The first argument of my married life was over a sweet potato. I worked farther away and got home later at night than Jon. Cell phones weren’t yet the norm, so I’d planned ahead and called from work, asking him to wash and prick the sweet potatoes and put them in the oven so they’d have a good head start. (You know how long they take to cook). Ravenous on the drive home, I was comforted that dinner wasn’t long off since I could throw the rest together quickly.
After parking the car, climbing the stairs and putting the key to the lock, the first thing I noticed was the absence of a sweet smell wafting from the kitchen that would otherwise indicate the presence of sweet potatoes in the oven. There must be something wrong, he’s fallen and can’t get up. Expecting to find him in a compromised position, or at the very least on the phone with a family member who’d had an emergency, I found him in the study checking email and surfing the internet. My stomach growled and my temper seethed.
Details fail me but I can guess how the argument went down: I got onto him for not doing what I’d asked, he was defensive and told me he was just about to do it, then, after reminding him I’d asked him to do it first thing, I likely added something about him not understanding how long it takes for sweet potatoes to soften in a 375 degree oven, how he couldn’t relate to being as hungry as I, before I told him how much I’d been looking forward to eating sooner rather than later. Next he would’ve accused me of being inflexible (wha-?) and, after I’d heard enough about that, I stomped off to the kitchen to put the potatoes in the oven myself since I can’t depend on him to do a simple task while he remained in his cave, quietly going about his business.
I should add: I’m more short-tempered and less forgiving in a state of hunger. Did I mention our first big argument while dating was in the parking lot of Bennigan’s and also had to do with food?
Fast forward to a recent night–a lightyear away–but with a similar conclusion: a brief exchange at bedtime, no raised voices or stomping off (progress?) but the frustration was there, neither of us felt heard. Stalemate. This is the stuff they leave out of fairytales. Doesn’t make for starry-eyed, hearts-a-flutter, dumb-grin-pasted-on-the-face reactions in the theater. I’m in what you’d call a “good” marriage with one of the “good” guys and he’s still not enough for me. My heart’s had to learn what my head already knew: Jon’s gonna disappoint me. He makes an impressive go and I’m thankful to God for him, but he’s not my only answer, my everything.
As I’ve hemmed and hawed over this topic I keep coming back to this idea: my heart was made for the guy on the white horse. Dammit. I hadn’t planned on needing him. I’m not even prone to fantasy and it still calls to me. The rescue against all odds, the passionate kiss, the happily ever after. What’s a girl to do with that? Especially a straight-shooter who doesn’t believe in fairytale endings in the first place?
As the Holy Spirit’s gone to battle for my heart, I’ve warmed to a different version of the story than the one spun out by blockbusters. The most ancient one, the original. Written by my Father, He’s casted Jesus as the leading man, my first love. It’s him atop that horse who rushes in with the cavalry. I can hear the ground vibrate. Feel the intense power. He comes to rescue me. Take me away from what hurts and exchange it for the hope of a better tomorrow. I keep picturing Jesus at the reins, my arms wrapped around his waist as I lean into him for the ride, and I’m really appreciating the perspective it gives to my marriage.
Then I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse! The one sitting on it is called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he judges and makes war. Rev 19:11
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