I got to meet one of my dearest friends for lunch yesterday. She was telling me about a friend of hers who had gotten married against everyone's advice and was now dealing with a husband who taunted her and disrespected her - both in their house and in public.
My friend was telling me how frustrated she was and how helpless she felt. "But what can I do?" she was saying. "They're married now."
It kind of captured the finality of marriage for me. So, to wrap up our "Future Husband" chat, I want to ask this question:
Can you unconditionally love this man until the day you die?
Note I didn't ask will you love this man. Because the truth is, there are going to be days where you really won't feel the love. It'll be a bad PMS week, he'll get the flu and be the worst patient ever, whatever.
Sickness, busyness, boredom, and excitement are going to come and go throughout your life. If this guy is not only the love of your life, not only a man you respect, not only a man who cherishes you, not only your best friend, but all of the above, then I think you can safely answer no.
Surprised? :) Actually, the answer is no. You cannot unconditionally love him...on your own. In 1 John 4, it says that God is love. And when we abide in Him, His love is perfected in us. You cannot perfectly love anyone without God's love existing in you. Because trust me, you're going to screw up, your future husband is going to screw up. And it will only be because of God's love that you'll be able to forgive and move on.
However, that being said, if this guy is belittling you by making jokes at your expense, if he isn't cherishing you or caring about and for you, if he isn't giving you a model of Christ by leading you in a way honoring Him, please do not jump into marriage!
You are a child of God! You are precious to Him, so precious in fact that He calls you a "crown of beauty" in Isaiah 62. God delights in you and rejoices over you (Isaiah 62:3-5). No matter what stupid things you've done, what awful things you've said, whatever sins you've committed, if you have repented, you have been wrapped in a "robe of righteousness" by God (that's Isaiah 61. Seriously - read Isaiah!!).
Which means that no one has the right to make fun of you. If you are in a relationship with a guy who does this, please get out now. Listen to the advice your parents, friends, etc. are giving. Don't excuse his actions by thinking it's okay or you deserve it. Don't think it's a momentary thing - if you marry this man, you are going to be belittled and chipped away at for the rest of your life. Don't settle for anyone!
At the risk of sounding like Ike on Runaway Bride, you want a man who will brag about you even when you aren't there. You want a man who's proud to hold your hand. You want a man who will treat you like you are the most beautiful woman he's ever seen, even when you've got tonsillitis and you're running a 102 degree fever (yuck).
I believe marriage is for a lifetime. Except in the case of abuse or adultery, you will be with this guy forever. Now I sound like the kid on The Sandlot - "FORRREEEEVVEERRRR". Think carefully. Pray continually. Consider wisely. Listen to those who God has placed in your life.
Above all else, remember Proverbs 16:9 - "The mind of a man plans his way, but the Lord directs his steps." God does have a plan for your life - commit your life to Him and He will lead you straight into the arms of a man who will praise God for you.
I can't imagine my life with anyone but Jon. I can't imagine anyone better for me. Like I said before, he fits in my life. He's the sweetest part of my day, the person I love being with the most. And even when I'm so mad at him I can't even look at him (that's usually during the infamous PMS week), I would never trade my life with him for anything.
I hope you guys have enjoyed this little series on Future Husbands! :) Next week we'll start another segment on writing - it's one of the questions I get asked the most!