I write this because I, although possessing an oddly good memory for random facts and birth dates, seem to suffer from amnesia of a more severe form – forgetting all the good in times of bad. And sometimes even in times of good. Being sinful, I also have a big problem with envy. I subscribe to a lot of sites like TGC, DG and so on. While I’m constantly being fed by solid Biblical content, sin is such that it turns even the good bad, because when I see how the pastors / writers talk about theology, about their families, their wives, their churches… there’s a tendency to compare, and to be upset with what I have. And while ‘holy discontent’ is good, and hoping to improve is definitely good, not so when I project my expectations unfairly on the people around me. So this post is to remind myself why I am very, very thankful for you (:
#1. You love God more than you love me.
C. S. Lewis says, and I cannot help but concur, and pray that we both will never love anything (including each other) more than God –
When I have learnt to love God better than my earthly dearest, I shall love my earthly dearest better than I do now. Insofar as I learn to love my earthly dearest at the expense of God and instead of God, I shall be moving towards the state in which I shall not love my earthly dearest at all. When first things are put first, second things are not suppressed but increased.
#2. You work joyfully.
I don’t know how you do it; working long, terrible hours (I think by the end of this week it’d be 13 days straight) for low pay. But I love that you do it, for our future; I love even more that you do it with joy, because you do it for God’s glory. Thank you (:
#3. You probe when I sulk.
It’s strange how I can be 22 years old and still so incredibly petty, getting upset over small things, putting on moods, then expecting you to magically read my mind to know why I’m angry and fix it somehow (yes, all those 9gag memes aren’t too far off the mark). And I love that you ask me what’s wrong, you keep digging to find out, and when I continue being childish, you logically, patiently tell me why you can’t read my mind, and keep probing to find out why I’m PMS-ing (although it’s not PMS).
#4. You’ve always thought ahead, for the future.
Recently we talked about how to respond if one of my BS kids started dating a non-Christian. I love that you were so angry about it, how indignant that everything has a purpose, and really, dating’s purpose is either sex or marriage, and in the case of Christians, it’s only marriage. It made me smile so deeply inside because even before we got together, when we were really quite immature, at 18 years old, I remember you talking about marriage and how when you think about us officially getting together, and whether we should, it’s because you’re deliberating if you can see us being married in the future (I still have the email). (:
#5. You like 板面 too. And you don’t give me weird looks for adding 50 cents’ worth of vegetables.
This is very important to me, hahaha :D
#6. Because we learnt how to sacrifice and make time from the start.
Sometimes I think we got it ‘easy’ because we attend the same church and live 10 minutes away from each other. But most of the time when I see couples in school studying together, or walking and holding hands, I feel a slight sense of – I don’t know what – because we have never been and will never be in the same schools. Our timetables have been painfully clashing since we knew each other: Poly/JC meant my exam-times were your holidays, and vice versa. During my 7-month break you went on your work-like-a-dog internship. When I was in university, you went to army, and you were stay-in, with frequent duty on weekends. Now you’re working, with your weekends packed. And yet I’m also thankful for it, because this means our time for each other isn’t ‘granted’, that we can’t study together during exam periods and go travelling the world during holiday, and that we actually had to learn to make time for each other. I think I’ve learnt a lot from that.
#7. You make me want to be more godly.
This really comes from #1, and your gentle admonishment when I do things like complain and whine, or hold bitterness against other people, or (especially when I) spend money frivolously. There’s really no greater comfort than knowing that someone loves me in spite of all my flaws, yet loves me even more by encouraging me to be better, to be more glorifying to God and pleasing to the people around me. God’s love is great not because it is tolerant – it certainly isn’t, if God was so intolerant of sin that He would rather send His Son to die than ‘tolerate’ it – but because it is redemptive, and you model that (:
#8. When I read 1 Cor 13:4-7, apart from Jesus, and my parents, I think of you.
I read it and I’m amazed because you’ve always been patient dealing with all my idiosyncrasies and pigheadedness, kind because you’re better to me than I deserve, never envying nor boasting, not arrogant nor rude. You’ve never insisted on your own way but you’ve always listened (although you usually end up right, anyway), and you’re never irritable or resentful. I’ve never ever heard you bring up something horrible I did before, even though goodness knows there’s plenty of those to find if you ever want to. Love does not rejoice at wrongdoing (see #7), but rejoices with the truth (see #1). And last but not least, you bear all things, believe all things, hope all things and endure all things.
#9. We don’t really have dates.
I always say ‘We’re the most boring couple ever,’ because when we spend time with each other, it usually is at each other’s houses, watching Youtube videos or doing our own things together, and we hardly ever go out. And there’s an odd kind of reassurance in that, just being together and not needing something fun or new or pricey or exciting or ambience-y to feel like we’re a couple. And knowing that in my tatty JC orientation t-shirt and FBTs and glasses and hair-in-a-bun and all my hair pushed off my face with a hairband that makes my face completely round – I’m more comfortable than ever.
#10. You speak better Cantonese than I do.
Because this means that my Malaysian relatives probably like you better than they like me. Sigh (a good sigh). It also means you laugh at my painful attempts to speak Cantonese, but I forgive you. HAHA.
#11. You listen to me rambling, even when you don’t understand.
When I have school things to talk about and nobody would understand unless he/she’s also studying accounting or engineering, and yet I keep talking on and on about it, you listen. And not cut me off. I don’t think I treat you with even vaguely the same courtesy when you try to explain your camera and light stuff (or in the past, army stuff) … I’m trying! Really!
#12. You know every line to Friends.
Every time we can’t think of better things to do and just want to watch something brainless, we watch Friends. And you pretty much know every line. And that’s very impressive, even though it’s also annoying. But only because I can’t beat you at it.
#13. Even though you read slowly, you read the things I ask you to read.
I know it isn’t the easiest thing for you to read and I keep giving you new books… thank you for just taking the effort to read them. Even when they have blatantly obvious *heavyhint* titles like ‘Date Your Wife’.
#14. Although I read more than you, you’re way more obedient than me.
Thank you for being a spiritual leader. I may teach my kids in church and have more inclination and opportunity to read Christian books and articles, and may be able to spout more theology than you (on Facebook, anyway), but you are way, way more obedient to the Word that I am. How you treat your family, how you take your job, your responsibilities, the way you use money, all the resolutions you make and keep, the efforts you make to share the gospel with non-believers – your love for God shows in how you act, in the visible aspects of your life.
#15. You make me want to be the wife of Ephesians 5 and Proverbs 31.
I’m always very amused when people say, What? The Bible says a wife must submit to her husband? And they look at me with my good-ish grades / double degree and don’t believe that I’ll actually do it. Or that if I do it, that it’s my heart’s desire. Yet in Ephesians 5, Paul spends a lot more ink talking about husbands than wives, and if one spends time reading about the husband who is to love like Christ loves (and let’s see, Christ gave His life for the church, yaknow), who is to love his wife as he loves himself, because they are one flesh. Why would anyone have an issue with submitting to a husband like that? Thank you for making me want to be that kind of wife, so that one day, you too will say, ‘An excellent wife who can find? She is far more precious than jewels. The heart of her husband trusts in her, and he will have no lack of gain. She does him good, and not harm, all the days of her life.’ (Prov 31:10-12).
#16. When I ask you how I look, you say ‘pretty’ without looking. And when you look, you say ‘pretty’ without me asking.
‘Nuff said. I think I sound shallow enough. But thank you for indulging (:
#17. You don’t care about big gestures.
The world is about big gestures. 1 year anniversary must do this, proposal must do that, birthday must spend $XX … I love that you couldn’t care less about these things. That good foundations for a skyscraper are built one brick at a time, that it’s the small daily unseen things that have the greatest significance, that God said the Christian life is akin to being a soldier, a farmer, and an athlete – the marathon, not the sprint, and surely relationships are like that too. That the mark of a good man is not that he buys me roses once a year, but that day after day (even the 20th day in a row), he gets out of bed after not enough sleep, to go do his incredibly draining and tiring work, with perseverance and joy. And that many of those ‘day-after-day’s, despite reaching home at 8+, he meets me – even if it’s just for half an hour before he falls asleep on his feet – and walks me home after that.
#18. How you interact with my family.
Like when we have prior plans, and my mum gets a notion to play Mahjong, and you happily oblige. Or when she needed help taking away the background from her staff’s photos to make employee ID passes, and you did it for her. Or after dinner on a weekend, choosing to sit with the family in the living room, even if the TV is still broadcasting 愛, rather than hang in my room on our own. Like how you came to Kuantan in June and appreciated everything, ate everything my extended family force-fed you, laughed at all the teasing you were subjected to.
#19. How you ask me to interact with your family.
That you always ask me along for family dinners and events and extended-family events, and say that nothing is weird and it’s weirder for me to feel weird and not be there. That when I go, you’re always beside me so I don’t feel awkward and alone.
#20. Everytime I say, ‘I can’t cook’, you say, ‘It’s okay, we’ll learn together next time.’
Every time. And it makes me want to hug you and be the best cook in the world so you can come home and always smell cookies and aglio olio in the air. Most likely they’ll be burnt though.
#21. You once wanted to bring your vacuum cleaner into camp.
Everyone complains non-stop about army. Yes, it’s inefficient. Yes, it’s two years of your life gone. Yes, there’s a lot of rules and red tape and the people above you aren’t always wise. Yes, it sucks. But let’s face it, as long as you view your time as yours alone, serving even one day is too much. But I love that one Sunday, you told me you wanted to bring your vacuum cleaner into camp, because you wanted to clean up the medical centre. I love that although you acknowledge the many problems in the army, and your frustrations, you still find ways to serve the people around you more than you’re required to. You’re amazing (:
#22. You know that committing means grit and blood and sweat and tears, and you’re still here.