I knew the calls would come, just like all fathers anticipate yet with a kind of bittersweet perspective. But I put that future reality in the back, far back recesses of my brain. “That’s for another time and another place. No need to worry about it now.” And time marched on.
Then one day I turned around and our two daughters had become women, noticed by other men.
The first call came in 2015 around Valentine’s Day. A man named Frank asked if he could meet with me and my wife Gina, although I already knew what he wanted. In our home, as I listened to his request for Kayla’s hand in marriage, I didn’t notice him nervously fidgeting with glasses he held which he broke by the time our conversation ended. My wife brought that to my attention years later.
The second call came in 2022 toward the end of the summer. A man named Gregory asked to meet with us. He entered our split-level home with his confident 6-foot 6 stature. He sat down and smiled a big one, seemingly unafraid of this “marriage thing”. In fact, he had already told me over the phone he wanted to meet to discuss marrying Abby.
Both men sat in the same place in our house, although I didn’t tell them where to sit. They both made that choice, sitting on what probably felt like a witness stand.
Most fathers take pride in the many years they raised their daughters, so giving them away easily just because it’s the next step in life doesn’t lessen our grip. For years I prayed for my girls from the uncomfortable position down on my knees–and still do. I took them on many father-daughter dates besides not missing any of their school performances. And we shared lots of laughs during many embarrassing family adventures.
Gina eased the mood in the room as I talked to the two men and eased my intense questions with her laughter. Maybe that is why they asked to meet with “both” of us.
But my wife’s laid-back manner, which by the way-adds balance to our marriage, didn’t keep me from going deep with those two men, reflective questions I ping-ponged back to them, after I said “Yes” to the only question they had on their mind. I leaned forward from our couch. “Marriage is like a mirror. It reveals who you really are.” Both men looked at me with a “what the heck are you talking about?” expression.
I continued. “After the six months or so of your engagement and after your honeymoon you will see a different side of our daughter and she will see a different side of you. And that is when your marriage will really begin. Some couples can’t handle what they see in the marriage-mirror when the blindfold of expectations is removed. That is when real love is tested, refined and molded into the marriage that God wants, the relationship where you depend on Him first to bless and help your marriage. Gina doesn’t meet 100% of my needs and I don’t meet 100% of hers-it’s impossible! Only God can. But I respect her, and she respects me and we “both” work hard to contribute toward a godly marriage.”
I didn’t expect those two men to get what I said back then, because they hadn’t experienced marriage. But I did want to be honest about a relationship that is beautiful, yet not picture perfect.
When I think back to the conversation with those men, I recall the words of Robert S. McGee: “An engaged couple may intellectually know they want to marry each other, and probably feel very close to one another, but until they willfully say, “I do” to each other, they are not married. Many people are at this point in their relationship with Christ. They need to say, I do to Him.” (The Search for Significance, page 21)
Marriage is difficult because there is always something to work on and our relationship with God is up and down sometimes, because, if we fear Him, then his godly mirror (from reading His words & the Holy Spirit’s conviction) will reveal something we need to work on the closer we walk with Him.
Listen to what Isaiah said when he got close to the living God:
“It was in the year King Uzziah died that I saw the Lord.
He was sitting on a lofty throne, and the train of his robe filled the Temple.
Attending him were mighty seraphim, each having six wings.
With two wings they covered their faces, with two they covered their feet, and with two they flew.
They were calling out to each other,
“Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of Heaven’s Armies! The whole earth is filled with his glory!”
Their voices shook the Temple to its foundations, and the entire building was filled with smoke.
Then I said, “It’s all over! I am doomed for I am a sinful man. I have filthy lips, and
I live among a people with filthy lips. Yet I have seen the King, the Lord of Heaven’s Armies.”
Since it is God who saved us, as believers, He also is the One who promises to change us as we walk this faith-journey with Him. From his book Philippians, Paul wrote: “And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns.” (1:6, NLT)
Where are you in your journey with God? Don’t be afraid of what He will reveal as you seek His face. He wants you to mirror Him to a dark world and He also wants our hearts given to Him however broken. Don’t be afraid to look in the mirror.
pictures courtesy of pexels.com