There is beauty to be found if we just take the time to look for it.
That’s one of the key lessons I’ve learnt from my Dad. Not because he verbalised it, but because he lived it out. He is a very patient guy and that patience wasn’t about inactivity, it was very much about seeking, believing and knowing something beautiful could be discovered. That knowing thing was very unerring about my Dad. Where others would lose heart and quit, he quietly kept going. Lo and behold in the fullness of time he was proved right and he didn’t have to say it, he just lived it and enjoyed it.
There is beauty in the married life.
The first time I saw the woman that would be my wife I was aware of how pretty she is, some would call it cute and there’s a youthful vibe to her. All that was plain to see when I first saw her. Yet there is so much more to her that I had to grow up to appreciate. Not just those qualities that can be listed about someone’s character and appearance, but a deep, rich and profound beauty. That commitment to seeing that required elements in me that I truly had to grow up to develop. I definitely didn’t have it when I met her. I probably didn’t have a lot of it when we exchanged vows on that beautiful Sunday afternoon in 2003. The reality remains, however, that if I didn’t have it, this marriage would not have lasted longer than a year, let alone 16 years.
Searching and appreciating beauty is a great pursuit. It does require character and one of those characteristics developed over that time was the characteristic of faithfulness. I confess that there were times in our time together that I took my marriage and my beloved for granted. The marriage was something that would be around like that pair of socks that I was used to just picking up from the draw, no need to pay too much attention because it would always be there when it was convenient. That was a shameful and disappointing lack of attention to what makes marriages thrive – they are not for conveniece or even happiness – they are there to see the remarkable blessings of faithfulness. That is the ongoing commitment to pursuing the beauty.
There’s something about that pursuit of beauty that continues to do something to me. What it does to me is it makes me get better so I can appreciate the beauty. It’s like the beauty cannot be appreciated unless one is of clean hands, pure heart and a sound mind. It’s like if my condition is less than that and missing that, then I’ll only spoil the beauty if ever I uncover and discover it. So, at this stage of the journey, there’s something about not taking my wife for granted, but rather valuing her as highly as myself and particularly in the appreciation of the beauty that God in His wisdom has chosen to entrust to my care.
I love my wife, but I acknowledge I’m not always good at loving my wife and I’m very grateful to those who know how to pursue the beauty who have come alongside and helped me out considerably. They gave words of wisdom even if those words sometimes called for rebukes. Not just the words, but the support and example of faithfulness, friendship, forgiveness and fellowship. My pursuit is certainly not something I could ever claim credit for doing on my own, by my own strength in my own intellect. No way. If my wife ever experiences anything good from me as her devoted, loving husband it’s because great men have invested in me and entrusted me to God to be moulded into be the man fit to pursue this beauty.
When I reflect on the goodness of God in giving me this marriage and the benefits that I have experienced from it, there’s that overwhelming sense of gratitude and the knowledge that the best way to thank God is to continue to pursue the beauty. Continue to be diligent in cultivating and nurturing the beauty, paying attention to removing whatever obstacles there are to celebrating the true beauty and then acknowledging that whatever beauty I might come across one day is still but a hint as to more beauty to behold.
There are times when I get caught up with th whole ‘not deserving this’ sentiment. My wife is so much better than I expected and prepared for. That’s the goodness of God, though, and appreciating that is not to get all self-absorbed in wondering what I did to deserve it or overcome with how I don’t deserve it. Far better to move on from that sentiment to relishing, enjoying and treasuring this goodness from God. I am grateful to God that He provides opportunities time after time to discover fresh ways of relishing, enjoying and treasuring married life.
I’m grateful for my wife and the beauty she is. I’m grateful for her character and her commitment to this relationship. I’m glad that the relationship has overcome some serious issues and is an example of the love, grace, mercy and kindness of God. There are brighter days ahead, I know that.
Realising all that, though, is a journey about day by day knowing there is beauty to be found if we just take the time to look for it.
For His Name’s Sake
C. L. J. Dryden