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Identities: Spouse

Watching the person you love fade out of view as the shape you once knew descends into darkness is a painful part of the life we embrace. So often we love what we lost and are too broken to admit that deep down, we wish we had never loved at all. We think the euphoric highs are worth the agonizing lows but ignore the sad reality that a break up is not the descent down the hill on a roller coaster. It is the end of the ride. Each person departs and goes their separate way, and we realize that we will no longer experience the highs or lows but will be left to try to process the pain of our deepest emotions.

We long to become so interconnected with another person that their words seem to come from our mind and vice versa. The thought of two bodies fitting together like puzzle pieces as our intricate design fits perfectly with another is a beautiful depiction of the connectedness we seek. Yet those feelings drift away as the puzzle changes shape and we no longer match the way we once did.

Bitterness is not the hatred of what was done to us so much as it is the realization that, despite the hurt, we wish to endure it again. Scabs do not form as we pick apart the one who created them and then shoved salt into the open wound. But bitterness is not the deep anger that we were hurt; it is the painful acknowledgment that we are stuck remembering what transpired.

Sadly, nothing causes as much pain as the reality that, as days pass by, the person we desire to spend them with has moved forward while we are stuck dealing with the past. What an amazing concept. Time is consistent. It is always moving forward. It does not go anywhere. However, in our darkest pain, it feels as if time does not move at all. Conversely, it feels as if the sun orbits the earth at a pace we cannot match as we want everything to stop. The worst decision is to turn to the person we once loved and see that they have moved forward. They kept up with time. We stood still. And we feel so far behind.

Bitterness arises out of our prideful thinking that we should be ahead and our guilt from knowing we are behind. Nevertheless, we must face the truth that our brokenness is part of us and bitterness is nothing more than a reminder that we are ignoring a battle we must face. Ignoring our pain will lead to endless attempts at supplementation that will never bring satisfaction. A soldier can go all around the world and focus on a million remedial tasks, but it will not change that a war is taking place.

I hate to admit that I feel like my hope rests in the one that will meet me at the altar. That is why I am constantly dissatisfied. The person whose life will be integrated with mine will never be the perfect person I craft in my mind. How can I honor my wife with such debauchery? Yet we live in a world that longs for false depictions of reality. We believe we "deserve better" as if our broken lives are a model of perfection, then we squander the love we are given because it lacks the perfection we are unable to reciprocate. The reason so many of us are not ready to be married is that we long to be married to an idol, not a human. We attach our emotions to a fairy tale image crafted in our mind that fits the narrative we hope to embrace. Then we find ourselves noticing the grass is always greener because we are never able to find the model of perfection we have cultivated in our minds.

Our ability to honor our spouse will not start the moment we say "I do." By that point, it is too late. Thinking we need to get everything out of our system trains our system to lack satisfaction from one person. As we bounce from person to person, what level of perfection will need to be met for us to have permanent satisfaction? When we train ourselves to remember there is always another option, what evidence can we trust that we will stay committed when the time comes?

We long to be a spouse but do little to get prepared. We create idols in our brains that will cause our spouse to feel useless. Why do I allow false realities to dictate my present? Why am I not spending more time honoring my wife today before I meet her tomorrow? How can I put off my desires in the present to build a better self for the future?

God, why do I want to honor my wife and not take the time to honor You? Help me get out of my own way. You prepare the future. Help me walk in the present. Forgive me for my past. Teach me to honor as You do. To love my bride as You did. So that one day she can answer the question that matters.

Who is he?

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