Dear young single 21st century North American churchgoing male,
As I near the end of my thirties, I’d like you to know I enjoy the holy grail of pleasures you’re always fantasizing about. I’ve arrived. I’m there. Which is to say, I go to sleep every night and wake up every morning next to a fabulously beautiful woman, and we make great love together. There are moments lying in her arms when I can’t believe such delights exist on earth.
I want to tell you why I enjoy this pleasure, this privilege. And why you’re still fantasizing about it. Let me give you ten reasons.
1. I’m married. Unlike you, I’m not pretending that I’m married to a girlfriend. I’m not banging and fornicating and then showing up for worship (sometimes) on Sunday. I’m married. Let me put this differently: I’m committed. Before I ever shared this woman’s bed, I gave her a ring and my word till death. I promised some ridiculously ambitious things to her in front of God and a lot of other people, and I will carry those things through, though every gale in hell bar my way. She knows this, and it makes for great love.
2. I’m still married, ten years later. To the same woman. Who now knows what a consummate ass I can be. I don’t think I had her one bit fooled the day we wed; I’ve certainly got nowhere to hide now. She’s seen it all. And you know what? She still loves to go to bed with me. Despite the zillion times I’ve made her cry. Despite all my asinine stupidity and sin. Because I’ve been man enough, by the grace of God, to repent, and repent, and repent (God knows how much I’ve needed to). I’ve had to grow up in ways I didn’t even know about or want to know about; I’ve had to offload a ton of crap, and get down to the business of loving my woman as the greatest gift God ever gave me next to Himself. I’ve had to figure out how to make her feel special, how to make her feel like the treasure she is, how to be interesting and keep her interested, how to keep “I love you” fresh and green. I’ve done it for ten years, and she still thinks I’m the man (don’t ask me why). As for me . . . well, I can’t wait to get in bed with her, still, after ten years. Can’t wait to see what it’s like at twenty-five years, or fifty.
3. I’m educated. I don’t have your $60K diploma, but I spent ten years getting two postgraduate degrees; and far more importantly, I know a lot about how much I don’t know, because I read all the time, and I’ve thought long and hard about a lot of deep stuff. My brain works. It’s not strung out on video games and pornography. It’s part of why my woman still finds me interesting, even though she’ll always have more native intelligence than I.
4. I’m employed. Do let me be clear what this means. I work on principle, not simply as a means to a huge paycheck, and that means I’m employable in any economy. I started working when I was a child, at home, without an allowance. I was working outside the home by age thirteen, making something like $4 or $5 an hour. I’ve spent days in front of copy machines, cleaning bathrooms, mopping floors; and today I’m successful in my calling, not because I was able to sell someone on the completely unfounded idea that I deserve a six-figure income, but because I’ve done my time. My wife gets into bed with me knowing there will never be a time when I will not work my hind parts off to put food on her table. It makes for great love.
5. I’m her pastor. I’m married to a woman who needs to know and love God more than me, and my task every day is to serve her so her relationship with her God flourishes. She knows that my chief concern is how things are between Him and her. And her knowing that I put her first love first is a huge part of what makes our love so sweet.
6. I don’t skip worship. Ever. I’m a worshiping man, and we’re a worshiping family, before all else. First things first. See #5.
7. I treat her like the lady she is. She doesn’t buy the moronic idea that true womanhood is found in being treated like a hockey player. Or any other kind of man. Neither do I. I like to dress her up and take her out and open the door for her, because I like to honor her. And she likes it. It has never crossed her mind that I think she can’t do things for herself; she feels valuable and valued. And contrary to a lot of feminist bull#$%^&*, that’s a good thing.
8. I lead. I initiate. I make decisions. I don’t sit on the couch and wait for her to plan and pull it all off. I don’t expect her to be my mommy (or nanny) till I’m eighty-four. I think about what needs to be done, and I come up with ideas. I see what needs to be done, and I do it. This includes washing dishes. Everything in our life is my problem, not hers. The buck always stops with me. That said . . .
9. I listen. God isn’t my copilot. God is God. My wife is my copilot. And she sees all manner of things I don’t see. She has all kinds of insight I don’t have, and I never make a decision of any magnitude without her input. You and your girlfriend have never made any decisions of any magnitude, you both still live with your parents, so you have no idea what I’m talking about. But believe me when I say that fantasy about being in bed with a fabulously beautiful woman is just that, a fantasy, unless you’re a man who listens. With both ears. And his heart.
10. I ask for forgiveness. A lot. I need Jesus, and she and I both know it. And because she knows I know I need Jesus, she trusts me. She knows I don’t think I’m all that. She also knows I’m man enough to get on my knees and beg her for grace that I know she can only get from Jesus. Which I do, and she does, and this has everything to do with making great love.
One other thing: I have her permission to write this letter. Which also has everything to do with making great love.
My advice to you: Get a job (not the six-figure one you think you’re entitled to). Go buy a stack of great books. Read them all. Never again skip worship. Marry her. Stay out of her bed until you do. Stay married for ten years and more. Shut up and listen. One day we’ll shake hands and shake our heads together in disbelief that such delights exist on earth.