At about fourteen years into our marriage the old Dodge was still around, a six-cylinder motor working on five. We lived as far West as our city goes from Eric’s workplace. The drive straight East into the sun on Route Fifty took him an hour every morning. When he got there his days were filled (like many men) with high pressure and low praise. He came home straight toward the western sun every evening. The sun visor was long gone, so his cap worked as a visor. Ten years he commuted in that old car. The air conditioner never worked. He was hot and sweaty and grumpy when he arrived home at night. Exactly how hot that old station wagon became on a ninety-five degrees day I never knew, but he was in need when he arrived home.
He walked into the house with his fair Swedish skin always more red than normal on those days. For a while I took offense at his “attitude”; wasn’t he glad to see me? But as I grew more unselfish, I grieved for his suffering. I began to understand that I could do something about it. I could make coming home his highlight for the day. I met him with iced tea and a hug and a smile. I began to pour out my complaint to God about that car. We did finally save enough to buy a newer old car; one with air conditioning, electric windows, radio and tape deck.
Compassion will bring pain, because you will feel the pain of your husband (and of those around you). Allow it. The grieving, the brokenhearted, the poor, the sick, those who are afraid or lonely and our husbands’ sometimes silent pain are real. Your husband needs you. You are his other self, the very touch of God to him. Whether he shows it, or even knows it, he needs something beyond himself, someone who makes him the most important person in the world. Will it be you, his wife?
Your compassion grows strong when your heart is warmed by enduring adversity together. It ends up as a gift from God. Years later, as I think back on the hard times, I know that they are key to how I appreciate Eric. He and I are grateful, very grateful that our prayers were answered, and the Lord has brought us to a place of togetherness in our thinking and with deeper love.
If your man will reach high and go far, it will be because you believe in him. Learn to believe in his designated place. Tell him so. Encourage him when he fails. Your house can be the place he looks forward to, because you are there. As the song says, “… it’s her warm loving that keeps me returning again and again.” And as the Bible says, “…the heart of her husband doth safely trust in her…” (Prov.31:11)