A Valentine’s Day ConfessionBy Trillia Newbell | February 14th, 2013 | Category: Uncategorized | 3 comments
I’ve been thinking a lot about love. I’d say it isn’t a coincidence since it is the week of Valentine’s Day. Right now I know that I have a date with my husband later this evening. He won’t tell me where we are going and it doesn’t matter, because I will be with him.
But what if our date turns out like John Piper’s flop and we end up eating fast food? Or what if we get a flat tire or one of the kids get sick so we have to cancel the babysitter or what could very well happen—we end up getting into a conflict? How am I going to respond when my fairy-tale dream night doesn’t end up the way I pictured it?
The truth is; I didn’t always think “it doesn’t matter, because I will be with him.”
Over the past nine years of marriage God has graciously revealed areas of pride, self-righteousness and idolatry as it relates to the marriage relationship. When my husband and I first got married, holiday’s like Valentine’s Day would be another day where he would be graded on the results rather than appreciated for his efforts. I had great expectations of how his love would be expressed to me. I fell victim to the commercialized romance found on Jared commercials. “He didn’t go to Jared,” I might think to myself. And I’d have dreams of gazing into his eyes on top of the Empire State building at midnight, not saying a word but knowing he really is the one (“Sleepless in Seattle,” if you need a hint).
When it didn’t quite turn out the way I had envisioned I would be disappointed. I might hide my disappointment with an insincere “Thanks, Babe.” But my face would read otherwise and he knew. How sad. I hate that I spent those first few years being self-absorbed and ungrateful. What was difficult to see at the time was I had not only made my false idea of romantic love an idol, but also my husband.
He was my “cast metal god.” I wasn’t satisfied to enjoy him and be with him. He needed to fill me, give me something, otherwise I was hopeless. Really, I was. I would go from, “Wow, what a great marriage and husband,” to “Our marriage must be on the rocks.” How strange. But that’s what idols do. They lie. They will never satisfy. They will always distract you from the truth.
God graciously did some surgical work on my heart by revealing this to me years ago. God has been gracious and faithful to keep our marriage centered on Him through revealing to us hard things about ourselves. As I confessed my sin to my girl friends, my husband, and most importantly to God he was faithful and just to forgive me and has been purifying me (1 John 1:9).
If you recognize yourself in this post, do not despair. God’s grace is amazing! And when you realize the depths of your heart—grace is downright scandalous. Jesus blots out our transgressions and no longer counts them against us. The vast seas with their power and might don’t compare to the outpouring of God’s forgiveness. “To the Lord our God belong mercy and forgiveness, for we have rebelled against him,” (Daniel 9:9). We’ve rebelled, yet He forgives! You can draw near to the throne of grace and receive mercy and forgiveness and sweet grace.
And tonight can be different. You can ask God, like I will ask God, to give you a heart that is satisfied in Him alone and eyes to see the goodness and grace in others. You can ask God to help you love your husband with a radical love, like the love God calls us to for our neighbor (our husband is the closest neighbor). We all have a choice tonight to be led by God’s Spirit and to love. God will give us the power to enjoy our husbands and to love them regardless of what they do for us. The reality, not our fairy-tale, can be much sweeter.