I am my beloved’s and my beloved is mine” (Song of Solomon 6:3 NIV).
Friend to Friend
I could hear the wailing from the driveway. It was 5:10 a.m. and nature soundly slept. All was quiet, except for the animal-like cries making their way out the back door and into the still dark dawn. My husband and his sister were giving their mom the news that her husband of sixty years had passed away. After three months in a rehab facility recovering from a fall, Bruce Jaynes quietly slipped away and took Jesus’ hand.
Jesus or no Jesus, Mary Ellen was devastated that her husband had left her.
“How could he leave me?” she cried through salty tears. “He said he wouldn’t leave me.”
My in-laws’ relationship reflected the Shulammite’s words in the Song of Solomon: “I am my beloved’s, and my beloved is mine” (Song of Solomon 6:3). They had been a matched set. Like a candlestick made to be part of a pair whose mate had gone missing, her light was exponentially dimmer without her Bruce.
In the following months, Mary Ellen walked with the limp of a woman missing half of herself. Her forced smile looked pained. It was difficult to watch as two intertwined souls became a single strand. Four grown children and their spouses, plus a slew of grandchildren and great-grandchildren, took extra care to let her know that she was loved and needed, but it was never enough.
Six months after Bruce took his last breath, Mary Ellen joined him. After a fun-filled day at a great-grandchild’s birthday party, she had a heart attack and left us in a matter of minutes.
After my father-in-law had died, I think of how my mother-in-law would have loved to pick his dirty socks off the bedroom floor one more time. How she would have given anything to hear him blowing his nose too loud in front of company. How she would have happily ironed his shirts yet again. How she would have loved to hear his snoring rather than the silence of the night. How she would much rather cook a meal for two than heat up a bowl of soup for one.
What would she say to those teetering on the brink of divorce, who huff in frustration, who turn their backs to their husband’s reaching hand in the night? I think she would hold their gaze with a knowing look. Grasp their hands with an urgent plea. I think she would tell them that marriage is worth fighting for.
It’s worth the hurt and the healing.
The ups and the downs.
The irritations and the celebrations.
I think she’d tell them that the big picture of marriage is created with the brush strokes of tiny moments—that both the dark and the vibrant hues are necessary for depth and beauty to emerge.
That the marriage of two imperfect people is the perfect recipe for God’s glory to manifest itself to a longing world.
That the legacy of a lifetime is too precious to toss away. Work at it. Give it all you’ve got. Start over as many times as you have to, as long as it’s with the same man. The best marriage you will ever have is the one you have right now.
She would remind us that marriage isn’t all about you and me. It’s about glorifying God. It’s about sacrifice. It is about caring for the needs of someone else above your own. It is about believing in the impossible when your hope is all but gone. It’s about asking God to give you wisdom and then having the courage to change when he reveals the problem is you. It’s about a covenant with the God who intertwines two souls with the thread of His presence.
I think she would say to forgive quickly and completely. Don’t waste one day on bitterness or resentment. Because time is precious and fleeting, and when it’s gone, it’s gone. All you have is today.
Lord, thank You for today. Help me not to waste it, regret it, or take it for granted. Help me to see today as the gift that it is.
In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Now It’s Your Turn
What would you do today if you knew it was your last?
How would you treat your husband if you knew that today would be the last day he’d be on this earth?
I know that some of our GiG readers have already experienced that last day. I would love for you to comment and share your words of wisdom.
More From the Girlfriends
Has your marriage slipped into the monotony of the mundane? Are you ready to get the spark back?
The Song of Solomon is a confusing book for many. But when you break the code and decipher the romantic language, it all makes sense. In my book, Lovestruck: Discovering God’s Design for Romance, Marriage, and Sexual Intimacy from the Song of Solomon, you’ll see God’s design for one of His greatest gifts. Parts of it will have you saying, “Is that really in the Bible?” Yep, God made sure of it. It also has a companion Bible study for those who want to go deeper and for groups.
© 2021 by Sharon Jaynes. All rights reserved.
My husband died two and a half years ago. We had both been married before, so had some baggage to deal with. However, we were best friends, lovers and soul mates. My advice is to try to put his needs first, remind him how special he is, love him with every fibre of your being. He is more fragile than you realise and needs your support to be the man you admire, respect and love.
We drew away from God & away from each other. Not only did I not love my husband, I didn’t even like him. I imagined that after the children were grown up we’d go our separate ways. Divorce. We had nothing in common any more. Then my Godly mum died. I was broken & God gently drew me back to himself. I then so wanted to fix my marriage & fix my husband. I wanted to tell him where he’d gone wrong. But God had other ideas. He said Caroline let’s “fix” you, then keep praying for your husband & let me “fix” him. That’s not your job. And that’s exactly what God did. Here we are nearly twenty years later, walking with God, closer than we’ve ever been. Honestly it was a miracle. But God’s in the business of working miracles. I am so thankful.
My husband died 16 years ago at the age of 43. College sweethearts, we had been married 23 years. Life had not been rosy, and our marriage had some rocky times. Unfortunately, I don’t think I fully realized just how good he was and how good our marriage was until he died, I do wish I would have cherished him more while he was with me. He told me before he died that he had always loved me faithfully but he also expressed his regret was that he had not cherished me more. Love deeply and cherish your spouse.
So, your advice seems so directed at me, but how do you try to move forward with a marriage where there is absolutely no longer any trust in your spouse? He had a long-term affair which I ultimately discovered. We decided to work on our marriage and keep our family together. During counseling sessions he discussed how he believed it was likely that our children would never speak to him again if they knew of his infidelity. Even knowing that it could cost him not only his marriage but his relationship with his children, he started up the affair again. I have no trust in him. I see no future with him.
My husband died 4 and a half years ago. He was the light of my life, and we were fortunate to spend almost 40 years together. There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t think of him, and miss him. God has blessed me in so many ways since he has been gone, and I have found joy again, however, my heart will be forever broken!
This posting is a blessing in disguise!
My hubbie and I are very different, but, that’s part of God’s idea for me.
We have gone through losses of parents, aunts and uncles with major illness and ran a family business together.
My husband is also, a caner survivor; so for us, sometimes we are “life battle” buddies.
God has shown me lately, that I have to be the one of patience and peace; rather than the one who seems to “have the plan”.
I am the previously married one, that has had struggles with that, but, with my depending on God’s help I know we can weather the life storms together.
This year I will have been married 45 years. 45 years of ups and downs, good times and bad, but as you said, Sharon, “both the dark and the vibrant hues are necessary for depth and beauty to emerge.” Two years ago our lives took a dramatic turn when we obtained custody of 3 of our grandchildren — all with special needs. One was a surly teenager, another was a 3 year old with profound special needs, and an infant born with a drug addiction. We try to work together in unity but because of stress levels and differing opinions sometimes we find ourselves at odds with each other over how to handle situations. Then we got the devastating news that my husband has a terminal illness. I cry and pour my heart out to God for a miracle of healing for him. And again, I quote from you, Sharon, “It is about believing in the impossible when your hope is all but gone.” Through everything our love has deepened but I still find myself becoming petty at times. I ask for forgiveness. From my husband and from God who blessed me with him 45 years ago.
My husband of 56 years transitioned January, 2021 at home. During the marriage, I have made nearly every mistake you have mentioned and sometimes was too prideful to ask him for forgiveness. Now, I wish I had demonstrated more the fruit of the Spirit toward my husband but I ask God’s forgiveness and I rest in the fact that He is a forgiving GOD.
Thank you Jesus for Sharon ❤️
In February I lost one of my daughters, she died in her sleep, no warning. In April I lost my husband of 36 years after a 6 year battle with severe illnesses. I was his caretaker all that time. The last couple years he could do nothing for himself. He made the decision to stop dialysis, he couldn’t go on any more. His body gave out. Five days later he went home. I had the privilege of letting him go, telling him I loved him enough to be without him. I was by his side when he passed away. That week family and friends came. We spent time talking and reminiscing, it was a beautiful week. We had both been married before and had a blended family. We had our ups and downs. Marriage takes work, comprises, good times and bad times. Life is precious. There is no way to know how long you have. I don’t know why God chose a 6 year road for us that at times was brutal, what I do know is the promises of Heaven. My husband is no longer in pain or suffering, he has a new body and is reunited with our daughter. I took my marriage vows seriously (in sickness and in health). There were times I struggled, times I was so weary and worn out that I didn’t think I could go on, and yes even times I wanted to walk away. I am thankful that I made it through each day. In life there will always be regrets but from experience I know to live life fully, to cherish every moment, to be kind. We always said I love you at the end of each phone call, when one of us left the house and each night before bed. My advise would be to love well.
Caroline, that us a beautiful story. It gives me hope.
the comments made have been so very encouraging. My parents divorced when I was a child but I saw them love each other more from a distance. I wish they could be honest enough to apologise to each other and try again with God’s leading.
I am now in a new relationship with a fantastic man of God and you have encouraged me to love him openly and make sure that he knows how much I treasure him. I’m not sure what that looks like but I’m willing to try. We just don’t know how long God gives us so let’s make the most of all of it and love completely and purely witholding nothing.