When I married Russell, I knew I wasn’t getting myself into any ole average relationship. And I knew that day-to-day life would be different. But the thing that surprises me the most about our everyday is just how much Russell enjoys the UNromantic stuff. Who knew?? Russell prefers a hot, home-cooked meal over a fancy restaurant. He appreciates actions that show I love him instead of my well-constructed, cursivey love letters. He craves the peace and quiet of home rather than tickets to a concert. All that romantic stuff…he can do without. In fact, I know he often feels weighed down from my high-in-the-sky expectations for date nights, surprise getaways and presents. While I’m still trying to re-program my mind to speak his language, I have learned just a thing or two about some unromantic ideas that Russell will love. Unromantical Idea #1: Russell isn’t my “dream man”.
When I was in middle school, I went to a Christian concert series featuring this one singer whom I adored! She talked about her prayers for her future husband. She talked about writing all of these letters to him – really, really lengthy letters – and I thought “What kind of man honestly wants to read a huge book of love letters?” Then, in high school, I went to a True Love Waits weekend retreat where our youth group leaders challenged us to write every character trait we would want in our future spouse. I started a list and soon realized my desires were not lasting. I wanted a husband who was super charismatic, charming, played bass guitar and was the lead singer of a band. I wanted Joe Jonas. (Hey don’t judge – I’m just being honest here.) Luckily for me, God didn’t honor that request.
As I matured, that list of character traits for my future husband matured as well. By early college, I was more than 110% sure I was destined to marry Tim Tebow. I mean…he’s a Christian…and I’m a Christian. He travels to speak about his faith…and I want to do the same. And he is not too hard on the eyes – haha! He’s exactly what I dreamt up. All I can say is “Thank God that I am not God!”
Russell is pretty opposite from every personality trait I thought I wanted. I’m lucky though, because what I thought I wanted was someone just like me, but God knew that what I needed was someone whose opposite-ness would balance me out. Whereas I am loud and crazy, Russell is quiet and level-headed. Whereas I am fantastically unrealistic, he is sober-minded. Whereas I am always out-and-about, he is a home-body. Whereas Russell evaluates decisions based on cost, I evaluate decisions based on what value-add it may have. Theoretically, if Russell were married to someone just like him, he would have a lot of money and no experiences. If I were married to someone just like me, I would have a world of experiences and no money…which would probably at some point hinder my experiences. Go figure!
What I’ve learned in just this short time of being married to Russell is that I dreamt WAY TOO SMALL! He's beyond what I could have imagined God's grace to deliver. What really makes me #eyeroll myself is that by believing small I’m basically saying that God is a small god. He may have created everything from nothing. And He may have imagined the human anatomy to work all in sync and stuff. And He may have designed the solar system and billions of galaxies. But it seems I’ve doubted whether God could deliver on the right man for me. REALLY, Priska?! I must admit, neither my actions of serial dating nor my prayers have shown that I clearly believed in God’s greatness…at least not enough to where it applied to my everyday life. And that’s pathetic! So I’m changing my thinking…NOW!
God is bigger than anything I can imagine, yet simultaneously a part of every teensy-weensy little detail of my life.
So no…Russell isn’t my “dream man”. Truth is, he is beyond anything I could have ever dreamt up.
Unromantical Idea #2: My wedding day was the SECOND most life-changing day of my life. My salvation day was the first and always will be. My salvation is eternal. Marriage is until “death do ye part”. That sounds unromantic, but for everyone who promises "eternity" to someone, they must know they are making an unrealistic promise. My opinion is that it weakens the promise, because it's not true. But if I'm real and I can promise my husband til death do us part, I am making a true promise. And from my POV, it’s easier to defend a true promise than an exaggerated one.
Unromantical Idea #3: I am not who I thought I would be. I imagined my wedding day would happen AFTER I became super mature, professionally successful, superfit, etc. etc.........etc. I never thought I’d still be struggling with not eating that extra donut hole, or that I’d still have a strained relationship with some of my family, or that I’d still have this terrible mouth of mine. I thought my life would be perfect, and I would deserve my perfect husband and our perfect marriage. Okay, this is just getting good – this whole confession thing – so here goes. Confession: I imagined my wedding taking place AFTER I became a NYT Best-selling author. I honestly imagined paparazzi trying to sneak a peek my wedding. (Like who even reads books these days, anyway?!) JK :P
But I'm realizing now that to become the person I want to be, I need Russell. He helps me become more mature, to develop myself, to achieve my dreams. He pushes me to be more. When I get weary, he encourages me. And vice versa. What I'm starting to learn is that I should have been aiming to be on the right track, not at some type of finish line. Because marriage is a part of my life’s journey, not the reward for getting to some type of destination.
I think I'm onto something good here... Life is about being perfected, not about being perfect. Being perfected is a continual process initiated by the Holy Spirit at work in your life. Being perfect is assuming you have “arrived” and you have nothing more to do, no other growth to experience. See the diff? Being perfected means I’m not already perfect…I get super angry sometimes, and it’s not cute and sweet like I try to pretend to be. I indulge a little much sometimes, and that isn’t reflective of the fruit of the Spirit (#selfcontrol). But I can forgive myself and easily ask for Russell’s forgiveness, because REAL MARRIAGE is better than pretend. Real marriage is mistakes, forgiveness and authenticity. There’s a really deep comfort in expecting all of that mess to happen and knowing that you’re both committed through it all.
That’s it then. Ideas that are not going to get you a call back on Tinder, but when you find real love with your one-and-only, maybe you’ll find these to be true, too. Or maybe you’ll find your own ideas that seem not so romantic, but they’re Just. Plain. Old. True.
This post has been in my drafts stash since a couple of weeks before our wedding. I couldn’t bring myself to publish it then, because I thought it could be misconstrued. Thankfully, there’s grace. And there’s courage. Here’s to both – may they be on your side in your own pursuit of truth.
With an unromantical but completely true love, PriskaTabitha
*Photo by the amazingly talented Benjamin Hewitt Photography.*