Love is not love. Which alters when it alteration finds, Or bends with the remover to remove: O no! it is an ever-fixed mark. That looks on … Love alters not with his brief hours and weeks, But bears it out even to the edge of doom…. Sonnet 116
Love that “bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things” (I Corinthians 13:7) does not come from within. It can only come from God.
Contributing Writer: Karen Provost
A couple of years ago, we celebrated our 25th Anniversary. Andre stood at the front of the church, handsome in his suit and tie. Again, I walked down the aisle, not in a long white gown, but in a lovely, royal blue dress, fit for the occasion. We were renewing our vows to love, honor and cherish each other but this time it was harder.
Andre and I met at a mission’s convention in April and were married in July. We were both thirty-one years old and understood that marriage was 99% commitment and the rest would fall into place. Needless to say, we did not really know each other. Our backgrounds were similar: we were both raised in large Catholic families; both of us had lived in several locations growing up; we both graduated from the same bible college and had a calling to missions.
Soon after we got married, we moved to Thailand to start our missionary life together. We studied language for a year and then I got pregnant. We had our struggles as any newlyweds: finances, communication, boundaries. And we learned. But after several years of marriage, we felt like we needed counseling. We did not seem to be communicating well and I was getting depressed. But we were committed to each other and to the Lord. We lived from one counseling session to the next, Andre oblivious to the problem, but knowing that I was unhappy.
We continued that way for over 20 years, when I went back to school to get a degree in Human Development for my teacher certification. In one of my classes, one of students gave a report on Asperger’s Syndrome. Some of the indicators that she mentioned were that the person felt uncomfortable in a crowd, was focused and knowledgeable on a few topics, was unable to express feelings, was unable to empathize, and had a strong sense of right and wrong (a black or white mentality).
I thought, “That sounds like Andre.”
The diagnosis was confirmed the following summer. Now we had something to work with, a reason for our misunderstandings. Now I did not blame Andre, but I did grieve over the things that I would not have with my husband and the things that I would have to learn to deal with. It is not always easy. In fact, sometimes I find myself singing a song that was popular when I was a teenager. The lyrics go like this:
“I don’t like you, but I love you,
Seems that I’m always thinking of you
You really gotta hold on me.”
It is our Father who has a hold on us. He brought us together for a reason. The things that I saw in Andre before we got married – his love for the Lord, his faithfulness, his tenacity are what I focus on when I get discouraged. With God’s help, we are learning to listen to each other. Andre realizes that he is atypical. He now tells me that I could have married someone better than he. The truth is, through all the ups and downs, the good and the bad, God brought us together and He is working in both of our lives for His glory.
I love the man who cheered me on as I got my teaching certification and my Master’s Degree. And he loves the woman who stands beside him and supports him in his church planting efforts. We have both accomplished more married to each other than we could have otherwise.
A marriage made in heaven? Probably, but God lets us work out the details on earth. We thank the Lord that He promised to be right here with us as we walk this road together.
Karen Provost is a mother of four, she serves as a missionary teacher at an International School in South America and supports her husband in his ministry as a church planter.
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