Wednesday, February 10, 2010


Thirty-two years ago around this time, I was running from love. I was running from the love of the man who would become my husband. Central Missouri is getting a lot of snow this year, and so it was in 1978.  There was a foot of snow on the ground and the University closed.

I was a single mother of three living in “subsidized housing,” a nice name for the projects.  Scrambling to support three children and finish a degree so I could them better.  I was cooking pasta in the kitchen expecting spend the evening with cabin-fever stricken children.

It wasn’t quite dark when someone knocked on the door. Here was the man who was to become my husband with four valentine candy boxes, three smaller hearts and one larger. I had been refusing his phone calls and hadn’t seen him in weeks. Exactly what I was running from, I do not know.

He had walked to the house from his apartment on campus, a trek of about three miles in a foot of snow. He stopped at the grocery store to pick up the candy. It wasn’t even Valentine’s Day and he was new to the country. His only comment was I didn’t want you and the kids to not have anything for Valentine’s Day.

Needless to say this changed my mind, my heart and my life. In two weeks, we were married. Maybe he didn’t want me to change my mind and run again. I was in love and swept away by the romanticism of it all.
On February 25th, we will celebrate our thirty second anniversary. I guess that is an accomplishment. All of us like a romantic story with a happy ending.  Even more than love and romance, a marriage requires a lot of hard work, perseverance and commitment.

I think it is the same way with our walk with the Lord. There are times when the love of God is as overwhelming and as powerful likened to my husband walk in the snow. I have felt that baptism of love as I have surrender to God’s love through Jesus.

While God’s love is constant, sometimes in the grind of life, it seems to be dim. Sometimes I get weary and doubt. I have done the same in marriage. I made a commitment. I made a vow to my husband. More importantly, I have made a commitment and vow to the Lord. Love is not just goose bumps or romance, love is commitment, perseverance and at times just plan hard work. 


Anonymous said...

The love of your husband reminds me of the Hound of Heaven, ever pursuing us, wanting to take us over with His love. I hope I can bring that picture to mind often.

David said...

Love is wonderful - and marriages that last are amazing. I don't think I have enough years left to make 32 - it's possible though - I certainly have the right woman.

More amazing is your faith, faith that has weathered the tough times. That inspires me the most.

mja2j said...

Commitment is the key to both marriage and our walk with the LORD. It is never God who backs away from us, is it?! When things get tough, when we have doubts, when everything seems to be falling apart - that is when we need to run TO the LORD. Same in marriage - when things are hard - run together.

Joyce Lighari said...

@David -- keep taking her on all those date nights and I am sure you'll make it to 32 and more... I think you have more years than that left.

~ Jan ~ said...

Romance, like marriage, is a commitment. Entwined through our daily lives, like golden threads in a tapestry, it gives a lustrous richness to the relationship but I think some find it easier to remain committed than to show affection.

I love romance, equating it with creativity and variety. Some times, my husband, God love him, lacks the skill to woo a turtle, let alone a dove as he tends to equate love with performance. Are we wrong? No, just mixed up. The Lord is showing me this through His Word, Love thy neighbor as thyself.

Wanting to be treated with respect, forgiveness etc., I am required to treat others that way. This is the rule in its general sense, but it's deeper with my spouse.

A floral designer by trade, I love alstromeria lilies. My husband noted that and for years now, I receive lilies on every occasion. He hands them to me with a card or more likely, sets them somewhere, tells me where he's placed them and walks away, leaving me to read the card alone - he's done his "duty". But if he came home with flowers, grabbed me, giving me a genuine bear hug, and told me he loved me, I'd remember that for years because that's the way I need to be loved.

I know my husband likes my creative expressions of affection. For instance, one year, on Sweetest Day, I baked his favorite, German chocolate cake. I played the song, "My Life", by the Beatles and we danced to it as I softly sang the words into his ear. It brought tears to both of our eyes.

Yet, the Lord said those little love notes I leave on mirrors or silly cards I give him from the dogs and even my crazy attire or lack thereof, that I greet him in when he comes home, though thoughtful, may not necessarily be what he needs.

I got it! One person's idea of romantic love differs from another. So, loving my husband is to meet his needs the way he desires, not the way I like to express it, which usually winds up being the way I want to be loved.

The Lord reminded me of my husband being performance based and doing one of his chores, on occasion, would be much more appreciated than a post-it-note with scribble on it. In turn, I'd appreciate if he'd hug me without my asking for one all the time. We both stand guilty, not expressing love to each other as the Lord designed. My husband's not a Christian so the ebb and flow of our relationship, to a degree, depends on me while I wait on God to set my husband's affections towards me.

It's more difficult to perform the way I use to, now that I'm disabled. No longer able to work outside of the house, I believe my husbands wants me to do more within the home than I am capable of doing. Yet, I still feel the Lord's nudging to try, once again, to be as productive as I possibly can because that is what my husband really needs. As always, the Lord's ways are right.

BTW, marriage is like a cake. Flour, eggs, butter, oil and water, or in my case, a Pillsbury cake mix, blended and baked, becomes the foundation for icing. All the aspects of marriage, when blended and held together with love, becomes the foundation for commitment. Romance - it's the sweet icing on the cake.

This Valentines Day, may you have your cake with icing, too!

Be blessed,

Joyce Lighari said...

What a beautiful comment Jan - It seems your responses to my blog always add so much. I hope people read your comments! They are always so rich.
But I think what really hit me the most is this comment:
One person's idea of romantic love differs from another. So, loving my husband is to meet his needs the way he desires, not the way I like to express it, which usually winds up being the way I want to be loved.

This is so true. I want to be loved the way I want to be loved and often, husbands have a different way of showing love than we need or want. However, it is just as true that they should be loved in the way most meaningful to them.

Marriage is such a wonderful gift. It's been very hard at times. Painfully hard - but well worth every minute of it.
Thanks --

Tony C said...

I want you to know I just called my wife to tell her I love her...

Thanks for sharing such an loving story and Happy Anniversary a couple of weeks early!

Joyce Lighari said...

Funny, I told my husband at lunch that I didn't tell him enough how much I loved him and how proud I was of him... He seemed to appreciate it even though words are not always his thing...