Archive for category: Marriage Letters

Marriage Letters–Enduring Together

We continue our Marriage Letters series. Today Amber and I write on the topic “Enduring loss together….”  Will you write your spouse today? Will you call them by their true and proper names?

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“Seeing the crowds, he went up on the mountain, and when he sat down, his disciples came to him, and opened his mouth and he taught them saying… blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.”  ~Matthew 5:1-2 & 4

Dear Amber,

We have lost.

It’s one of the things that’s certain–life is but a vapor.  If you don’t brace for the glory of the hereafter, it sneaks up on you and robs you blind.  We all know that; we’ve all experienced that in degrees.  For today, I’ll leave that topic to those who have struggled with more intimate losses, to those who are struggling with it.

To them, I’ll just say grace and peace and leave it at that.

We’ve endured different kinds of losses.  We’ve burried ideals, laid them to rest.  Health, wealth, the movements of the church, family notions–they’ve all been put down, drowned deep in the river.  The death of ideals can be difficult and lonely.

Maybe those losses are the most difficult to endure.  Often, we can’t point to the culprit.  After all, we never placed tangible ashes of “ideals” in a tangible box and slid them into a tangible columburium.  Sometimes the loss of the ideals takes months or years to discover. Disillusionment can be an arduous process.  Dying to self can be excruciating if not transforming.

Together, we have stuck it out.  We counted these losses as the cost of discipleship. We’ve mourned what we thought was the stuff of life.  We’ve mourned the loss of innocence and the sin that so easily entangles.  We’ve mourned who we were.  In that, we’ve burrried a bit of ourselves.  But we’re still here.  We’re here and we’re comforted.  We’re comforted because the truth is always more satisfying than the ideal.

Still standing with you,

Seth

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Please join AmberJoyScott, and me as we celebrate the truth about marriage. Every Monday in April we’re writing letters because we believe that when we bless our own marriage, we bless the marriages of others. If you write a post, share your link at Joy’s place today. Thank you for joining us.

Want to receive my updates in your inbox? Click here. Also, follow along on Twitter and Facebook.

Marriage Letters–I Trust You Because Trust Sanctifies

We continue our Marriage Letters series. Today Amber and I write on the topic “I trust you because….”  Will you write your spouse today? Will you call them by their true and proper names?

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Dear Amber,

Trust was a bridge we tried to burn a long time ago. We could name the breaches, the sins that so easily entangled, but I’m not sure it would serve much of a purpose at this point. It’s enough to say that when the truth came screaming into the light, it was easy to ask the question, “did I ever really know you?”

Trust is the victim of a lover’s vulnerability. We both know that. And in the wake of sin it would be easy to imagine a wasteland, to construct a nuclear winter and say things like, “I’ll never trust you again.” But words like that are only walls around the heart; they only serve to protect you from future pain. At the same time, those words hang the sword of disgrace perilously over the head of the offender. In the end, distrust is everyone’s prison.

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Distrust is fortified city of narcissism.

Distrust is a sharpened dagger.

Distrust is a trip-line in the dark.

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When God trusted all creation with such a great love, he knew men would hang it on a cross and mock it. I daresay that he was not surprised at the final outcome, he knew it from the beginning. But he exposed himself, allowed his trust to be betrayed so that men could see the truth–hope and freedom rise from the ashes of broken trust. And though God had the divine right to write us off, to build grand walls around heaven and keep us in separation, he used these breaches for our very sanctification.

That is divine.

I trust you. That trust leaves me exposed, I know. It creates the potential for great pain. And though I don’t expect that you’ll breach that trust–at least not in any signficant way–it would be naive to assume that any human carries the capacity for perfect fidelity. So if our acts bring us to the edge of distrust, I’ll ask for divine love and grace. I’ll ask that any breach leads us to greater sanctification. I’ll ask that freedom rises from the ashes. I’ll look to the cross and the empty tomb as the metaphor. And ultimately, I’ll say that love and trust are different sides of the same holy coin.

Seth

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Please join AmberJoyScott, and me as we celebrate the truth about marriage. Every Monday in April we’re writing letters because we believe that when we bless our own marriage, we bless the marriages of others. If you write a post, share your link at Amber’s place. Thank you for joining us.

Want to receive my updates in your inbox? Click here. Also, follow along on Twitter and Facebook.

Marriage Letters — The Names I Call You

We continue our Marriage Letters series. Today Amber and I write on “The Names I Call You.”  Will you write your spouse today? Will you call them by their true and proper names?

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Dear Amber,

We’ve learned a powerful lesson or two, haven’t we?  We’ve learned that family vacations don’t come easily, that expectations can be an overwhelming thing, and that nothing says “comfort” like a stack of Beignets and a cup of coffee.  We’ve also learned that sometimes words spoken take shape.  And lest you think I’m headed down an Olsteenian road of health and wealth, your best life now, and spiritual lollipops and unicorns (hogwash), just hold tight.

Do you remember that night I called you ungrateful, when I spoke in  overly paternal tones? You were crushed, bent low, and I suppose that’s why you lashed out.  It was a short lived scuffle, but the sun certainly sunk on our anger.  I know that you doubted your disposition as you laid your head on our pillow that night.

The names we are called shape our self-image.  I know that shouldn’t be fact, that there’s a different gospel truth, but the reality remains–we’re only human.  So today, I’ll try to call you by honorable names, the true ones. And maybe they’ll bolster you, give you steel bones and a sturdy back.  I’ve heard that’s what the truth does.

You are strong.  I’ve seen you give birth to four children, watched you writhe through back labor each time.  You’ve confessed hard sin.  You’ve borne the confessions of others.  You have an iron resolve.  You always come through.

You are graceful.  You sit with the broken in ash heaps and speak the truth–”we’re all the same kind of screwed up,” you tell them.  You offer gospel hope and a cool water (or hot tea, depending on the occasion).  More than anything, you call them forgiven and remind them that our door is always open.

You are encouraging.  You tell the younger women that there is hope, that things get better with time.  They fumble around in the awkwardness of young marriage or first babies, and you remind them that they are fit to finish their callings.  You tell them to stick it out, that you’ll walk with them.  Sometimes, that is enough.

You are hopeful.  You are grateful. You are loving. You are smokin’ hot.

But more than anything, you are my best friend, and my buddy.  And that’s the name that means the most to me.

Sitting here wishing you’d volunteer to get me another cup of coffee,

Seth

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Please join Amber, Joy, Scott, and me as we celebrate the truth about marriage. Every Monday in April we’re writing letters because we believe that when we bless our own marriage, we bless the marriages of others. If you write a post, share your link at Amber’s place. Thank you for joining us.

Want to receive my updates in your inbox? Click here. Also, follow along on Twitter and Facebook.

Marriage Letters: On Serving Together

Dear Amber,

The early days of spring shoot across the property like English ivy, flower like clover.  This property can grow up quickly.

Last weekend, after a healthy dose of weed pulling and lawn mowing, Isaac and I measured twine to string across the tomato beds.  He used his Bear Grylls pocket knife to cut the twine, closed it responsibly after each use.  He helped hammer nails into the wooden frames and tied off the loose ends.  When we were finished, we stepped back to survey our handiwork and he said, “I know you love me when you let me work with you, dad.”

I think that’s a proper summation.

Amber, we’ve been hoeing rows together for a few years now, and we’re trying our best to make them straight.  We’re learning to serve four boys, teaching them to work hard, pray before meals, and live at peace with others.  We’re trying our best to serve a community of friends, sharing meals, struggles, and faith with one another.  We’re hunkering deeper into church, and I hope to God we’re serving them half as much as they’re serving us.

Serving together seems to change things.  When we put aside the argument du jour, when we roll up our sleeves and get the dirt of service under our fingernails, I feel a kinship.  We know we’re on the same team, pushing toward the same goals.  There is a freedom in this kind of service, in denying ourselves for the best of others.  It is a constant point of refocusing, a reorientation toward what matters and a misdirection from what doesn’t.

In serving together, I’ve seen your wisdom, compassion, and mercy take flesh.  I’ve seen you as God intended.  And that’s really pretty.

Thank you for serving with me.  Let’s keep spurring each other on to love and good works.

Seth

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Please join Amber, Joy, Scott, and me as we celebrate the truth about marriage. Every Monday in April we’re writing letters because we believe that when we bless our own marriage, we bless the marriages of others. If you write a post, share your link at Amber’s place. Thank you for joining us.

Want to receive my updates in your inbox? Click here. Also, follow along on Twitter and Facebook.

I knew you loved, I know you love

Love… is not irratable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth.  Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
~1 Cor. 13:5-7

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Dear Amber,

This letter is a bit personal, so I’ll write a little more quietly today.  Ten years ago, you could have left.  You forced a confession from me and I watched you break and scatter across the bedroom floor.  That’s all I will say about it for now, but in those following days and weeks, I thought that I had undone something.  I thought that I had dissolved our young marriage.

You endured through the worst of those early days, and you didn’t leave.  Instead, you poured grace into me; you held tightly.  And if love endures all things, then that’s the moment I knew you loved me.

We’ve both buried hatchets now, both found opportunities to forgive.  But in the confession and forgiveness I’ve watched you walk without a hint of irritation or resentfulness.  I’ve watched you cast my wrongs across compass dials; you’ve burned the records of wrongs like pioneer ships.

The quality of your grace and forgiveness speaks volumes.  And that’s how I know you love me still.

I’m glad that you’re home,

Seth

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Every Monday, Amber and I, along with Joy and Scott Bennett, and others, write Marriage Letters.  It is an effort to encourage others to fight the good fight, to do the hard work. Did you write one this week? Visit Amber’s blog to link it. This week’s topic–I know you love me when/I knew you loved me when.

Want to receive my updates in your inbox? Click here. Also, follow along on Twitter and Facebook.

© Copyright - Seth Haines