So who’s ___ (insert name of random male/female friend here)?
It’s an innocent enough question that comes up. If by innocent you mean not bloody innocent at all. It comes riddled with accusation and emphasis and suspicion and fear. We want to know everything but we kinda sorta almost don’t want to know anything.
When you’ve been single as long as I have, you have wracked up a few dates. You’ve gone out a couple (hundred) times and you have had many levels (as in the seven layers of hell) of varying degrees of torture and consequences both self-induced and dumped on you. Minor infractions of dating a guy for his Yankees season tickets to more major treachery like cheating on your partner in cold blood. I’ve done these things and more and I have faced the music and beaten myself up in the darkest of nights for it all.
And somewhere along the way, some women get cold hearted. Or worse, deceived. We begin to think that emotional connection looks most like lust, that playful area we dabble in with another man who isn’t our husband – the one who listens to me and makes time to talk, I mean it’s just talk. The one who makes flirty comments or notices when I cut my hair, but he’s really just being nice. The man who makes me a little happier to be alive because I know, but will never admit to out loud, that he wants me and has thought about me in ways he never should have.
And ladies, you’re thinking, well that’s not MY friends. I have lots of male friends who are completely platonic and there is no sexual chemistry or tension and I would never… ok STOP right there. I loudly disagree with you. There are very very few friendships that are completely platonic and I would say there are none at any given time. Sure we can have friendships based on mutual interests, common goals, work place endeavors, or whatever other arenas we find ourselves in.
But let’s get real, shall we. My male friends took a back seat the moment I said yes to Rob. Forsaking all others – there is nothing I am looking for in any other person that crosses the line into the space reserved for my husband. I am my beloved’s and his alone. My heart and mind and body and soul belong to him and there is no one on earth that will change that. When I agreed to marry him, from that moment, I agreed to be overcautious in every dealing with any other man, because I never want to do anything that will even be perceived as questionable. I agreed to always strive to honor and respect my husband in his rightful position as first place in my life at all times. I agreed to give him my passwords and to look at my text messages and to withhold nothing from him, exposing every corner of my life, closets and all, in a very real physical sense as well as emotional, mental, spiritual. Everything I am is now all his and he is mine.
I look forward to our wedding day when this will be made most beautifully relevant and public for all to witness – a pact, a promise, a vow, and most of all a covenant. I pray the Spirit will remind me of this in times that will come when I am tempted to give in even in the smallest of ways, that I will live above reproach, to keep my actions in the light, to be pure and free from wrong motives, and stay clear of deceitfulness and flirting with dangerous territory. That I will seek first to honor my husband in all I do and say and even in my thoughts and meditations, everything will be for his good and for our mutual sanctification before a holy and loving God who wants our very best in Him.
And when I cling to the Cross, there is no room for me to cling to any pride or vanity, any deceitfulness or hunger for power, no misgivings about who I am or what others think of me or want from me, no manipulation of other people or a need to control my husband or the kids or in laws or any other people in my life. There is no room for an overworked sense of entitlement of affirmation or acceptance, I have no need of these things from any source but the one true Source who will graciously give me all I need, and every good gift I get from Rob, or any one else for that matter, will be icing on the cake.
And at times, as we both strive to learn to love each other, God will give us glimpses of this Divine Love and Affection from each other the very real tangible expression of all things good and decent and beautiful. And we will settle for nothing less.
Rob Wootton, I love you and only you for all my days. To the glory of God.