When I first fell in love with Mark, he was everything I ever prayed for and even more. He was gentle, full of efforts, loving, honest, genuine, very sweet. He made me smile and goes the extra mile day by day.
That is who my husband is. And he remains this way most of the time. That’s why I am blessed to say that I am a happy wife… most of the time. Because my husband is at his best…most of the time.
I am grateful, I am joyful, and I love him with all of my heart given the condition that Mark is at his best state. If not, I am ungrateful, I am complaining, I withdraw.
But guess what? My husband is human. I fell in love with a real human who has flaws, fears, and weaknesses just as I do. I didn’t fall in love with a guy from fantasy land. The Lord gave me His creation.
This semester, Mark is being challenged every day by his responsibilities as a student since it is his last semester. He gets up before the sun rises and goes home with the sun down. On top of that, he is my husband and Taziana’s dad. He is a leader of a family. He wants to make us happy without sacrificing other responsibilities. One of his strengths is that he always wants to make sure he makes the right decision for us, but that becomes a weakness when he gets too pressured and afraid of making mistakes.
He gets easily irritated, he unintentionally forgets to watch his tone, he tends to sound harsh without knowing, he loses focus on other things. It is a struggle that he has recently been working with the Lord. To be able to trust God and be able to go through daily challenges with a faithful and joyful heart.
This week was the hardest for me. I couldn’t bear it anymore. In my mind, I have already been too forgiving and too understanding. If I take too much of this, he might think I am inferior to him. Result? Nagging. I have become a nagger! I cannot believe it!
A small example is that one night when we were happily having dinner, he opened messages from his thesis group mates. His face changed. Believe me, the transition had no blurred lines. It was instant and very visible. He stood up and panicked. I didn’t know why. We have a lot of storage boxes. We have 4 huge storage boxes stacked on top of one another. The one at the bottom has all the books and school supplies we don’t need anymore and the one on top are materials we use more frequently.
In a blink of an eye, he started unloading the heavy boxes one by one. I asked him, “What are you looking for?” He said “the compilation of our questionnaires for thesis”. I know where most of the things in our home is placed. After all, I am the one in charge of our home. I know what goes in and out of it. But, I need time to think and remember. It didn’t even take me two minutes, but Mark was being so impatient. I asked again, “Is it the one in the white paper bag?” He answered, “No. The one in the black plastic! I kept it here but now I don’t know where it is. I am sure I placed it here! Where could it be?!” Cheeeeze. Excuse me but, you could stand still for two minutes while I try to help you! You don’t have to be rude and impatient when someone is trying to help you. I didn’t say that, but I said something similar. I said, “It’s in here! Golly, why do you have to be so rude? I am only trying to help you. Tinuturo ko sayo ng maayos eh!”
Wow. I’ve never nagged Mark in my life as much I did this week. According to him, I should reduce mumbling side comments- comments that has no good contribution to the problem. Ah, yesss. A nagger and a mumbler. What happened to me?!
My reason was that Mark should know how to manage his stress and learn how to keep work away from home. He’s only a student, how bad is it going to be when he actually starts working?!
But that’s him. That’s his contribution to the problem and I have my own. My love has started being conditional: I will only love you at your best, you don’t deserve my love when you are at your worst.
Mark left after a mild conversation of disagreement because he needed his papers photocopied. I did my daily devotions. And you know what the Lord told me?
“You can love ANYONE who is at their best. There is no value in loving only those who love you, there is no reward in loving only those who are loving. It takes character and real feelings to love the unlovable. Only this kind of love will show how much you truly love your husband. Loving him at his worst”
Golly, I felt so guilty. True, my husband’s life would be so much better if only he learned these things-but he is a work in progress… just like me! What my husband needs from me is love and support.
I imagine, what if at that moment that he was panicking, I stood up and held his hand and said, “Honey, relax. I will help you. You don’t have to panic. I know it’s here”? Could he have a change of heart?
But all praises to God because when I apologized to Mark, he wholeheartedly accepted it. I wasn’t a very magical moment where everything falls back to the right place in a snap. It takes small steps everyday to actually make me feel that I am still his best friend. It takes time. To be honest, it is still something I am practicing.
I am lifting up to the Lord this new “personality” I have seemed to developed- the mumbler and the nagger. I know this is not me, it is very unlikely of me. For three years, I have never been this way to him. There must be something that needs to be healed in me, something only the Lord can do.
My husband is amazing, but the Lord is still my ultimate protector, my one true love, my Father. There are things He can and would do for me that my husband can’t. And I shouldn’t hold my husband responsible for that.
I know the Lord always works behind the scenes because my husband has become even more sincere, gentle, and intentional lately. He has become more accepting of his mistakes and really makes the effort to make it right. He has even been very intentional in asking me out to dinner and surprising with little things. He knows how much I love simple things like this! I love his appreciation and I love it when he becomes so gentle yet manly in serving me as my husband.
As for me, I will continue walking with my Father as He teaches me to love the same way He has loved me: through the best and worst. I will love my husband at his best, and love him even more at his worst. Because that is love with character, love with genuineness, and as what my friend loves calling it, it is decisive love. A love you choose to fight for, a love you work for, a love that knows, a love that does not seek convenience.
“If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners love those who love them.