I had an experience, this week, that got my gears turning again. I had to process two completely different things in one day, but found a connection.
I have a friend who is facing divorce. Her husband has just decided that he is done. Breaking up a large family and walking away without any logical reasons. Great family. Nobody really saw this coming. My money is on an affair. Something has his head screwed up. Nobody gives up a family like this with a rational mind. Doesn’t make sense.
The same day I am trying to make sense of that, something else happened.
After a long day of running all over creation, I managed to lose the photo insert from my wallet. There’s only one picture in it. It’s a picture of my wife from a trip to Glamour Shots in 1996. It’s not even a great shot. The lighting was bad. The pose is a little corny. It’s worn. But, it’s been in my wallet ever since I got it. It’s just a single photo of a woman I see everyday. It shouldn’t have been a big deal, but I kinda freaked out when I saw it missing.
That picture is from our early years together, before it got bad. Our first year was good. The next six, or so, were pretty good. Up to the first ten, were not really bad. From ten to twenty were the ugly ones. The ten year spiral into my abusive issues. The stretch where I got angry and mean. That picture represents one of the early years when things were good. When she was fun and flirtatious with me. Before I began shaping her into an angry woman. Before things had to be fixed.
That picture is very important to me.
Once I realized it was gone, panic ensued. I pulled everything out of my van. I dug through the whole house. I wandered around in the yard like a senile grass inspector. I started calling every store and business I had been in that day. I am not making this up. I was determined to recover that picture. I had a group of ladies at one shop almost as worked up as me. Not sure how far they went, but they went to work, searching their place. I was on a mission, so I was getting everyone involved.
While on hold, with another store, I felt the need to go search the van again. Being a Christain with ADHD, you never know if it’s God speaking to you or a squirrel or just the voices in your head, but you kinda have to check. Can I get an “amen” from the other medicated folks out there? We need caller ID in our brain. Someone look into that for me.
During my third search through the van, I realized I had been sitting in the back seat earlier, writing, while waiting for someone. Forgot about that. When I climbed back there, I noticed a gap by the seat that hadn’t been checked. It was in there. It slid out when I dropped all my junk in the back seat. Massive sigh of relief. Sit down for a minute. Catch my breath.
Now, you might be thinking that I am a bit of a dork for getting so worked up like that. But that picture represents the most important person in my life. It’s a picture of a beautiful woman. It represents a time in my life when we were doing great together and life was pretty good. It’s a picture I have held daily for almost twenty years now. It’s a picture I cried over during our worse days, when she wouldn’t look at me or talk to me. This picture is a big deal to me.
While I was sitting in the van, thinking about how relieved I was, I had another thought. I thought about the husband in the couple I mentioned earlier. The guy who is making absolutely no effort to save his own family. The guy who is pretty casual about letting an entire family fend for themselves because he doesn’t want them anymore. The guy who just wants to walk away from the most important people in his life. Yes, I saw a connection.
I saw that I was more concerned about a picture of my wife, than this guy is about his actual wife. Call me crazy, but I think that’s the stupidest thing I can imagine. What’s worse is the folks defending him and encouraging him to do it. My ideas might sound extreme to you, but abandoning your own family for pure selfishness sounds extreme to me.
There’s a few guys who are bashing me right now. They want to use all their theology and eloquence to tell me what kind of fool I am. They bash me, as well as Joel and Kathy Davisson, because they don’t agree with our views on marriage. They challenge me because I don’t tell men that it’s ok to demand submission. They are upset because I tell men to take all that Christianity and give the good stuff to your wife and family first. But, like a good friend said about my last article…
“You just keep doing what you are doing….. and when you are challenged by someone who takes issue with what you are saying in all of this, ask them to go and find one woman who wouldn’t want their relationship to be the kind of relationship you are “preaching” about. I know for a fact that that would be an almost impossible task!!”
Any wives out there want their husband to step up to this challenge? How would they feel about having all that Christian love poured out on them? How would they feel about having their husband love them like Christ loved the church? Think it would make a difference in a struggling marriage? Go ahead, ask my wife if it works. I will forward any emails to her so you can.
My wife is the only human I have ever made a real covenant with. She is the most important person in my world. She is worth fighting for. Even a picture of her is worth that much effort to me. She knows her place with me. She knows how important she is to me. She knows that Christlikeness isn’t about what you say or believe, it’s about what you do.
So, after saying all that… What are you going to do? Are you going to take the Ephesians 5:25 challenge literally, or just lump it in with all the other verses that you don’t need? Are you going to attempt to understand what it means to be Christlike by laying down your life, dreams and desires to save one person? Like He did? Are you going to demand your “rewards” here or in eternity? Everything else is just selfishness. Love that lady and make sure she knows it. Stop basing all your decisions on doing only what’s best for you. Stop focusing only on what you want and need.
Man up. Fight for your family. Make sure they feel safe with you. Make sure the trust you. make sure they know they can depend on you. Make sure they know you love them. Save the world by building one indestructible family. Save your family by showing them what it means to love someone the way Christ taught us.
Or one day, a picture might be all you have left of her.