Travelin’ Together

If possible, so far as it depends upon you, live peaceably with all.  —Romans 12:18 RSV

Our forty-seven-year marriage has survived rearing three kids, building a do-it-yourself house, changing jobs, and losing both sets of parents. But nothing challenges my husband’s and my relationship more than a road trip together.

Dean does the driving and watching traffic and road conditions while I read the map and road signs, letting him know where the exits and the rest areas are. While he depends on me to play the role of navigator, he doesn’t appreciate it when I help him drive, such as pointing to the car ahead and shouting, “BRAKE! BRAKE!”  Or flinching or gasping when it looks as though a tractor-trailer is too close.

If I want my marriage intact at the end of the trip, it’s better, when my navigating skills aren’t needed, to keep my nose in a book or magazine and not on the speedometer or traffic. After nearly five decades, I’m still learning that “he who keeps his mouth and his tongue keeps himself out of trouble” (Proverbs 21:23), and that a soft answer does diffuse a tense situation (Proverbs 15:1).

Still, I fight attitudes and feelings that could easily put us on the wrong road—Selfish Street—that leads only to the town of Heartache.

“Make every effort to do what leads to peace and to mutual edification,” Paul wrote in the first century in the book of Romans. Those words are especially needed in the home, where I long to let my hair down. It’s hard being nice all day. Sometimes I don’t want to be nice. I don’t want to say the words or do the thing that makes for peace. I want to be mean, to retaliate when someone hurts me, to have the last word. But I know such actions lead only to more strife.

“As far as it depends on you” means I’m responsible, not for what my husband says and does, but for my own actions and reactions. It means keeping quiet when he tries a new route to see if it will save time but it adds more instead. It means biting my tongue and saying something positive through missed exits, wrong turns, crying kids, slow pokes, drivers, and time-consuming detours.

“It’s better to live in a desert than with a quarrelsome and ill-tempered wife,” Solomon wrote in Proverbs 21:19. I don’t want to be a wife whose nagging is “like a constant dripping on a rainy day” (Proverbs 27:15). I’d rather be the wife of Proverbs 31, who brings her husband good, not harm, all the days of her life (verse 12).

Lord, help me to be the wife my husband needs so that he can be all You plan for him to be. Enable me to be a true helpmeet. Amen.

Read and reflect on Romans 12:9–18.

From God, Me, & a Cup of Tea: 101 devotional readings to savor during your time with God © 2017 Michele Huey. All rights reserved. Image by Mindz from Pixabay

The Miracle of Love

Dean and me in the spring of 1973

Read and reflect on Ecclesiastes 4:9–12

Then the LORD God made a woman…and he brought her to the man. – Genesis 2:22 (NIV)

“Love is a miracle,” I told my husband the day after we attended a wedding.

The groom’s love for his bride shone from his eyes, was etched in every line of his face as he watched her approach him on her father’s arm.

“You must be so in love,” I told him after the ceremony.

He beamed. “Oh, I am!”

Love is a miracle. Think of it—one man meets one woman and falls in love—and she loves him in return. What, with all the billions of men and women in the world, are the chances of that? Yet it happens everyday.

I remember when I met my husband. I was drawn to him instantly—his gentle manner; his tall, slender frame; his trim beard; and curly, shoulder-length hair—but it was those twinkling blue eyes that did me in. That’s why all the love interests of the protagonists in the novels I write have twinkling blue eyes.

What a wonder when I found out that he was attracted to me, too! I mean, I was the girl who, in grade school, could never get anyone to “like me back.” Who wondered in high school if she’d ever go steady (I did). Who, in college, accepted a proposal from someone she thought was the love of her life, only to have him drop her a year later without an explanation. Who, after having her heart shattered, gave up on love and focused on a career.

And then, three months after vowing never to fall in love again, I met Dean. On our first date I knew deep down, where there are no words, that he was “The One.” We married eleven months after we met. The heart, indeed, has a mind of its own.

 I still thrill at the sight of him. Time and life, with all the disappointments and curve balls and tests and trials, have only strengthened and deepened the bond we share. And, wonder of wonders, after experiencing me at my worst, after 48 years, he loves me still!

Some call it chemistry. I call it God.

After all, He is love (1 John 4:16). He created woman for man and performed the first marriage ceremony (Genesis 2:18–25; 1 Corinthians 11:8–9) because He knew that “two are better than one” (Ecclesiastes 4:9–12). He blessed us with the gifts of romance and passion, which, within the boundaries He set, are gifts, not sin (Song of Solomon).

Love is a miracle and miracles are matters of the heart, not the head. If you have to talk yourself into loving someone, it isn’t love. With love, using your head and all your reasoning ability doesn’t work.

The miracle of love. One man. One woman. Loving—and in love with—each other. Wow.

Dear God, thank You for the love that blesses and brightens my life. Amen.

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