“Love never gripes.”
I’m pretty sure it doesn’t nag, pester, and stomp around, releasing exasperated sighs, either. Yet I’ve done my fair share of all those. But over the years, God has been showing both my husband and I a better way.
Marriage of the Minds
By Gail Kittleson
Our marriage of nearly thirty-eight years has certainly tested the waters. The first decade, engrossed in childbearing and rearing, simplified life. So much to do, so much to focus on, I rarely felt unfulfilled.
My husband agrees—his work provided purpose and satisfaction, although it took some time to settle into that work. Our missionary stint in Africa ended in seeming failure, but led to him finding his niche stateside.
We divided duties much as our parents, Greatest Generation members, did. I took care of the household and children, while my husband brought in the bacon. However, he helped out with the children in many ways—his mother commented more than once that his dad definitely never changed a diaper or took turns with night watches.
The “love chapter,” I Corinthians 13, read at so many weddings,
sets high standards for us, married or not.
“Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance” (1 Corinthians 13:7, NLT).
And Shakespeare agrees:
|Let me not to the marriage of true minds||Let me not declare any reasons why two|
|Admit impediments. Love is not love||True-minded people should not be married. Love is not love|
|Which alters when it alteration finds,||Which changes when it finds a change in circumstances …|
My husband and I married in 1978, after age 25 and earning master’s degrees. We were settled. But the third decade of our union brought more strife and tension than either of us expected.
Some of this might have been due to my husband’s two year + deployments to Iraq. But my slow emotional development played a role, too. During the early years, more than happy to take care of everyone and everything, I saw rescuing and fixing as my spiritual gifts.
In fact, I neglected my own growth and gifts along the way. Looking back, I think I’d have been happier if I’d enjoyed the self-confidence to pursue my writing career. But I didn’t, and building confidence takes a long time. A patient spouse helps too.
I’m happy to say we continued our journey together in spite of some nasty bumps that jostled us out of complacency. This winter, we spent one of our most memorable months together, my husband enjoying his relatively new photography hobby, and me editing away on a novel.
I hope our story encourages anyone enduring a bumpy time right now.
“It (love) always protects, always trusts, always hopes,
always perseveres” (1 Corinthians 13:7, NIV).
After losing her only son to World War II and her husband soon after, Dottie Kyle takes a job at a local small-town Iowa boarding house. Her daughter Cora moved to California straight out of high school to work for the war effort, married a sailor and settled down in the Golden State—another loss.
Dottie cooks and cleans, volunteers at her church, and tends her garden. But she hungers to meet her two precious grandbabies on the coast. When troubles arise in Cora’s third pregnancy, Dottie longs to help, but old fears prohibit that arduous, cross-country train journey.
At the boarding house, complications arise that force Dottie to speak up for what’s right, and as her confidence grows, so does the unexpected interest of the widower next door. Dottie has no idea second chances wait right around the corner.
Gail, a late but sincere bloomer, taught college expository writing and ESL. Now she focuses on women’s fiction and facilitates writing workshops and women’s retreats. She and her husband enjoy family in northern Iowa, and the Arizona Ponderosa forest in winter.
Meeting new reading and writing friends is the meringue on her pie, as her heroine Dottie would say.
Let’s talk about this: Gail talked about how her marriage went through some rough times, and pointed us to Paul’s words in 1 Corinthians. How do you and your spouse work through rough moments in your marriage? How do you bring–and keep–God as the center of your relationship with your spouse? Share your thoughts in the comments below, because we can all learn from one another!