Many years ago I heard someone say that the greatest thing a man can do for his children is to love their mother. I wanted this so intensely in my previous marriage. My spouse did not love me, thus my children did not learn what it means for a man to love a woman. They did not possess the security in knowing that mom and dad love each other and will always be there — through thick and thin. They never witnessed us curled up on the couch together because it never happened, nor did my kids ever see us slow dancing, or smooching in the hallway.
It made me angry back then, and even after I’d escaped him, that my seven hearts had lived in a world devoid of romantic love between their parents. Recently I was still mourning what my kids missed. Sometimes I get too focused on the horrors of what we survived — what he did to us — and what the kids are missing now that he’s in prison and there’s no hope that they can have a real relationship with their father. I get angry, too, for the downright stupid, selfish choices he made and the devastating effect the consequences of those decisions still have on us. I wonder how I can possibly turn it all around before I remember that it isn’t me that can do any of it. I have to keep trusting that God will make it all right — that He has a plan and He knows what is best for all of us.
After my divorce I told God I really had no use for love and marriage, but if it was ever going to happen again, I had a set of criteria that a man would have to meet and surpass before I would even consider it again. My list was ridiculous, unreasonable, and totally unattainable for anyone. Or so I thought. Yeah, I really limit God, don’t I? I give the Creator of the Universe a list and snicker and think I’m off the hook — there isn’t a man like that in the world!
Then in walked Atticus…and I freaked. He was everything on my list and infinitely more. Scary. My kids were hesitant to develop a friendship with him — they really didn’t trust many people. Understandable.
Over the course of our friendship — we’ve been best friends for a while now — there was a romance that happened naturally. We never dated but things happen, you know? We would hug — and slow dance. We’d hold hands. Go for walks. He’d brush the tears away, or push the hair from my eyes and it would touch me deeply…the gentleness of this man — it was completely foreign to me. My kids saw it and began to believe that there are kind and decent men in the world.
Now that we are married, the romance hasn’t faded. In fact, it’s become a slow-burning, deeply stirring, continuous dance. We seek each other out just for a touch, a kiss, a hug, a smile. I will never get enough of this wonderful man and his gentle soul.
Last night after dinner, Atticus played games with the boys while I rested on the couch in the room next to them. Eventually the kids went to bed and my hubster came to sit beside me. His feet felt like ice so I wrapped my feet around his and placed a pillow over them and then we snuggled. Artie stood in the kitchen looking at us with a goofy grin on his face. When I asked him what he was laughing at he said, “You two are just so CUTE!” I laughed and said we weren’t doing anything but sitting there. Artie realizes how deprived of affection both Atticus and I were in our previous marriages and is able to see how much we enjoy being together every moment that we can.
It was then that it hit me. The greatest thing Atticus can do for my children is to love their mother. Thank you, LORD, for helping me see it. It doesn’t matter now whether that love is taught by their father or their step-father. It only matters that they are learning how to love a woman. They are basking in the joy of the love between their parents and discovering the security that love brings to a family. What a wonderful gift — and one I could never have given in my own right. God ordained this family and is giving us all the love we need, then more and more and more.