Whenever I go to the Starbucks by the Wax Museum, I often see this one couple. I’m not sure whether they’re married or not, but they’re a unique couple. The reason why they’re unique is because the girlfriend/wife is deaf/mute. Whenever I see them, they’re both talking in sign language, happy as can be. Indeed, judging by the smiles on their faces, it’s a joy, rather than a burden, to be working through the hands they have been dealt, hand-in-hand (wordplay absolutely intended).
What stands out to me is that (I’m assuming) she had this disability long before they started their relationship. Not being able to talk, I’m guessing she often had to let her actions speak louder than her words. Unsurprisingly, I’m sure her actions were what attracted her boyfriend/husband to her in the first place. In light of that, I’m sure learning how to speak in sign language was not a chore, but a joy for him. In any case, I’m sure you can imagine the thousands of adorable, touching and humbling ways their love has been expressed within their unique arrangement.
…The thing is, how I imagine he cares for her SHOULD be the norm. If you think about it, it’s a no-brainer (not taking lightly at all the supernatural strength, patience, compassion, etc. that’s necessary in such circumstances) to muster up compassionate, loving sacrifice when such disability is visible and permanent. What is interesting is that we often romanticize such examples, make a narrative out of them, and then coolly dismiss them as we finish suspending our realistic expectations in order to entertain this one, exceptional story.
Well, I’ve got news for all of us – we ALL have deficiencies that are daily visible and crippling us, and it’s called SIN (Romans 3:23). Unlike the condition of the above-mentioned woman, however, our condition of sin is far from the exception – it’s the debilitating, crushing norm. However, by the unmerited, gracious, saving work of Jesus Christ, we are raised to glory rather than left to drown in our trespasses. Therefore, following Christ’s example, we are to love one another as He first loved us. This should overflow into and transform our relationships with family, friends, and ultimately/eventually, our spouses.
As I began this post with an example of romance and relationships, I figure it’s just as well that I end on that note. When I think about how I want to lead my wife (and eventually kids), I think Douglas Wilson took the words right out of my mouth when he said “masculinity is the glad assumption of responsibility”. I hope that in my marriage, my approach to my wife’s sins and imperfections is similar to that of the above-mentioned man to his beloved’s disability. He will never heal her condition, but that hasn’t stopped him from lovingly working with her to make the best of a flawed situation. Similarly, I may not be able to “heal” my wife’s sins (only God has that power, and He’s already “healed” us by covering our sins with Christ’s atoning blood), but I can work with her as a loving ally, friend and lover as we make the best of a flawed situation for the glory of God.