Well, it took more than 39 years of running wild on planet Earth but finally a woman caught me. Not unlike taming a wild stallion, she lassoed my wandering heart and I settled into holy matrimony.
Yes, I got married. Last Friday. Wait.. What just happened? Ha! I married the lovely Shannon Schalles in Monroe, Louisiana, and I couldn’t be happier. Shannon probably knows how to “wrastle” wild creatures like myself, having been raised in agricultural Kansas, but I think she found that capturing my heart was easier than she expected.
I gave in. Surrendered. Raised the white flag. And I fell deeply and blissfully in love. She is amazing.
After a brief two-day honeymoon to Hot Springs, Arkansas, we are now settling into married life in Monroe and constantly asking each other, “Did we just do that? Did we just get married?” We laugh at the thought that 74 years of combined singleness just bit the dust in one 15-minute ceremony. I am now hers and she is now mine. It’s really quite unreal!
Here are a few lessons I’m learning so far, five days in…
1. Love is Vulnerable.
Back when we were dating, Shannon turned to me one evening as we watched TV on my couch and said, “Love is vulnerable, you know?” I responded, “How so?” She replied to the effect of, “When you love someone so deeply, you choose to open yourself up and be exposed — to be vulnerable. It’s kind of a scary feeling but because I trust you so much it feels all right.”
Love is vulnerable. When you choose to truly love someone in a committed relationship, you place your emotions, your heart, your… deepest being… out in the open before them. You essentially say, “Here is my heart. Take it. Take care of it. I trust you.” And a heart exposed can be either nourished or wounded. Either built up or torn down by the other person.
So far in our marriage, I’m trying very hard to build Shannon’s heart and trust. It’s not easy! On the flip side, I’ve pledged to her my heart, and told her that I trust her to care for it. I’m vulnerable, too. We both are. And maybe that truth is what will bind us together as a couple in these early weeks of marriage.
2. Comfort is Built on Acceptance
There is little like being exposed, body and soul, in front of your partner for the first time. It would be totally uncomfortable if not for the presence of a strong trust between you. When there is acceptance, there is comfort. Shannon’s knowledge of my acceptance of her and my trust in her acceptance of me is essential to our comfort with each other.
I cannot help but see parallels with how we Christians should see our relationship with God. God accepts us, not on the basis of our efforts but instead by His grace, and our knowledge of that acceptance should provide us with comfort in our daily life. Do we trust God? Does He deeply love us? Does He accept us based on His grace? What is our response to His grace?
3. Yielding to My Wife’s Physical Concern Might Just Save My Life
I’m used to being a lone wolf — an army and institute of one. When it came to my health, I made the decisions and I suffered from any ignorant attitudes in regards to my well being. But knowing that I am not my own anymore — in a human sense — has changed the way I see my health. Shannon wants to see me as healthy as I can be and I owe it to her to be just as concerned as she is. She might just save my life. She won’t let me ignore my health issues, so she is making me take care of myself. It’s a Godsend!
I have a new desire to fight my disabilities and treat them better thanks to my wonderful new wife. I want to give her my best in the here in now, and that includes being healthy for her. I’m looking for a new specialist to continue treating my Meniere’s Disease and I plan to both find a chiropractor and consult with a spinal surgeon to reduce my spinal deterioration. As for the other aches and pains? She wants me to get them checked out and I shall.
She might have to remind this wolf every now and again but I’m listening to her concern and I pray that it benefits us both in the here and the then.