be the knight on the white horse, wasn’t going to be my shelter, wasn’t going to be Jesus. I mean, in all the romantic stories, the guy kinda is. The shoulder to cry on. The strong one. The one that makes it all better. But early in our relationship, he told me flat out told me he couldn’t make it better. But he believed God would. “He will take care of both of us.”

And now, at the ripe age of 26, 4 yrs down this road, I see how right it was. I had been dissapointed that he would not fill that place in me, that craved for something, something I daydreamed would be filled in marriage. But he intentionally wouldn't, leaving me with an empty place for…Jesus. (Not for romance novels about Jesus-like guys, not for daydreaming and listening to ‘All I ask of You’.)  
He wouldn’t usurp Jesus’ place in my heart.

Because he was right. No human can comfort as we crave comfort. No human can really be your rock. No human can really be the Bridegroom of your Soul. It might work for a bit, for a few months, perhaps even a few years at most. But it will crumble, the idol will crash down, the asphalt will break under the load that was meant only for unbreakable Rock.

I had always found the “Let me be your shelter, let me be your light” motif from All I ask of You to be so romantic. The girl, full of fear, falling apart, the guy, strong and full of love, making it better. But then, viewing The Two Towers movie, I saw the same motif, but gender inverted. 

The war seems to be teetering on the edge of destruction, evil seems to be winning. Aragorn has been fighting this for 60 years, and now, he is struggling with giving into despair, doubt. In this dream sequence he sees his beloved Arwen, and tells her “My path is hidden from me.” To which she says “It is already laid before your feet. You cannot falter now.” He looks upset, is trying to say something, she silences him and says “If you trust nothing else, trust this (pointing to the necklace she gave him, the symbol of their love) Trust us” and then they kiss.

I was dumbstruck with the depression of it all. He’s struggling with doubt, struggling with despair, not even knowing if he’s doing the right thing. She tries to tell him that he is, and he still isn’t buying it. So her trump card is, if you believe in nothing else, believe in us.

And now I realize it reminded me of this poem.

Ah, love, let us be true
To one another! for the world, which seems
To lie before us like a land of dreams,
So various, so beautiful, so new,
Hath really neither joy, nor love, nor light,
Nor certitude, nor peace, nor help for pain;
And we are here as on a darkling plain
Swept with confused alarms of struggle and flight,
Where ignorant armies clash by night.
                      ~ excerpt from Mathew Arnold’s “Dover Beach

The funny thing was, when the girl’s love had to be the light, the shelter, it struck me as so insufficient, such a pathetic human attempt to hold our frail love against the darkness closing in. Admirable, but so incredibly sad, weak, and doomed to failure, like a toddler trying to move the piano on willpower.
Then, from the (extended) Return of the King movie, is this scene 

Eowyn is where Aragorn was. She’s despairing that the darkness will win. That the light will never come again “there is no warmth left in the sun, it grows so cold.” And Faramir’s response? “It’s the damp of the first spring rain. I do not believe this darkness will endure.” And he says it, so full of faith. And then, she puts her head on his shoulder, his arm around her, while he looks out toward the light.

In the Aragorn/Arwen scene, LOVE what was gonna get them through it. “Believe in us.” The scene ended with them, face to face, desperately trying to get their strength from each other. 
In the Faramir/Eowyn scene, “I do not believe this darkness will endure”. Believe that the sun will come again. The scene ended with him looking out toward the light. Faith. Faith in something bigger than yourselves.

Both scenes are about people comforting each other. In the first, Arwen’s love is the final answer. In the second, believing that the light will come, is.

If a human tries to be another's light, shelter, savior…its going to fail. He might really really mean it. He might really really try. But he’s going to fail. 
Because humans aren’t God. There’s a God-craving in us, an intense missing something we’ve never really known, desiring the Perfect Father, desiring the Bridegroom of our Souls. 

And we try to fill it, fill it with fellow humans, or daydreams. And it doesn’t work. Because that vacuum was designed for only one Man. For the Real Bridegroom of our souls. 
And He’s the rescuer for both of you, you and your husband, as you journey together, selected for each other because God wanted you 2 on a team, together traveling on that road to the New Jerusalem, where the Bridegroom of your souls waits, where the deepest desires of our hearts are filled. Because they weren’t meant to be filled here. 
They were meant to be filled in the New Jerusalem.
And they will be. As sure as the sun rising in the morning. 

No comments:

Post a Comment