Revelations: Protect, preserve love
BY JENNIFER PREYSS
Last night, I watched a friend cry. It was one of those hard, girl cries, where black eyeliner runs down your face, but you don't notice, and probably wouldn't care if you did.
Her offender? An ex-boyfriend. He cheated; she left him. It's not an uncommon story in the world of women. And three months later, after she's had time to sort through the emotions attached to such a deception, he pops up on Facebook with a friendly note. No mention of how she was doing, or desire to get back together. It was a note he might send any other friend, any other day of the week. But they weren't just friends, and it wasn't any other day.
Some (men) might think his note was a perfectly nice gesture, right? He messed up and wants to make nice.
But for a woman struggling to recover from a broken heart, gross deception, and sustaining feelings of rejection, a Facebook note - which overlooks my friend's previous months of emotional turmoil while trying to get over him - seems downright thoughtless.
Surprisingly, my friend's breakdown was the second I experienced last week. A coffeehouse regular I often run into around town, also broke down unexpectedly while telling me about a divorce she was going through.
Hers was a similar situation. He cheated; she left him.
Only they were married, she's in her 50s, and she was starting over for the first time since she was 19 years old. Her breakup was both emotionally and financially burdensome, and one she said was terrifying to go through alone.
After listening to both women's stories this week, I couldn't help wonder what's happening to the men in our society. Where are the decent, family-oriented, want-to-commit-forever, men? You know, the men who open your car doors after you've been dating 10 years, and tells you you're beautiful when you're wearing sweats and no makeup.
The ones who defend their relationships openly, and don't hesitate to correct other men if their jokes get a little too "get in the kitchen and fetch me a beer, woman" inappropriate. The ones who decide to say "no" to an invitation to the strip club because they wouldn't want their wives to be home, feeling uncomfortable all evening, knowing their husbands are staring at other naked women.
The ones who know when they're tempted by an attractive co-worker or clerk at the local grocery store, they choose not to engage in "harmless" flirting. The ones who know they're weak with alcohol or women when out with certain friends, and choose to be extra careful, and on-guard, because of it.
The ones who would rather work on their relationships when they become less exciting - visit a counselor, visit a pastor, talk about their problems in low tones without name-calling and screaming, pray to God every day for multiple years (if needed) for complete marriage restoration - before considering walking out on their family.
Where are those men? Do they even exist anymore? Is marriage really unsuccessful as statistics report? Or is it just easier to terminate promises and plans, and walk out on your spouse?
After my conversations with the women, I started thinking about love. I thought about how Paul describes love in 1 Corinthians, as patient and kind, not boastful or prideful and doesn't take offense. It doesn't keep records of wrongs. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes and always preserves.
It always protects, and always preserves.
I thought about how beautiful that was to write more than 2,000 years ago. But I thought about how much more beautiful it is to believe it in 2011, and carry it into our daily relationships with people we love.
And Christ commands husbands in Ephesians 5 to love their wives as He loves the church. And because he loved his church so much, wanting to protect and preserve it, He died a martyr's death for it. I wonder how many men, future husbands, husbands-to-be and married men, think about the intensity of that kind of love with the women in their lives. And I wonder how many of them are willing to protect and preserve it - even die for it if they had to.
Jennifer Preyss is a re porter for the Victoria Advocate. You can reach her at 361-580-6535 or firstname.lastname@example.org.