Aghhhhh! I cannot be complete on my own. You don't know how difficult it was to put those words down on this page. God has created me and the environment in which I grew up. Those 56 years of formation have developed a fierce independence within me that is good ANNDDDD.... it is bad.
Every day it becomes more apparent to me why God designed male and female and that they should come together in marriage. The image of God within each is in need of completion and that by the spouse of the opposite sex. You don't know how difficult it was for me to say THAT! Admitting I am not complete on my own strikes at the very heart of my internal pride and autonomy.
"Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their work: If one falls down, his friend can help him up. But pity the man who falls and has no one to help him up! Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm. But how can one keep warm alone? Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken. (Ecclesiastes 4:9-12, NIV)
My wife is the one who completes me, helps me, supports me, holds me accountable, and a host of other acts of love that sometimes go unnoticed. She completes the image of God within me. There, I said it. God's design of a man and woman joining together completes the picture and casts an image of God that speaks of life, grace, and forgiveness.
I am a task oriented person. I am a concrete thinker. There isn't much room for flexibility or relationship building in my world. I must force myself to include relationship building and flexibility into my brain. A mindset of "gotta get things done and there is probably only one way to do them" often tries to rule the day. Enter my wife.
When I have focused heavily on work in the church or have been involved in some ongoing project, our relationship has suffered. Tracie has often become the other woman in our marriage and has often felt like the church was more important than she. Oh how I would love to say I have made great strides in correcting this. I am working on it.
Yesterday, we went for a short hike along the Juniata river and I mischievously snapped this photo.
I intended it to be funny, but after looking at the picture a bit deeper, I realized how my wife must feel many days. My heart immediately began to sink and hurt.
I don't have enough space here to describe how many times this woman held our family together, disciplined the kids, and ran the household while I was attending school and now leading the church. Tracie is the posterchild for faithfulness. She is the posterchild for tenacity. Her countenance could appear on any recruitment poster for wife of the year. Unfortunately, she is the unseen foundation upon which I stand. Without her I would be incomplete. I would have never achieved much to speak of and it is possible I may not even be alive. All this must change and needs to begin today.
Tracie Hughes, "I Still Do!"
Tracie Hughes, I commit to renew my covenant to love, honor, and cherish you above all others.
Tracie Hughes, may you never feel second in our marriage ever again.
Tracie Hughes, you are the partner God ordained for me and I am forever thankful.
Tracie Hughes, you are the 'why' for me getting out of bed in the morning.
Tracie Hughes, you have been an example of life, grace, and forgiveness when I failed to show these.
Tracie Hughes, when you see me falling into that rut, tap me on the head with your stick.
I love you.....