Supposedly, the DNA differences between Lynne and me are minuscule. We are far more alike than different. And not just genetically; we are both Caucasian, college-educated, deeply committed to Jesus, relationally wired, driven by a desire to love well… We are so much alike, with so many similar interests – in people, in walking, in Starbucks, in our intellectual curiosity. We tend to like the same people. We often feel the same things when we enter a house or meet someone. Now some of this has grown over 36 years of togetherness. Some of it is by our choices, our wanting to facilitate this whole “two becoming one” process. But much of it just is the way we are alike.
We are so similar and yet…
There are differences. Sometimes they seem so large. Sometimes they involve how to spend money or where we go on vacation. Sometimes they are “sweet or salty.” Sometimes they are about the seasons; she is from Michigan and I am from the South. But more often they are about tone of voice or intent behind the words or forgetting something that she thinks I promised, but that I don’t remember. Occasionally, the differences are agreed upon – I did raise my voice while she was trying to have a civil conversation or simply share her feelings. The difference is that I didn’t think I was that loud or I thought that I was justified.
There is probably no one whom I have hurt more than Lynne… and no one who has ever loved me more than Lynne. There is no one who confuses me so much and no one whom I know better.
There is no one who has pursued my heart so tenderly and relentlessly and no one more terrifying to “let in” than Lynne. There is no other relationship in life like this one.
Marriage is scary, intimate, hopeful, forgiving, sacrificial, presumptuous upon grace, ordinary, fun, boring, empty, energizing and life-changingly divine. It is a human experience, albeit a very incomplete one, of my relationship with Jesus. And more than any other relationship, God uses it to take me places in my relationship with Him.
For it is in marriage that I most clearly see my need for Him – for wisdom, mercy, patience, discernment, courage, and love. It is in marriage that I experience something like the unconditional acceptance that only God can give through the love of Christ.
In marriage I grow through giving and receiving… through doing the mundane things of ordinary life. The big difference is that we do them together. “It is not good for a man to be alone.” I am so grateful that He knew that.
Palmer Trice is an ordained Presbyterian minister. He is married to Lynne, has three children and has been in Charlotte since 1979. In his spare time, Palmer enjoys golf, tennis, walking and reading.