“For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh.” Genesis 2:24 (NIV)
The week that Jase and I were married, back in the dark ages of 1990, was full of activities. Family was arriving, dresses were being altered and tuxes were being picked up from the rental shop. It was a fun, exciting time full of promise and hopes of a bright future. If you know my dad at all (and especially if you follow him on Facebook), it won’t take you long to realize how much he loves me. He is always complimenting me and telling me how proud he is of the woman I’ve become. He is a positive, energetic, God-fearing, man and has been this way for as long as I can remember.
So, when he stopped me in the hallway of our house one day during that festive week, took me by the shoulders, faced me head on and stated, “Missy, I need to tell you something very important”, it definitely got my attention. He looked me dead in the eyes and said, “When you get married on Friday, you can’t come home.”
What? Where in the world did this come from? Maybe I didn’t hear him correctly. So, I asked him to clarify.
Again, he said, “You are not welcome to come back to this house to live after Friday night.”
Needless to say, I was completely offended! My dad didn’t want me anymore? I’m sure I had a look of horror on my face, which lead him to finish with one last thought: “When you have problems with your husband, and you will, you’ll need to work them out. Your mom and I will be here to help you however we can, but you’ll have to go home to your husband.”
Problems? What on earth is he talking about? I’m about to get married to the man of my dreams! What problems could we possibly have?!
Twenty-five years later, I still remember that short conversation like it happened yesterday. In fact, I just shared it with Reed and Brighton this past weekend as we were talking about their upcoming wedding and marriage. I also told them about the times that I laid in bed crying and wishing I was back at my parents’ home in the comfort of my upstairs bedroom without all of these challenges and disappointments of my new life. Then I would remember what my dad told me, and I knew I had to go talk to Jase about it.
When we’re young and in love and getting so much wonderful attention from the people around us, it’s completely normal to get caught up in the excitement. But in reality, those of us who have been married for any length of time can honestly say that the excitement of the nuptials will quickly dissipate into a harsh dose of reality. And what is left are two people coming from two different backgrounds from two different families with two different sets of baggage, habits and quirks, and we have to figure out how to make it work.
God was well aware of this situation when he created the union of marriage. He knew our bodies would grow old and we wouldn’t be as attractive to each other as we once were. He knew that we might face financial hardships and have to make hard decisions on how to do what’s best to feed and take care of our families. He knew we might be faced with the death of a child and wants us to rely on each other for support. He created marriage for the specific reason that He did not want us to be alone.
Genesis 2:18 states, “God said, ‘It is not good for the Man to be alone. I’ll make him a helper, a companion.’”
Jase knows everything there is to know about me, my attributes AND my faults, and he has still stuck with me for over twenty-five years. What a blessing to know that he is committed to me no matter what we have gone through and no matter what our future holds. When we said those vows, we had no idea what was waiting for us in the future. But God did. God does. He knew it all when he created the institution of marriage long before we ever existed.
Now that my oldest son, Reed, has chosen Brighton to be his wife, he needs to love her more than he loves me. And I, as his mom, need to understand that. There is no place in a marriage for a man to love his mother more than he loves his wife. And there is no place in a marriage for a mother who hasn’t accepted that. I’ve been abundantly blessed with a mother-in-law who understands her role in her sons’ marriages. She not only has four sons, but she has four daughters because of that. I’m hoping to be that same wonderful, godly mother-in-law to Brighton.
So, not only did I tell them my memory of that awkward conversation I had with my dad all those years ago, I also took the opportunity to pass down the same information to Reed. I left them with these endearing words:
“Reed, I love you with all my heart, but once you say ‘I do’ this fall, you can’t come home. And Brighton, you’re stuck with him.”