Ben and I celebrated our two year wedding anniversary this week. Which, of course, makes me a bastion of marriage knowledge. Except not.
If I may, I want to candidly share a thought with you that has been brewing in my mind over the past two years. (And I do so with my husband’s full permission and blessing.)
The thought is this: I didn’t marry my dream man.
Like most impressionable girls growing up in the evangelical world, I dipped my toes in the “True Love Waits” movement. I wore a purity ring. I read books with titles like And The Bride Wore White: Seven Secrets To Sexual Purity and I Kissed Dating Goodbye. I lived with eager anticipation that any Christian man I saw might just be ‘The One’. I wrote letters to my future husband (which he still has not read, by the way). I prayed for my future husband. And, of course, I made a meticulous list of what this man should be.
He looked something like this:
- A Christian. (Obviously, had to include that one.)
- Someone taller than me.
- A great sense of humor,
- but with a serious, brooding, Mr. Rochester-esque side.
- Dark hair I can run my fingers through. (?!?!?!?!?)
- Someone who would write poems and songs for me.
- Someone who would chop down firewood for our home. (Because Nicholas Sparks.)
- Preferably, a man with a sexy accent. (A very important qualification.)
- A man who would take me around the world.
You can imagine.
In short, I wanted to marry a unicorn. A serious, brooding unicorn with dark hair I could run my fingers through.
It should be obvious at this point that I didn’t marry my dream man, let alone meet him.
My husband Ben is about my height. He doesn’t have long, dark hair (though his beard is quite epic.) He doesn’t have a sexy accent, unless ‘Southern Ohio’ counts as a sexy accent. He isn’t fond of traveling. He has yet to write me a poem or a song. I’d bet money that he’s never chopped any firewood.
I didn’t marry my dream man, but I married the better man.
My dream man would have wrecked me. And not like the Holy Spirit does. My dream man would have wrecked my life. He would have been everything I wanted, but nothing I needed. He would have led me into self-indulgent temptation. He wouldn’t have pointed me to Christ. I don’t need a man to pander to my foolish whims and desires. I need a man that will care more about my holiness than my happiness.
I need a man like my husband Ben.
He doesn’t write poems, but he does pray with me and for me. Ben doesn’t travel the world with me, but he does plumb the riches of Christ with me.
These past two years God has so kindled a love for Ben that I never knew I would have for another human. My husband is seriously the most godly man I’ve met. He serves me so well. In these two years I’ve cried over him and yelled at him and disregarded him – but still he opens his arms and says, “Come here. I love you.” Ben is my brother. He is my battle buddy. He’s my best friend. He’s actually pretty funny. And he’s hot. So there’s that.
With only two years of marriage down, and a lifetime to go, I’m not sure that I’m qualified to dish out any advice or sage takeaway. I can tell you that your dream man will fail you, but the better man will make you. He will play such an instrumental role in making you the woman God intended for you to be. Know that the best of men are the ones that look like THE Best Man: like Jesus. So if you have a list, even something as small as a vague inkling, of your dream man, I invite you to throw it out. Instead, reflect on the image of Christ. And should you come across a fellow that looks a lot like this Jesus you’ve been gazing at, then maybe he’s the perfect man for you.