Because of my lack of expectations, I never marched into social events, list in hand, on the hunt for someone who met all the “criteria.” But I did find myself most at home in highly Christian social activities, where I knew it was safe to assume most people were operating from the same worldview I was. We were all starting from the same foundation. So when I met Stephen in my highly Christian social environment of choice, what first actually drew me toward him was his ability to carry on intelligent conversation. I was also drawn to his complete and total lack of fear of what other people thought, which was, and still is, dramatically opposite of me. I appreciated his direct way of communicating, so different than the environment I grew up in and the life I had lived.
But when we were just two kids dancing at a swing dance club, I never would’ve guessed that this would be the guy I would end up marrying. All I knew was that I was compelled to get to know him more, because he was so different than me, and so different than anyone I had known.
Later I found those differences had much deeper origins. His lack of fear of others, I learned, came from knowing nothing was more important than what God thought. His direct communication came from his total trust in God–in His total sovereignty and in His total goodness, because either one without the other could never lead to total trust. These were things I had never before seen so vividly in a person.
And his intelligence is a beautiful gift God has bestowed upon him–something that fits perfectly with my everlasting hunger to learn and grow in my thinking. He teaches me things every day. It’s true that his totally opposite way of thinking about things sometimes causes frustrating miscommunications and sometimes fights between us. But I have also learned that when God compels you toward a person in such a way that there is no question that it is God’s hand directing you, that same God continues to do so even in marriage. I have been astonished at how Stephen and I, when we do fight, are both ultimately so compelled back toward each other in repentance and forgiveness. Some times take longer than others, but we always, always, always both get there (Stephen actually usually gets there first). I know beyond a doubt that that wouldn’t be possible but for God’s hand still guiding us and drawing us back toward each other. It’s one of the most beautiful things I’ve seen in marriage.
As for the one item on my list, that desire for a guy who “understands” me… I think there I got not what I expected, but better. I think what I meant at the time that I wrote it was somebody like my mom, who knows me so well that she knows exactly how I am feeling at any given moment. This means she can joke with me and spring off of my positive feelings, or she can leave me alone with my negative ones.
Stephen is not that way.
Instead, I’ve been given a man who never leaves me alone if he can tell I’m not happy. He constantly wants to help me feel better. Sometimes this works in exactly the wrong way. Other times it happens to be exactly what I needed. He can’t read my mind at every turn of emotions like my mom can, but he has gotten very good at reading when I just need someone to hold me until I can give a name to what’s hurting me. And he is happy to comply. And happy to help me make it better when I figure out what was wrong.
And I think, after all, that is what I wanted in a husband.