First of all, can I just say how great life feels right now? I'm sitting with my feet up, a grapefruit cake in the oven, about to enjoy my mom's amazing halibut tacos at my parents' house with some in-laws as well, I'm sipping a glass of wine, looking out at the world -- as far as the Beartooth Mountains -- that has that certain beauty that it only has just after the rain, appreciating the fact that I wasn't IN the rain, which we narrowly avoided because we were biking home and got inside just as it started to pour. Upon further reflection, I'm even more thankful that I have a husband who basically built me a commuter bike (based on one he bought at Goodwill for $10) and who is loving enough to challenge me to do the riding, but patient enough to go my (slow) pace and just smile warmly at all my whining! And all that exercise feels so good.
But that's not what this post is about.
What I've been thinking about is actually from a conversation that HH and I had a few weekends ago. It was prompted by a devotional book that we were given for our wedding. It's a decent book, but there are just enough pop-psychology and man-centered views in it that the great conversations we have as a result of the devo aren't generally prompted by his discussion questions but rather by our critiques of his theology.
In this particular devotion, he was talking about how our spouses need to feel needed. So I need to know that HH needs me in this relationship and appreciates what I contribute without placing conditions on me. If I don't feel adequately needed, then something is missing from the equation in our marriage.
To a certain extent, this is true. It's not going to be much of a relationship if we're not taking the time to acknowledge one anothers' contributions and to be vulnerable enough to be reliant on the other person.
But, as Ed Welch has so brilliantly pointed out, this can be a flawed and dangerous mindset if we're depending on the other person to fill our proverbial love cup. Because my love cup leaks, and HH will never be able to do enough to fill my cup. (As an aside, we like to joke that Migo has a leaky love cup, but since he's a labrador retriever whose sole purpose in life is basically to love and be love, I think that's okay. He's more like a love pool, where everyone's just supposed to jump in and get soaked.)
So we had a great conversation about where finding security and strength in one another needs to end, and where finding our ultimate strength and security in God needs to begin. It's going to create problems for even the best of relationships if I'm trying to root my identity in the fact that my husband needs or wants me.
A few days ago, this theme was revived when I was reading Tullian Tchividjian's blog, a post called Loved Forevermore. He also raised the point that when we look at our homes as a place of finding love, we are always going to be disappointed, not to mention protective, defensive and bitter. But when we see our homes as an opportunity to extend love to others, that's when we can have a joyous relationship that doesn't even necessarily *need* to be reciprocal.
And where do we get this love that we share in our homes? That's what the gospel is all about -- God, in his boundless love, has loved us forevermore. And because of his love, we are able to freely love others. Without condition, without needing anything in return.
I'd so much rather feel a desperate dependence on God's love than on my husbands; and I'll be better at loving both of them for it.