He leans over to kiss me goodnight and shifts to prepare for the rest of his evening. The bed empties of his presence as he quietly slips on his house shoes, careful not to wake the kids we just spent thirty minutes putting to bed.
I give him a smile he doesn’t see as he pads out of the bedroom, across the living area and upstairs to pray. It is a rhythm he has instituted more the past few weeks but is also an expansion of his early morning routine. It’s very rare that I wake up and he is still in bed. He takes this time to pray over his nation, the community, the churches and his family. But most of all, he goes to seek God. To be with Him.
The first few months of our marriage, I was not as excited about him rising so early in the morning. I laugh to myself even now when I think of the irritation and bewilderment I felt when I would hear him get up. He was so loud to me. Rustling bed covers and drawers. His steps sounding like a herd of horses were in my house. Those movements were annoying to me in my sleepy morning state, regardless of what he was getting ready to do.
But after a while, I realized that when I was single, I didn’t grasp how much I lingered in bed. When I woke up in the morning, I stayed there for ten to thirty minutes, letting sleep gradually drain from me. From there I would ease into my Bible reading and prayer. I used to think that I was a pretty good morning person but it wasn’t until marriage became my mirror that I saw the reality.
I had to come to terms with the process of covenant, the knitting together of hearts that happens well beyond the “I Do”. So instead of feeling like my husband was being inconsiderate, I found joy in the intention of his heart. The differences that surfaced were hard to process at times, like when I tried to rearrange the house in the first week. But our desire to remain Christ-centered at the heart of our marriage helped us to give each other grace in the adjustments. And to not take our individual quirks as grounds for offense.
We’ve had similar moments in our ministry roles where at times it seems we are coming from two different sides of the page. My views as a woman raised in the church and working in full-time church ministry are not always in line with his thoughts as a man who received Christ in his twenties and worked in community-based, inner city ministry.
But unity remains because we know that regardless of what point we come from, we are still on the same page. It’s part of the story that God is writing through us, centered on Jesus and it continues to be written through the journey that He’s taken our family on.
Iceland was a test for us. I had to wrestle with my trust: of my husband and ultimately of God. But he patiently continued seeking, waiting for God to do inner work in me so that we could go in unity and not discord. And as we’ve journeyed for the last couple of years through blizzards and wind storms and months of midnight suns, I can’t put into words what his leading and guiding, what his early morning rising, has meant for our family.
Our partnership in marriage has seen many tough and challenging seasons. We’ve wondered how we would recover from certain transitions, if we would have enough money for food and bills, or if we were taking the right steps as we followed the call of God. But in every season, my husband has been faithful to press on, to lean into the voice of the Lord and lead his family accordingly. Helping us stay on the same page of God’s will for us, the transition here connecting us together in ways I couldn’t have imagined.
My husband is still a better morning person than I am. But I’m catching up. His devotion and hunger for the Lord honestly put me to shame. And I am thankful. I am thankful for his steps and rustling and his passion. I wouldn’t have it any other way.
What quirks show up between you and your spouse and how have you grown to love and appreciate them?