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Monday, July 2, 2012

So in love…

I will betroth you to me forever;
    I will betroth you in righteousness and justice,
    in love and compassion. 
 I will betroth you in faithfulness,
    and you will acknowledge the Lord.
Hosea  2:19-20 (NIV)

I gleefully announced the location for our 50th wedding anniversary celebration to my beloved yesterday as we were driving past a beautiful park and its boathouse. He didn’t support my choice. No fight ensured, no deposit needed retrieving, the conversation moved pleasantly along.  It’s not an issue. We’ll need to celebrate our 20th anniversary next year was before stressing about how to party in 30 years. We agree. We disagree.  We’re human, and we don’t always get along.  One thing is clear between us, though, we are so in love.

Although these birds earn a bad rep for symbolizing death,
I really applaud their conviction in staying monogamous.
When a vulture is caught dallying with another bird, there will be hell
to pay! Not only will his partner harass him, but the whole
enclave will attack. Philandering is definitely frowned upon among vultures.

When Hosea writes of marriage, it is a metaphor of love between God and His People. We may not always have that kind of love between us, but it is the love to which we aspire. While humans may not have an affinity for long-term marriages and fidelity, much is made about pairs in the animal kingdom that mate for life. According to www.wonderquest.com,
…it depends on what you mean by "mate for life." These creatures [Gibbon apes, wolves, termites, coyotes, barn owls, beavers, bald eagles,
golden eagles, condors, swans, brolga cranes, French angel fish, sandhill cranes, pigeons, prions (a seabird), red-tailed hawks, anglerfish, ospreys, prairie voles (a rodent), and black vultures] do mate for life in the social sense of living together in pairs but theu rarely stay strictly faithful. About 90 persent of the9,700 bird species pair mate, and raise chicks together--some returning together to the same nest site year after year. Males, however, often raise other males' offspring unknowingly. DNA testing reveals that the social pair maile did not father 10, 20,and sometimes 40 percent of the chicks.
Black vultures, though, discourage infidelity. All nearby vultures attack any vulture caught philandering.

My beloved and I are going out like a pair of black vultures. We have the benefit of having been raised in a marriage culture.  Long, successful marriages are the standard within our families, and we acknowledge this blessing. Studies suggest that couples are 40% more likely to divorce if their parents did, according to Nicholas Wolfinger in a study entitled, “Understanding the Divorce Cycle” published by the Cambridge University Press in 2005.  The odds are in our favor. Fortunately, we don’t need the odds. We’ve got God.

I’m not even sure why this subject occurred to me as something to write about this morning. This weekend my husband and I were both a little prickly, but that’s life. I appreciate him. I’m learning to get over myself, and to hear things he says not as indictments on my character, but as feedback. I’m also trying to say what I mean (why is that so hard for women?) rather than not being clear, expecting him to read my mind, and beating him up when for any one of a number of reasons he doesn’t get it right. (Stay tuned)

We are so in love, but we work at our marriage, treasuring it, keeping it safe, protecting it, nurturing one another. It’s work, but in our case, and we acknowledge the blessing, it’s a labor of love.

So, my beloved and I are going out like a pair of black vultures. I don’t know if our village (read “all nearby vultures) would necessary attack, but I think I’d like to think so. It means our union matters, and that is reason to be proud. Our union matters, and it is strong. I am so in love (him too). More than enough reasons today to remember that God is good. 

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