No, I’m not really suggesting that my wife is a god. That heresy is even beyond me. I suggest that it is in deep love that we glimpse the nature of the divine.
This is our double-trinity anniversary. My beloved, my imzadi, my soulmate and I were married thirty-three years ago today. In our three decades + three years the following are ways in which I’ve glimpsed the one I call God in our relationship.
Presence. Since the day we committed ourselves together Maggie has been present. When not able to be physically together she is within me. Even during my seminary years when we were separated by 350 miles and weeks, she would text me about little things in her day, seek my empathy, to check on something with which she knew I struggled, or to rejoice in my successes!
Unconditional love. Maggie’s love for me is unconditional. Even when I don’t deserve it, she offers me grace. Though, sometimes she must cool down, her love for me never wavers. The slammed car door as I drop her off unsettles me but not to my core. This is because I feel the depth of her love even when she’s angry with me.
Sustaining love. In the 70s, Harry Nilsson sang “I can’t live if living is without you.” The love that Maggie and I share sustains us. Her love transforms me. I am not the person I would be without her. I could more readily give up food than the love of my beloved.
Reciprocal love. She needs me as much as I need her. I don’t know why; it makes no sense to me. In the giving to her, I find a boundless supply of love. There’s nothing I wouldn’t do for her. I know that the same is true of her love for me.
Knows me & sees me. Maggie’s love, like that of God, is inexplicable. She loves me not despite my faults and annoying habits but through them and, because of them. What is more inexplicable than that?
Calls me out. Because Maggie knows me at the soul-level, she also knows when I’m taking the easy path. She sees when I’ve been sleeping, she knows if I’m awake, and knows if I’ve been bad or good. She’s also not afraid to make it crystal clear that I need to be the person I’m capable of being.
Takes my side, protects me. When the world hands me lemons, Maggie makes the lemonade for me. I know that no matter how bad a day I’ve had she will take my side. She will wrap me in her arms and hold her fist to the world at the same time.
Never gives up on me. Ask our kids. We’ve been known to have some metaphorical “knock down, drag outs” in our time as a married couple. Throughout it all, Maggie doesn’t give up on me. She can sometimes get pissed — beyond pissed — but we always reconcile our differences and do the work necessary to heal our conflict.
So, though my imzadi is not God, it is within our relationship, within the nature of her love for me, that I so often glimpse the extravagant love of the One.