Loving Imperfect People

I am planning soon to post two or three thoughts on the struggle of loving imperfect people. We all say that we love one another, but when we have so much trouble doing it in our homes, how can we really do it in the church?

As I’ve pondered this, this post floated past my radar screen. Ransom Fellowship is a wonderfully engaging ministry out of Minnesota headed by Margie and Denis Haack. In Margie’s reflections on forty years of marriage to Denis, she makes the following observations (I’ve highlighted the pertinent points):

“I used to think of couples married forty years as wizened in body and mind, the undertaker on-call, and living in apartments that smelled of boiled cabbage, but that isn’t exactly our life. Marriage is less and more than I’d imagined.

My first difficult disappointment way back was that he did not make me happy every moment of every day, in fact, I couldn’t believe he called to the worst in me and I gave it. I spent a lot of time, still do, actually, in confession and prayer, confession and prayer, repeat, repeat. I was also shocked that I should feel lonely. Ever. Of course, I was only twenty then and hadn’t read the books. Blame it on that. Over the years after we went to bed, I learned not to mention getting rid of the carpenter ants, which are attacking the back of our house as we lie here. And he’s learned to tolerate my allergic coughing and wheezing with just the slightest rattle of his magazine.

Marriage is more than I imagined. We share a purpose and calling that has made the years both intense and lovely. We’re friends and lovers, but we’re not the same. I’m still learning how healthy it is to be differentiated (he will never like gardening and I will never enjoy list checking) and how good not to be responsible for the mate’s ultimate happiness. In learning a little more of what it means that Jesus is the lover of my soul I find it easier to rest in darkness. He is steadier and more comforting than a man, or a woman. We just aren’t equipped to do what only God can do – love us to redemption. We actually love each other better knowing this.

Her wonderful testimony (which is better in its whole context) illuminates points which I hope to make later. But this is useful in its own right. Love does not mean fulfilling another’s ultimate happiness. Only Jesus can do that.

I was, by the way, first put on to Denis Haack through some wonderfully humble reflections on the church’s relationship to culture accessible here and here. Once you get past the fact that he sounds like the insidious creep Ben on TV’s Lost, you will find that these are helpful messages.

One thought on “Loving Imperfect People

  1. Seth Greenwald

    “(he will never like gardening and I will never enjoy list checking)”… Who does that sound like???

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