Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: MARRIAGE (08/25/16)
TITLE: The Decision to Love
By Joy Bach
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Imagine my surprise when I was told at the age of 15 that I was to be married soon.
I received no words of wisdom, no encouragement and no well wishes. I didn’t know how to cook. But I did know how to take care of babies. I would just have to deal with all the rest as best I could.
Marriage was pretty much as I had envisioned. But I loved my babies. They helped keep me sane. And then he was gone. I was single.
God and I had some long talks.
“I don’t ever want to be married again. If you want that for me, you are going to have to plant him right in front of me.”
Nine years went by. Due to circumstances obviously orchestrated by God, I ended up sitting by a sweaty man, a stranger to me, who had just jogged to a meeting in a church not my own. Four hours later he asked if I could take him home. Right. That’s all I needed.
But I did. Thus began our courtship.
It was definitely not love at first sight for me. I fought it every step of the way. He, on the other hand, seemed smitten. Two months after we met, he proposed. Whoa. Way too fast. Then came the day I took a long walk, mulled the situation over in my head and stopped to call him from a pay phone.
“I’ve decided to love you.”
That went over like a lead balloon. Later when we were together, he seemed angry. When asked what the issue was, he replied.
“That was not romantic. I wanted you to run to me, throw your arms around my neck and declare your undying love. It sounded like a business decision.”
We traveled on rocky ground for a while.
I knew I would not live in the kind of marriage I had the first time. Our talks were many and long, sometimes until 4:00 in the morning. I spilled my heart to him. He made promises.
Seven months later we married.
On our honeymoon I discovered he had changed during the ceremony. He was now in charge. My plans were up to him, he was in control of the money and the list went on. It really didn’t make for a pleasant two weeks.
“We spent hours discussing these things before we married. Now you are changing what you said.”
“Everyone says what they know the other person wants to hear. You did the same thing.”
Three years of turmoil ensued. Finally we separated. I yelled at God. But God did not change His mind. If I wanted to do God’s will, I would have to deal with it.
Nine months of counseling, praying, testing the waters. He moved back in. We lived a movie in slow motion. Words came out of our mouths, we pondered what had been said, re-stated what we heard and the words were said differently. It seemed very stilted and far from loving.
Gradually we began to smile and then laugh. The eggshells dwindled away. We negotiated. He turned the finances over to me. I was, after all, a bookkeeper. He had never reconciled a checkbook. Sigh.
The marriage that grew out of all that tumult became a fairy tale come true.
We held hands all the time, even as we slept. Hugs were bountiful. Compliments were bestowed. Praises were shared with others about our love for each other. Tender, thoughtful moments became the norm.
He became my very best friend. God knew what He was doing all along.
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