My Wife and I Never, Ever Fight. I’m Too Close to God For Anything That Pedestrian.

My Wife and I Never, Ever Fight. I’m Too Close to God For Anything That Pedestrian. September 8, 2009
my interior
This is what it feels like to be me. All the time. I swear.

A few people wrote to ask if a big fight between my wife Cat and me is what caused me to pen True Love: The Cruise Ship That Can’t Stay Afloat.

I totally appreciate any concern ever shown me by any of my readers—it’s just the sweetest thing—but can you imagine? First you publish a major love paean to your spouse (um, in this case being You Want Me To Emote About My Wife? Fine! Here It Is!), and then you get into a fight with said spouse, and so then you write a post about how love is like a rotting ship that can only rust and sink?

Wait. I could actually see myself doing that.

God, that’s awful.

I should really quit blogging right now.

Anyway, that’s not what happened in this case. You know why I wrote the “Love Stinks” follow-up to my post about how happily married I am? Because I know a lot of people aren’t happily married, and I didn’t want to leave those people out. I hate it when people—and especially people who are in any public or (shudder) professional way Christian—act like their lives are perfect, like they exist on a plane of spiritual and emotional fulfillment that regular people can look up to, but aren’t quite privileged or disciplined enough to reach. That’s [bad two-syllable word], every time. Everyone has an entire half of them that’s a full-on crazed werewolf. Every pastor, priest, spiritual “leader,” cultural avatar, celebrity, talk show host, book author  …  everyone. No one is wise and together and insightful and divinely inspired; no one gets to eradicate the half of them that’s evil. Oprah is a snarky ego-maniac who believes her gas smells like perfume. Angelina Jolie is an emotionally retarded attention-junkie. The Dalai Lama can’t spell Dalai Lama.

Everyone is exactly half-fixed, and half-broken—period; that’s it; no other formula exists for being human. Some people just have better P.R., or are better liars—or, quite often, simply dare to delude themselves into believing that others are too dense to see them for how they really are.

Whatever. I have no interest in the facade people are forever constructing around themselves. I’m interested in how people really are. And then I’m interested in how they manage to do what is easily the most difficult, noble, and valuable thing any human can do, which is to fully love and be loved by another human being.

To love and be loved is our honor and challenge. So I thought the least I could do was acknowledge the “challenge” part of that truth, and maybe talk about it a bit.

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  • Latoya

    Thats a pretty picture!

  • Skerrib: Awesome comment (as always). Thanks.

    LaToya: So? Did you listen to the rest of the drunk guy?

  • Oh that drives me nuts. “No, I’m the best ever, and if you loved Jesus more you could be like me,” or “I used to struggle with such and such, but I’m fixed now, so let me tell you how you could be like me if you loved Jesus more.” Oh! Probably my least favorite–“I don’t know, I guess I’m just lucky to be awesomely issue-less. Must be ‘cuz I love Jesus so much.” Pshaw.

    On a MUCH less cynical note–I would say I’m happily married…and I still want to kick my husband in the shins about 37% of the time. I’m a big fan of the counseling. Doesn’t take away the conflicts, but makes them more bearable to work thru. Except when it would be easier to sweep them under the rug but the healthy thing is to bring them up; then it’s harder. But in those cases it usually ends with my NOT spewing emotional vomit all over the place, which is better. Anyway.

  • Greta Sheppard

    .John….60 years for us this fall . . . a Magnet stuck on our fridge with this message reminds us of a few things: LIVING WITH OTHERS IS JUST AS HARD FOR THE OTHERS!

  • dudethatscrazy

    I've found that my readers like the purely honest posts. I tend not to get so much response when I write the every-thing-in-my-life-is-beautiful posts. It makes us look more human and they can relate to that.

  • Latoya

    JOhn, I listened, but i said all i wanted to say thank you very much!

  • Greta: Congratulations! I'm hoping just to LIVE to sixty!

    Dude: That's interesting, because I've found that my readers prefer it when I lecture and belittle them. So … that's weird.

    Latoya: Gosh, that's too bad that you having to go to The Big Below after you die for lying about something you and I both know you found hilarious.

  • You mean … your lives aren't perfect like mine?

    Seriously … one of the things that made my life INFINITELY more bearable once I really got connected to my church was knowing how much everyone else's life sometimes sucked.

    People I looked up to and admired were, it turned out … human beings! A pastor who used to smoke dope, another who was wrestling with anger and had almost hit his son earlier in the week, lots of financial problems all around. It's not life as taught by the preachers on TV, but it's real … you gotta love that!

  • This is one of the reasons that I enjoy Adrian Plass’ writing so much. As he said in one piece, describing how prominent Christians often struggle with pride:

    God seems to have taken me by the scruff of the neck and said, “Plass, your role in life is to be a sort of public idiot for me,” so that’s not so likely to become an issue in my case!

    There’s a raw honesty in a lot of his work which is both rare and beautiful.