I vividly remember where I was standing when I realized the following: "Lou is never going to make me completely happy." It was at our first house in Bolivar. I was standing in the kitchen, right in front of the silverware drawer. If the engine that was pulling that train had ground to a halt at that point, this post could also be titled, "The saddest day of my life." Thankfully, that thought was followed immediately with a whisper by God's Spirit, "He can't make you happy. He can't meet all your needs. He wasn't created to do that. It's not that he won't. He can't."
Bless Lou's heart. For at least 2 yrs of marriage to me, he was burdened with the weight of some hefty unrealistic expectations on my part. Did I really expect him to meet all my needs? Heck, I think I not only expected him to meet them, but anticipate them. (All together now, "Poor Lou!") I didn't ever say, "If you really loved me, you'd _____," but I certainly thought it. What a prison he was in. What a prison I was in.
I can't list all the ways God prepared my heart for that momentous revelation that day in my kitchen. We did go - and still do go - to a yearly marriage retreat.(I highly recommend this.) I do remember a few separate incidents - a trip to Tennessee, a dog, exercise regimens, and hashbrowns - that sparked conversations which divulged that what was really going on had nothing to do with the label that I just used to describe it.
All that to say, on that day in my kitchen on Oakland St, God, in his mercy, opened my eyes to something I'd never seen before, and in a whole new way, set me free from... me. I was not to focus on what Lou did or didn't do - or what I expected him to do or not do. I am to run into the arms of God - through his word, through prayer, through a moment by moment communion with him. This meets my deepest need and sets me free. I'm free to see this good man as the gift from God that he really is. I'm free to think about him instead of me. I'm free to love him unconditionally. The weight that lifted from my shoulders (and probably his) that day was palpable.
So, here I sit 20 years later thanking God for opening my eyes that day. Marriage has been a sweet crucible. I am grateful.