Who WANTS to be taken for granted? You’d probably have thought there was something wrong with me if you had walked into my kitchen two years ago late at night after a long day and found me giggling.
I was giggling to myself over a sink full of dirty dishes because after 9 years of marriage, countless hours of diligent sacrifice, my husband finally, beautifully, had taken me for granted.
I worked really hard to be taken for granted.
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That sounds really crazy, I know, but the reality is I never saw trust in marriage the way I do now. Let me tell you how being taken for granted was actually a sign of growth in our marriage.
I began working on our marriage a few years ago when I stopped nagging him to pick up his dirty underwear, and instead started praying over it. His empty toothpaste tube left on the vanity gets silently replaced. His lunch is quietly waiting each morning.
Our marriage was in a rough place after his last deployment. Out of the six years we had known each other, he had spent three of those deployed. The trials of war were a heavy burden that I didn’t know how to carry with him, and he didn’t know how to let me.
We tried to pick up and move forward, as if skipping over the missed year, but we had changed. I had spent a year just being a mom, and he felt like an outsider to our little all girls’ club. We didn’t really know how to overcome the abyss between us.
Let me tell you, pretending the rift wasn’t there, wasn’t pretty. We were almost on the brink of disaster when Jesus began to intervene.
I wanted God to change my husband, who had returned from war angry and different. While, I prayed and prayed that he would change, I got angrier and more bitter when he didn’t. I sat all self-righteous on my pious side of the room, waiting for him to change before I would.
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But God began a quiet work in my heart.
He answered my prayers for change by changing me. I began to see love, not as an emotion, but an active choice. I could decide to love him everyday.
However, my husband didn’t trust that love. He wouldn’t ask me to do his laundry. He wouldn’t ask for help with even the littlest things, and seemed perturbed when I would offer, like depending on me was weakness.
Mostly, he didn’t see us as a team. He was running his own life and I was a corollary player.
To change his perception, I had to learn to be trustworthy, be willing to serve, be gentle instead of nagging, instead of shouting louder, get quiet. I had to serve him without complaining, joyfully. I had to ask him everyday – what can I do for you? And then do what he asked, even if I didn’t want to.
So, when he dragged himself to bed after an 18 hour day, leaving his cold, stale coffee in his thermos, his dirty lunchbox full of trash, and a pot simmering on the stove for me to watch, a midnight load of laundry to do, I almost got frustrated. Hey, I’m tired too!
but then I heard, God’s quiet voice, ‘what a beautiful blessing.’
A blessing? beautiful? to be taken for granted?
Did I hear that right, Lord? YES! Yes, the fiercely independent husband who wouldn’t ask for help, didn’t want to need me, now relies on my help, and beautifully takes for granted that I’ll be there and do things for him.
Wow. I almost missed the sweetness of that moment. It had taken years of work to reach that point. And I am thankful God reminded me to see being relied upon as a blessing.
Our marriage that almost ended in bitterness and anger, is stronger than ever, full of laughter again.
Psalm 85:10 ESV Steadfast love and faithfulness meet; righteousness and peace kiss each other.
Finding this verse from Psalms almost brought me to tears. Never could I have imagined my marriage in it, but the words leapt from the Bible into my heart.
I learned what steadfast love and faithfulness meant through seeking God’s righteousness, and peace began to reign in our household.
I never thought I would celebrate being beautifully taken for granted, yet on our 9th anniversary, the words, “I love you” were more poignant than ever, hearing him say, “I know” meant even more.