God, I'm incapable of loving my mate. I admit that. She's a feeler; I'm a thinker. She's patient; I'm not. She looks for the best in everyone. I try, but fail more than I succeed. And...most obviously, she's a woman. I'm not. I need supernatural help! But of course, You know that.
I'm thankful that none of these deficiencies render me incapable of learning how to love. On the contrary, they create ever-present opportunities for improvement. Long ago I learned that understanding her was infinitely more important than trying to change her. She, of course, learned it first. The strongest one in a relationship usually does.
I also learned, eventually (and thankfully) that meeting her needs was more important than waiting for her to meet mine. Admittedly, that one took me a while.
We both know, Father, that I have a long way to go, even after 43 years of marriage. I'm grateful for that. No one ever arrives. The totality of life is a journey, a process, a continuum of growth...and as long as there's today and tomorrow, we can all be better if we make the choice to try.
By the way, thanks for making us so different. Different is good. In fact, the older I get the more I realize that different is great! People who are different are always better together. They always bring balance to areas of each other's lives that are out of balance. They offer unique perspectives and angles; blessed intuitiveness that otherwise wouldn't be so readily available. I'm grateful for the ways that "different" has made a difference in my life and marriage.
Couples are just that, aren't they? A couple is the sum of two separate parts. They need each other, but they needle each other. They bring out strengths and weaknesses; the best and worst, the good and bad, enabling us to see ourselves realistically, which is so essential for a quality life. They continuously call each other out and up, constantly creating better versions of one another.
So I'm thankful today for my life partner, Linda Black, and I'm thankful for the miracle of good relationships. They soothe, encourage, challenge, teach, heal, and save us from ourselves. Saving us from ourselves is also what YOU do, God...and perhaps the most creative way You do it is by loving us through someone else.
So today, thank you Father. I need You and I need my wife. As you both know I'm also needy, but thank you for loving me anyway. Frankly, I don't know of any two people I trust who do that more intentionally and consistently than You and she. Indeed, sometimes I feel like the two of you are in some sort of competition to see who can love me best and most.
Here's my prayer for her. "Continue to shower her with grace, wisdom, patience, understanding, humility, self-deference, kindness, attentiveness, strength, health, resilience, boldness, generosity, hospitality, and unconditional love. Lord knows (don't You!), that I'd be absolutely dead in the water without her. As I've often said, 'She's Jesus with a skirt on.' I know that makes you smile. Me too. Amen."