Today is our wedding anniversary. Pete and I made our vows, trusting God to help us keep them. Thirty-eight years later I can honestly say that Pete is still my best friend. I love spending time with him. We’ve been through good times, hard times, and some very exciting times. If asked, we’d say that we have a good marriage. Not perfect, but definitely good.
Today, Pete is in Missouri attending the International Conference on Computing and Mission. I’m home in Colorado, missing him. This is not how we’d plan to celebrate our special day, but we didn’t pick the conference dates. Such is life.
Having Pete gone today isn’t the end of the world—we’ll pick another day to celebrate—but it does highlight an essential truth that I’ve learned over the years. No matter how perfect your spouse, they can’t fulfill all your needs. Sometimes they aren’t there physically. Sometimes they’re not there emotionally. And sometimes they’re just plain clueless. If we look to our mate to make us happy, we’re going to be pretty miserable.
Pete is many things, but he’s not a woman. Have you ever noticed? Tell a woman you’re upset over something and she usually offers sympathy—but tell a man and he will offer his solutions to your problem. That can be helpful, but sometimes I simply need the understanding that only another woman can provide.
That’s why God gives us good friends. One of my closest friends is very empathetic, a trait Pete largely lacks. When I need compassion I call her, knowing that she’ll give me a hug and pat me on the back, murmuring, “Poor, poor thing!” It sounds silly, but hearing those words makes everything so much better. (I’ve discovered that clucking hens also provide comfort, one reason we raised chickens for 30 years.)
Pete is also not interested in birding or gardening, two topics I tend to be passionate about. I don’t expect him to join me in either pursuit, although he’s very supportive. I have birding and gardening friends to fill that need.
Then there is my photography and camping friend, my literary friend, my writing friend… you get the idea. As much as we have in common, Pete and I aren’t the same. And that’s a good thing—marrying someone just like me would make one of us redundant!
Even with a loving husband and wonderful friends, there are parts of my life that need something—Someone—more. God is the only one who is never too busy, who is always there, who is never clueless. Only God can look deep into my soul and know exactly how I feel. He even understands me better than I do myself.
Expecting Pete to be my perfect soulmate puts way too much pressure on him. He can never measure up, and eventually our mutual frustration would boil over into resentment. Only God can truly meet all my needs.
So tonight in Pete’s absence I could throw a pity party, reheat leftovers, and stand alone at the counter to eat them. But I won’t. Instead, I’ll make myself a nice dinner, pour a glass of wine, and invite God to join me. We’ll celebrate all he’s done in Pete’s and my lives over the last 38 years.
But next week, I’m making reservations!