Reading declarations of love and appreciation about someone’s spouse on social media has a tendency to make me feel just a little bit queasy. I’m not madly into PDAs although hand holding and the occasional side hug are fine every now and then. But it would be wrong of me, after all this time, not to talk about the incredible man who is my husband and just what a rock he has been over the last four and a half years.
Rolling back the years to when we were first dating, he was always baby mad. Any excuse to hold at least one little person (at a time) at church on a Sunday and he’d be first in line! Throughout our dating and engagement this translated to regular epistles on loving me, including how spectacular, no just downright hot, I would look with a baby bump and how he couldn’t wait to see it. Babies were on his mind from the get-go and it’s one of the wonderful parts of his personality that I love so much.
Over time this enjoyment of other people’s children and dreams of his own have become a source of wounding. I’ve seen him come home downcast after playing bass at a morning church service from struggling with the sea of children in the congregation before him. He’s watched films with scenes of newborns and cried at the harsh reality of his own children’s absence in his life. He’s felt alienated from his buddies as they move on without him, as they forget that perhaps this deep void in his life is something he needs to talk about, much as I do with my girlfriends. So often the woman gets all the attention and the man is underestimated and over-looked.
His personal pain in this period of our married life grieves me deeply. I hate to see him hurting. I hate that our recent loss has hit him so very, very hard this time. I hate that I can’t change our circumstances for him. (Perhaps we are understanding just a tiny little bit more about why Sarah would allow Abraham to sleep with Hagar in Genesis 16, for although a concubine-to-hand is definitely not on our To Try Out list, the desire to bring forth life for one’s husband is an urgent one).
My hubbie has maintained an impressively positive attitude throughout all the ups and downs of our infertility years. He’s never grumbled about the varying degrees of cleanliness he’s seen in the array of clinic cupboards to which he’s been sent to give up his wares for testing or collection. He’s held my hand throughout more procedures than either of us can remember and refused to leave the room when a terse nurse would have him wait outside. He’s mixed the IVF drugs and administered injections when I fumbled in my nervousness with needles, and he knows which arm is best for the nurse to use when taking my blood. He’s sat in awe at the sight of a pregnancy test stick turn to ‘positive’ and he’s waded into every gory minute of our miscarriages. He’s championed me, defended me and loved me in our mutual pain. He’s listened to me go on and on and on and on over all these years as I rage one minute and weep another in the ups and downs of all we’ve been through. And every single month when pregnancy has been a possibility, he’s been waving the hope and victory flag for Pupo (Pupo the faith monster is our affectionate fuzzy friend – Pregnant Until Proven Otherwise!) even when I knew another period was likely to be hours away.
Three Christmases ago a close friend of mine handed me a pot of words that she had been writing and collecting from her prayer times for us (what a gem she is!). She sheepishly commented on one that she felt stood out as an anomaly from all the others, “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her” (Ephesians 5:25). Initially I pondered with her at the strange choice, but now I am in no doubt that this verse, along with all the others, is an absolute fit for our circumstances. In The Message version it says this, “Husbands, go all out in your love for your wives, exactly as Christ did for the church—a love marked by giving, not getting. Christ’s love makes the church whole. His words evoke her beauty. Everything he does and says is designed to bring the best out of her, dressing her in dazzling white silk, radiant with holiness. And that is how husbands ought to love their wives. They’re really doing themselves a favor—since they’re already “one” in marriage”. My man has absolutely given his all for me. He’s put me first time and time again. He’s shielded me, sheltered me, prayed for me, held me, fought for me and loved me as we journey to these dark places together. He is not perfect, but he will always be my absolute hero.
As it happens my husband’s name means, “He (God) shall add”. And so as we wait and wonder about our family, we know that in this amazing name, and in his namesake in the Bible who dreamt and saw confounding miracles come forth, lies a promise that our God will add to us too.