Maybe it’s because I’ve done two weddings in the past two weeks.
Maybe it’s because my wife left for a girl’s trip to NYC, leaving my bed half-empty for three nights (which is three nights too many).
I’m not quite sure the reason, but I’ve been thinking a lot about commitment and community and the often unspoken benefits of having a wife.
I’ve been married going on fourteen years. We made it through marriage puberty and we’re finding our stride as adolescents. Sure, we’ve still got a lot to learn, but we’re getting comfortable in our skin.
As I stood at the altar the past two Saturdays and watched other couples recite their vows, it’s a pretty natural reaction to think back to the time I stood in the same spot making mine. It’s a blur, but it’s the most pleasant blur I can recall. For better or worse and all that. I said the words, but I was pretty distracted at the time by the pretty distraction standing eighteen inches in front of my face.
We’ve had better and worse, of course. Every married couple does. We’ve laughed and danced and been silly. We’ve cried and crumpled and felt broken. We’ve broken each other.
We’ve helped piece each other back together, too.
“It’s not all mountain top experiences,” I cautioned each of the couples whose knots I’ve helped tie recently. It’s a good reminder to myself, too. Sometimes it’s work. I’m not always likable, and I don’t always like my wife.
But man do I love her.
Of all the benefits of marriage, perhaps that’s the best. Even in the cramped, dirty trenches of marriage you’re not alone. Even when you’re broken, you’ve got someone there to help piece you back together. Even when it’s more work than play, you’ve got a co-worker.
It may sound unromantic, but for me it’s one of the most romantic things of all:
You’re just not alone.
God, of course, was way ahead of us on this one. “It is not good for man to be alone,” He says after tossing stars across the sky and inventing plums and aardvarks and dandelions. Those were all good. As for the lonely dude traipsing around the Garden in his birthday suit?
That was no bueno.
So God created woman and He put them together and that wasn’t just good, it was very good.
My wife and I don’t have it all figured out. We push each others buttons unnecessarily and probably still keep feelings inside in favor of the discomfort of being completely vulnerable and we probably hold a grudge every now and then. We’re two humans being too human and sometimes that exposes gaps in our otherwise solid foundation of love.
But even with all that imperfection I can tell you this:
My wife hasn’t even been gone three nights and I’m already tired from it. I’m not sleeping well and I didn’t eat dinner last night because I wasn’t hungry and I haven’t had lunch yet today because I’m still not. I turned down a Nathan’s hot dog from Sam’s, in fact, which is an unprecedented rejection on my part. I’m sighing heavily more often. When she sends a text my heartbeat speeds up like it did when we’d only just met and she would log in to AOL Instant Messenger. I’m all out of sorts and can’t get my head on straight and it’s completely goofy and unjustified.
Except for the fact that it’s not good for man to be alone. That actually does kind of explain it.
I’m not slamming singleness. That’s great for some people. God-honoring, in fact.
All I know is that for me personally, God did me a tremendous solid when He recognized that me alone was me not at all at my best. It was not good for this man to be alone, for sure.
So if you’ll excuse me, I have to go check my phone’s LED indicator every 20 seconds, you know, just in case.
But don’t worry about me too much.
She’ll be back in about 24 hours.