What Is Love Made Of?

And now I will show you the most excellent way. – 1 Corinthians 12:31b (NIV)

Hubby and I don’t do Valentine’s Day. For some reason, it’s never been an important event on our life calendar.

Oh, I tried to make it an event a few times. One year I cooked up a special dinner: roast beef heart and pink mashed potatoes, a meal we endured only once. A greeting card never seems to say what I want it to say, even when I make the card myself.

Perhaps it’s that what I feel for my husband of forty-five years goes beyond words.

And I think the forty-five years has a lot to do with it.

In the early years, I looked for what I could get in the relationship: companionship, love, support, a listening ear, sympathy. What I got was a man who worked 10- to 12-hour days five days a week, provided firewood, fixed things (an unending job because something always needs fixed), and built me a house. He’s been a good father to our three children—a softy, I always called him. But his softness balanced my harshness.

I’ve never seen him angry—upset a few times, but never angry. Even when I tried to pick a fight, he never took the bait. And he’s always supported me in my dreams. I dedicated my second book to him with these words: “To the man who fixes dinner, washes the dishes and clothes, dusts and vacuums, shops for groceries and puts them away, does the ‘kid runs’—the myriad of daily tasks considered ‘women’s work’—so that I could have the time to write. To the man who told me that he felt God’s will for his life was to free up my time so I could follow God’s call for my life.”

Whether I decided to go to work outside the home or quit the job I had, he’s always supported my decisions.

Although he used to “suggest” ways my cooking could be improved, he always ate everything I’ve made, even when I couldn’t. Proving he told the truth when we were dating when he said, “I was in the service. I can eat anything.”

Now that the nest is empty, we’ve set aside Friday night as our date night. Homemade pizza and a movie. But he rarely makes it through the movie. I hear his soft snores around nine. I don’t even bother waking him up to go to bed. It never works and he doesn’t even remember. I just cover him with a blanket, turn off the TV, turn down the lights and softly kiss him on the forehead. He’ll get to bed eventually.

I used to feel sorry for myself when he neglected to say “I love you” every day. But—don’t tell him this—I’ve come to realize I don’t need to hear it. I see it in everything he does. I hear it shouted from the stack of firewood by the wood stove, from the packages of venison and vegetables and berries in the freezer, from the 1997 Explorer that he fixed and fixed and fixed until we could afford to replace it. The walls of the house he built are his arms around me day and night.

“Saturday’s Valentine’s Day,” I said one night a few years ago as we sat at the supper table.

“What do you want to do?” he asked.

I thought about for a moment. “Nothing, really. I’m such a homebody anymore.”

He smiled and nodded.

“We never did do Valentine’s Day, did we?” I said. “I wonder why.”

We ate in silence for a few minutes. Then it hit me.

“Because with you,” I said, warmth coursing through me, “I have Valentine’s Day every day.”

Dear God, You gave me the perfect life companion. Not a perfect man, but the man perfect for me. Thank you. Amen.

Read and reflect on 1 Corinthians 13

From God, Me & a Cup of Tea for the Seasons, © 2018 by Michele T. Huey. All rights reserved.

Where Choices Lead

 

If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and he will give it to you. –James 1:5 NLT

When I met my husband at the end of January in 1973, I fell in love with those twinkling blue eyes and everything about him. A week later I knew he was the one.

But in March fear set in. I was still feeling the effects of a broken engagement six months earlier. My shattered heart hadn’t had enough time to mend.

“This is happening too fast,” I told him one Friday evening after our date. Then I slipped out of his car and out of his life.

For the next two days, an emotional wrestling match waged war in my heart. What if I was passing up the love of a lifetime? Deep down I knew someone like him might never come along again. But this was my chance to play the field. I was young, free, and independent.

Saturday evening I stayed home. Alone. Miserable.

We had a signal in those days before cell phones. If the living room light was on and the window shade was up, I wasn’t home. If the light was on and the shade down, I was.

I kept peeking through the drawn shade, hoping he’d stop by. I kept that light on and the shade down all night long. By Sunday evening, I made a choice. I grabbed my car keys and went looking for him.

Here we are, about to celebrate our forty-fifth anniversary. I shudder when I think of how close I came to losing him and missing out on the life we’ve had together.

Every choice we make carries with it consequences, some good and some not so good.

When I read the book of Ruth a few weeks ago, it struck me that this story that so beautifully shows the sovereignty and faithfulness of God, is a story of choices. Each of the four main characters had a choice to make. What they chose determined future joy or sorrow, rejoicing or regret.

Elimelech, Naomi’s husband, chose to step out of God’s will and not trust God to provide for him and his family’s needs. He moved his family to Moab, only 55 miles from his hometown of Bethlehem.

The result was disaster. He died in a foreign land, his sons married Moabite women, not women of the Hebrew faith. Then the sons died, leaving Naomi and her two pagan daughters-in-law without provision and protection.

Naomi chose to return to Bethlehem. Stepping back into God’s will led to more blessings than she could ever have dreamed of.

Ruth, Naomi’s daughter-in-law, chose to remain with Naomi rather than return home to “her people and her gods.”

“Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay,” Ruth told her. “Your people will be my people and your God my God. Where you die I will die, and there I will be buried. May the Lord deal with me, be it ever so severely, if even death separates you and me” (Ruth 1:16–18).

Ruth’s choice of loyalty led to the love of a lifetime.

Boaz, Elimelech’s relative, chose to honor the law of levirate marriage and take Ruth as his wife. The result was hope for all mankind. The child they had, Obed, became the grandfather of David, whose line produced the Messiah.

The end result for all but Elimelech was joy.

Every choice we make has consequences. Asking God for helpfor wisdom, guidance, and directionwill lead to the right choice, if we choose to listen to Him.

What choices are you facing today?

 Help me, Lord, to choose the right priorities, the right people, the right places, and the right Provider—You. Amen.

Read and meditate on Ruth 1–4.

© 2018 Michele Huey. All rights reserved.