25 August 2006

Love and First Impressions

The story was told at our wedding about the first time I laid eyes on Clint. I was new to the community and totally naive of western culture. He caught my attention as he sauntered into the church dressed head to toe in his cowboy glory, ruggedly handsome with his broad shoulders and muscular frame. As the story goes, I turned to my new girlfriends and asked, "Is that how people dress around here?" (The size of his belt buckle really blew me away.)

I have been reading through C. H. Spurgeon's Autobiography, and have come to the chapter entitled "Love, Courtship, and Marriage" written by Mrs. C.H. Spurgeon. She writes a humorous account of the first time she saw her husband (causing me to recollect my first sighting of my beloved husband.)

The first time I saw my future husband, he occupied the pulpit of New Park Street Chapel...if the whole truth be told, I was not at all fascinated by the young orator's eloquence, while his countrified manner and speech excited more regret than reverence. Alas, for my vain and foolish heart! I was not spiritually-minded enough to understand his earnest presentation of the gospel, and his powerful pleading with sinners, but the huge black satin stock, the long, badly-trimmed hair, and the blue pocket-handkerchief with white spots which he himself has so graphically described--these attracted most of my attention, and, I fear, awakened some feelings of amusement. There was only one sentence of the whole sermon which I carried away with me, and that solely on account of its quaintness, for it seemed to me an extraordinary thing for the preacher to speak of the "living stones in the Heavenly Temple perfectly joined together with the vermilion cement of Christ's blood." (p. 280-281)
She obviously loved her husband very much. She describes the garden where Spurgeon purposed to her:
I think of that old garden as a sacred place, a paradise of happiness, since there my beloved sought me for his very own, and told me how much he loved me. Though I thought I knew this already, it was a very different matter to hear him say it, and I trembled and was silent for very joy and gladness...thank God, throughout all my blessed married life, the perfect love which drew us together never slackened or faltered, and , though I can now see how undeserving I was to be the life companion of so eminent a servant of God, I know he did not think this, but looked upon his wife as God's best earthly gift to him.
In the diary I then kept, I find this brief but joyful entry: "August 2, 1854.--it is impossible to write down all that occurred this morning. I can only adore in silence the mercy of my God, and praise Him for His benefits." (p. 284)
This chapter is a must read for all romantics. And thank God for this godly woman who speaks so highly of her marriage! It can be discouraging to hear older women tell us younger women over and over what a hardship marriage is. It is sad to see how worldly thinking has penetrated the church. It seems that women find more enjoyment from putting their husbands down in public than from praising them. And if someone dares to praise her husband it almost assuredly followed by a condescending remark by another women saying, "Oh, you're still in the honeymoon stage. You'll find out later."

For some reason women find it a real bonding time to complain about their husband and marriage, and it is decidedly out of style to speak highly of their man. But what kind of effect does that have on people's marriages?

I am challenged to be praising and thanking God daily for his great benevolence to me. May I never become presumptuous on God's goodness, but rather properly appreciate the delightful gift He has given me (belt buckle and all.)

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