Those who are familiar with my marriage testimony, as well as some of my husband’s history, know I’ve prayed for many years that the tender, passionate love and affection I’ve always longed for (and believe MOST women long for) would be manifested in my marriage. After all, our husbands are intended to mirror Christ’s love for His church!
In the years following Allen’s turn around, he has grown dramatically in his faith. His commitment and care for me have deepened and been a blessing, but in truth I think it would be fair to say he loved me but wasn’t IN LOVE with me. Until now that is…
In all fairness, not much of how my hubby grew up demonstrated the benefits of love and affection. He didn’t have the blessing I did of witnessing an abundance of happy, strong marriages where affection was clearly and consistently modeled. Instead he saw a steady stream of broken homes and abuse. So even after he was committed to our marriage, he was still uncomfortable with affection and perfectly happy to give honor and commitment in lieu of passion.
Our friendship is so strong, I can say without hesitation that our marriage has been a very good one for years (in particular the last couple). Let’s face it, ALL marriages always are able to keep growing and improving. For any of you who are married, you understand this.
And in reality, for a marriage to keep growing and not to grow stagnant and get in a rut is a success in and of itself! When I consider that my husband married me because I was the best option at the time and he liked me well enough and we started the relationship steep solely in the pleasures of our flesh (premarital) followed by infidelity and verbal/emotional abuse… well, I’d say we’ve come a long way in the past decade!
A week ago my husband broke an extended fast he’s been on. It was during this fast the Father finally answered my prayers of the past decade: He gave my husband His heart for me.
Allen has such a tender love for me now, which he expresses through sweet affection and care that is everything I could’ve ever hoped for. It’s genuine and heartfelt, not done out of obligation or duty. It’s beautiful.
The problem is after 2.5 decades of men treating me in a way that clearly indicated I was not worthy of affection, apparently on some level I have learned to agree with them and I am finding it surprisingly challenging to receive this love, which only confirms what I already knew… I also have difficulty receiving love from the Father.
I’ve blogged before on Redeeming Love and how this fictional story loosely based on the book of Hosea moves my heart. I can completely identify with Angel and the brokenness she feels – even after years of inner healing, there are places in my heart that are still wounded from the things I’ve walked through.
I believe the Father has given my husband His heart for me in this moment to use him as a vessel of healing and restoration. To help me learn to receive the love He has always been pouring out – even when my husband wasn’t reflecting it to me as well.
I’m trusting where there is a portion of a testimony, the other portion will follow.
And that’s it. No great deep biblical message in this one. Just a confession of the state of my own heart and my declaration He is faithful.
I’ll leave you with Ephesians 3:17-19 (ESV) to ponder 🙂
so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.