By Andrew Pacutho, Uganda:
It's been a couple of weeks and marriage is still on my mind. The butterflies have settled and my smile has been replaced by furrowed brows as I find my mind wondering deep into thought about out life together.
Clearly we have absolutely no experience whatsoever and the proof around points to a tough climb ahead. I prefer to look at all the rosy coloured forecasts and imagine a perfect future with you my love but It will be silly not to be aware of the potential pitfalls wouldn't it?
What kind of man would I be if I did not try to solve these before they even started? You know how I love having a plan A, B, C, D and E sometimes all the way to z.
So I sought out some old wise men, the men who had stood with me through my walk of faith and many many trials. I spoke with the men who had pointed out your many qualities and virtues when I wanted to pursue you and the wise old men who, with love, prayer and concern always dared to steer me in the right direction even when it was not popular.
This is what one of them said, “Love her like Jesus”.
At first I was like, “what!!” I really could not possibly even begin to come close to that kind of love. How was I to do this I wondered? My mentor watched my fallen gaze and smiled. This is how he broke it down.
The union of a man and a woman through marriage is a profound mystery. It is a great joy, great honour and a great responsibility. Do not take it lightly. You are about to become one with this woman in every way possible. One flesh, one lord, one family, one life. It is “a mutual appropriation of each other's souls” he added.
“Love her to death” he added, staring at me intently.
“To death,” I mumbled.
“To death,” he repeated. “Your love is the sacrificial love. Yours is a willingness to give all to her even if it meant your life. You must be willing to die for her. Anything less than that will be failure to live up to the call of love expected of you.”
“But don't worry,” he quickly added.
“It will be the most fulfilling thing you will have ever done in your life. To live for another will make you feel even more alive. Die to yourself and live for your wife.”
He told me that there are several ways to do this. He encouraged me to take on your sufferings. Of course I can never really feel your pain as you do but to be there for you, to understand, to stand with you and comfort you.
He said I could do this through prayer. Imagine that. He challenged me to think beyond just praying for your health and wellbeing or that promotion you want but to actually spend time interceding for you with mourns and groans too deep for men to understand.
We sat in silence for several minutes and as I stood to live he gave me a firm hug and said,
“This is a great journey you embark on. Don't be afraid. This is no different than dying to self as you follow God. This is truly a masculine thing…for it takes a strong man to die to himself and love like Jesus”
P.S. I Love You.
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