I’ve wanted to share some letters from a friend, Victoria Porter, who is such a careful writer. I think you will benefit from the words she wrote to her newly-wed niece, Angela, many years ago. See if you can find anything useful in them.
What a joy to get your letter! What an honor that you ask me about marriage! How do I do it? What are my methods? It would take a whole book!
Many such books, several fine ones, in fact, exist already, that I love reading.
I know, though, that you are asking for more than basic principles. I know you want my perspective, my understanding. Maybe you’d even enjoy being privy to a couple of family secrets? There is no reason why you shouldn’t be — everyone in the family knows them except you younger members. 🙂
Your dear husband ought to feel very happy with a bride who is concerned with success as you are. You can’t possibly be past the honeymoon stage, yet, but I wonder — are you starting to detect signs of (gasp!) humanity in the partner you were sure was perfect? That is very good.
Always remember this: You married a man, a son of the first Adam. Only God, alone, is perfect. If you understand and believe that, you will save yourself much disappointment.
In fact, it will help you greatly to think of him, sometimes, as a little child trapped in a grown man’s body! I do not say this to degrade him, for you are hardly any different, nor am I. We’re all, if we’re humble, constantly being pressed into situations we do not feel qualified to fulfill. Whether it’s buying a house, or its door mat, who really knows what is best, hmm? Only One, and that One is God. So see, He, alone, is perfect and He, alone, knows what is best.
Now, you think about that really hard, because it is the foundation for much peace and without a good understanding of it, you will miss the next ideas.
As long as you expect God, alone, to be perfect and omniscient, you will do well. If you start expecting these qualities from your husband, you will do two very tragic things that will destroy much of your peace:
- You will be setting your husband up as a god in your life. It is idolatry to expect him, or anyone else including yourself, to be perfect. If he could appear to achieve your standard for perfection, you might idolize him even more, setting him up for a stumble, because God shares His glory with no one.
Because our standards are often not God’s standards, God’s goals for Dan might differ from yours. The Real God would be giving Dan grace for what He deemed was the real need. Although your man might be growing in grace and pleasing to God, you might be quite disappointed because he still slurps his soup, or something.
- You will minister rejection to him. This is harder to grasp, but if you expect your husband to be perfect and always know what is best, you will be ministering rejection to him. That’s right — I said rejection.
You can see it if you realize that your expectations leave him no margin for error, no space for changing decisions, and no chance for confession and forgiveness. If being himself means being less than your ideal, how can he ever be real with you? Some best friend you’d be, accepting only the very easy parts of him and rejecting the real picture.
There, I’ve said it again: rejecting.
Do you remember the girl you used to play with named Dora? Remember how she used to cheat at games? We all knew it was a serious fault in her, yet you loved her anyway, and tried to forgive the bad and help her do better.
Remember how your brother used to chew his fingernails “to the quick” and how glad you were for him when he overcame that habit?
Those are examples of the extreme heights of which love is capable. Who better should rightly receive such love from you than your own husband?
Accept him. Forgive him. Love him.
I’ll write you more next Saturday, okay Love?
‘Bye for now,