Wildly Undomesticated

Mr. S. doing what he does best with our nephew and niece.
Mr. S. doing what he does best with our nephew and niece.

My husband comes alive outside.

At home, he rests, re-energizes, refreshes and washes. He loves tenderly, laughs heartily, and sleeps soundly.

I love that. I see this as my life-long ministry to him, to create a place of just that in our home. My greatest pleasure in marriage is to see my husband walk in the door, sit down for dinner, or crawl into bed and sigh a happy sigh of relief and contentment.

And lest you think I’m claiming victory over the domestic sphere (ha), let me confess that I’ve made our home a less-than-lovely place many times in my (grumpy, lazy, ugly) sin. Yet we have the luxury of living under abounding grace, and so in spite of our failings, the general pattern of our days at home is one of joy and tenderness.

And though home is good for him, he doesn’t thrive here like I do. The reason is simple. In his heart, my husband is wildly undomesticated.

I should have recognized this from the beginning. The first time he approached me, 19-years old, standing among friends at church, he asked me, not to dinner or coffee, but to go for a run with him (I gave him a tactful but firm ‘no’ at first).

When I discovered I’d lost my wallet after a movie with mutual friends, he championed the tragedy by asking an usher for a flash light, and crawling on his hands in knees, searching until it was found.

After winning my heart by saving my wallet, I agreed to our first date. It wasn’t a fancy meal, but a rugged hike. I watched in wonderment as he took a giant leap to land on a rock in the middle of a lake, climbed over a fence to explore a pasture, and scaled a giant tree to reach the top. For the first time, he had invited me on an adventure, and he took joy in my willing eagerness to come along.

When he got down years later on (both) knees, pulled out a ring, and asked me to be marry him, I realize now that the invitation was the same, the weightiest question he could muster. Join me on this adventure?

I want to tell you that it’s hard to keep up with an untamed heart. Anticipating marriage, I pictured cuddles on the couch, walks hand in hand, dinnertime chats, and romance. Truthfully, I’ve been blessed with all of those things time and time again. I am adored, cared for, and served more than I ever deserved.

But my husband’s heart requires something entirely different than mine. His calling is to serve through sacrifice, jump from airplanes, beat up his body, travel far away, to stay on watch as the world slumbers, and to join in fighting for a greater cause than himself. And that is the part of our marriage that has launched me out of my place of security, far away into uncharted territory.

As he’s been called away over the years, I’ve often found myself looking forward to a time that the adventures will stop. A time when what I once perceived as an era of youthful desire for accomplishment will finally come to an end, and we can finally be a “normal” family. It’s taken being married to that lion heart to understand the selfishness quietly hidden away in that desire.

In the many years to come, may my fears for his safety be replaced with confidence in his purpose, may my longing for his company be replaced with joy for his opportunities, and may my failing attempts to be strong be replaced with reliance on the Lord. May I always accept and care for every piece of his wild heart.

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