Whew. It is a good thing I married a giver.
Before I was married I did 15 years single as a full-time minister. I was not about to give up this call on my life to get married. This was always a major factor in deciding who I would date. Every guy who asked me out got a chance but he always had to understand that I was called into full-time ministry and I was not budging. Many guys bailed quickly. Many guys tried to be persuasive—whom I now see as takers. And then there is John. He never wavered on this non-negotiable I had. I married him.
Twenty-three years later I read about this dating truth about takers and givers. I see John in a whole new light yet again. I am grateful to God yet again for bringing John into my life. John, whom I thought for so long was not my type, has never wavered in his support of me as a full-time minister and has been a catalyst for growing my online presence. He believes in me and my calling. He has made my world bigger.
As a youth minister I am still in relationship with hundreds of graduated teens. This is what I want them to know on their wedding day. John and I wrote this letter together early in our marriage because we were both so blessed by how our love grew both of our worlds. Now I see it through this lens of givers and takers. I have given this letter to many beloveds of mine.
Dear Emily and Zane (our last wedding we went to and we love this couple so much!),
Buying a wedding card sucks. They are all so trite and simplistic and stupid like the actual wedding day has something to do with the actual marriage. So you get this.
This marriage is a good thing. Marriage overall is a good thing (which is why it is better to be single than married until you know that you know that you know because you don’t want to screw up this good thing). Then there are those marriages that are so in line with God’s picture of His love for us that marriage is a lifelong joy. Your marriage is a good thing.
We want to pass on what we have found out that has made our marriage a joy even in the depths of strife and why we never tire of each other. That sounds crazy after 20 years but it is true. I hope you do see that in us. This is why…
Zane, you need to be, and be proud to be, a giving man. It is in your giving that your marriage will thrive. Your giving will allow Emily to thrive in all that God has for her. She is/will become that great wife and woman.
In return, you Zane will be allowed to do/dream/pursue whatever you want. With that sort of freedom, you can/will become a great provider, a great man of God, and happy in your pursuit of those things. And because of your giving life, you will have a crazy-in-love wife in return.
Being a giver in love has nothing to do with disrespect and being a doormat. You really cannot have love when respect is missing. This kind of love is being so completely in love that Emily and her wishes are first in your mind. It is Wesley of “The Princess Bride.” The answer is always “as you wish.” And Wesley was no doormat.
Emily, if you have a giving husband, the sky is the limit for you. It is for Zane too. If you have an “as you wish” husband, you are going to want to give him the freedom to do things and dream even bigger things. And then you will have this outstanding husband living out his dreams. That’s a big part of what a great marriage is—two people with complete freedom and trust in each other, living out their dreams. That freedom and trust will allow you both to look at each other in such a way that only truly happily couples could understand.
Truly this is what we’ve learned and what we feel strongly makes our marriage strong and makes both of us strong. We do believe you two can also have this joy.
Brenda and John
True that. Wesley of The Princess Bride was no doormat. No wimp. He was strong. And a giver.
Friends, hold out for a match like this. Look for a match like this. Make the painful decisions to have an ending and trust God to find you this kind of a match.
(photo credit: http://tbrnewsmedia.com/princess-bride-returns-big-screen/)