Below is our second guest post on Power of the Home.
Kathie handed us the pre-marital counseling manual on our way out of the church building. This was big – I had seen other couples with this manual and wondered what that stage of life must have felt like. Scared? Excited? Anxious? It felt weird to be holding the white, three ring binder with the yellow card stock inserted into the clear plastic cover sleeve. “From the Ground Up,” the black, swirly ink looked me in the eye. I didnʼt know if we would ever get here, because Ian was sick, and because holding this binder meant being courageous.
But five minutes into the first message on the CD at Ianʼs momʼs house just about did me in. I sent our pastor a quick email and said that we just couldnʼt do it. His response, more than gracious, as expected, was that we could skip the binder and find another plan that would be more helpful for us.
I couldnʼt do it because the message and the chapter topics of that binder felt so, meaningless. At least to us. In that stage. It simply wasnʼt helpful for me to hear examples of the practical ways our lives would change or the specific examples of leadership and submission that we should be preparing to exhibit. We just needed our souls to be cared for. And we needed to have such a big view of God that would allow our marriage to feel possible. We knew that Ianʼs leadership would look different than the examples in that binder. We knew that my submission would be manifested differently too. The content in that binder has and will continue to help so many marriages, and is so important. But it wasnʼt for us.
But God still met us. Clinging to His word, particularly the illustration of Christʼs covenant keeping love to the church (Ephesians 5:22-33), we sought to understand what this would look like in our lives. We had regular counsel with our pastor and talked about what our lives specifically would look like, as much as we could anticipate. We prayed a lot. We teeter-tottered between fear and peace. We wondered if we would someday grow old and watch our grandkids play. We wondered if our marriage would be brief, being ended in youth by death. And we wondered how in the world we would enjoy each other every disabled day.
Now nearing our two year anniversary, as I sit and write this, Ian is holding my right foot on his lap. Heʼs watching me type as the fan hums, desperately trying to pull the cool air out of the vents on a humid night. I look up and heʼs looking right at me, “Are you uncomfortable, Larissa?” “No, Iʼm ok. Thank you for asking.” “You looked uncomfortable.”My smile sneaks up, because this is enjoyment, a husband that watches me, and sits with me, and loves. And because we have a God that is bigger than our marriage, we can rest.