I recently met a woman who may have captured my interest. What caught my attention was her respect. I have never met a woman in my life when the word “respectful” came to mind. I’ve met women of all generations who had self-control of their emotions and tried their best to be positive. And many women I know are respectful. But no woman I ever met had such a manner and skill of respect that the word “respect” came to mind so quickly.
And that’s also not to say that she thinks of herself as somehow inferior to me or anyone else. She not only respects me and those around her, she respects herself.
She doesn’t know English well at all, but being married to a woman who speaks a different language, actually, may solve many problems… hehehehe.
The greater hurtle to jump, if the relationship ever has a prayer, is our differing views about God. She, like my father was when my parents married, is a “proud atheist”. If you’ve never met a proud atheist, this is a person who thinks it a great accomplishment to have rejected every institutionalized religion known to man. They view religion as “silly” and “superstitious”, merely as a coping mechanism that enslaves the followers. Unfortunately, since Churchianity is the only “Jesus” she’s ever been taught, I can’t blame her. She has rejected every religion that should be rejected. Now, she just needs to meet Jesus.
What’s worse? To marry a woman who honors Jesus with her lips, but disrespects her husband every day, or the woman who fulfills the law of the Lord to honor the husband, even while being understandably confused by the smokescreen of Churchianity that clouds understanding Jesus for so many?
For those of you in the Southern Baptist Convention, don’t worry. I won’t even date a gal who doesn’t believe Jesus. Of all the little things that a romance couple must have to be compatible with each other, Jesus is the most significant “little thing that matters”. He’s no “little thing” at all, though Jesus finds his way into the same category. He shows up everywhere… prayer, provision, pride, happiness…
I recently explained the gospel to her, specifically that Jesus was not part of Churchianity—one of the many great ramifications of Jesus words, “It is finished.” I used the framework of my book The Four Planes to do it, something that, in my humble opinion, makes things much easier to understand, more practical, and less boring.
The bigger issue, I suppose, is myself. If Jesus is so important to me, then I should pursue Him enough that it makes those around me want to know more about him. I should reflect his compassion, forgiveness, joy, wisdom, mastery of my trade, and all the other things that made Jesus so cool to hang out or do business with. If this woman knows me for more than a year and doesn’t want to know more about Jesus, then I have failed. So, I guess I’ll need to pray and, as a man worthy of respect, treat myself with the responsibility that respect demands.
I saw the problems that an atheist/agnostic father caused for our family. Maybe mom should have known Jesus more, but that’s not for me to judge. Had my parents not married when they did, I wouldn’t see how important it is for two married people to agree about Jesus, one way or another. So, rather than second guessing my parents’ past, I’ll focus on praying for my own future… whomever that future may include.
Rather than praying for God to change anyone else, I’m praying for God to change my own heart. This is not because I’m more willing to change because, frankly, I may not be. But I believe I have more room for improvement and, therefore, my prayer for improvement is more likely to be answered if I pray to improve myself. After all, no matter whom I marry, the marriage would be perfect were it not for me. If anyone else has difficulty believing in the Jesus I know, it’s from my own failure to reflect his light.