In the next weeks and months you will begin to see changes here at Men Who Believe. Part of those changes will come in the form of the occasional guest writer. From the beginning it was never my intention to share only my voice. The goal has always been to bring together multiple voices from a variety of men who believe. This is an exciting season and I hope you will continue to walk with us along the way!
Today I want to introduce you to Brant Hansen (www.branthansen.com). He is a writer, radio host, dad and father. My good friend Lisa Williams (who has launched a great show at www.lifewithlisawilliams.com) interviewed him today about his latest post entitled, “She Never Crushed Me”. It is both a celebration of his 25 year marriage to his wife Carolyn and a reflection on the incredible high stakes of being “welded” to another person.
Here in its entirety is “She Never Crushed Me”, by Brant Hansen.
So there we are, then and now. And yes, we were blurry. Those were blurry times. Everything was blurry in 1990. It was before we all switched to our HD selves in the 2000’s.
Marriage is hard. And if you’re paying attention, there’s a tip-off right at the start to let you know it’s going to be a challenge: They have you take solemn vows, in front of a crowd of witnesses, when you swear that you’re not just going to up and quit.
No matter what. Rich, poor, sick, healthy – whatever. “I promise not to quit this thing I’m starting.”
ProTip: Anything that starts like that? – yeah, it’s going to be hard.
Timothy Keller writes that marriage is like putting two rocks in a bag, and shaking the bag. The rocks will knock into each other, and smooth each other out. There’s something to that metaphor. We’re not the same people we were 25 years ago. Not only are we less blurry, our character has changed.
I could write for days about this, but I’ll limit myself, in this blog, to just one thing I’m thankful for:
She never crushed me.
To be married is to be vulnerable. Carolyn knows me like no other person has ever, or will ever, know me. She found a quirky boy with some social issues, who’d never really had a girlfriend before, who wasn’t particularly sought after by other women, who certainly wasn’t well-off, and has never, ever been particularly confident.
And for 25 years, she’s told him he’s the most handsome man she knows, the smartest she’s ever met, the sweetest, the best father, the best provider… all that stuff. She’s never stopped encouraging me.
She could have crushed me. She never did. She just built me up.
I saw a study that showed men commonly struggle with believing that they are, at some level, frauds, and that they’ll be exposed for what they really are. I’m particularly given to this, I think. I don’t want to be fake, and my wife knows it. I never want to say anything on the radio, or write anything on this blog that Carolyn would not recognize as genuine.
We’ve argued hundreds (thousands?) of times, and she’s never gone for the jugular. She’s never called me a hypocrite. She’s never said I’m not respectable.
There are numerous ways I’m a failure as a man. I won’t go into them. But I can’t fix things, for instance. I don’t know much about cars. The last time I got on a motorcycle, I ran into a parked truck. I don’t hunt or fish and bring home meat and stuff. I know this seems silly, maybe, but she could easily make a slight comment about these things, and it would hurt. I might not act like it would, but it would.
She knows me best. To be married is to be vulnerable. She has only built me up. She could have crushed me.
God owns my very being, but He uses human hands to form it. To the extent that I am any blessing to anyone in public – any at all – it’s because of Carolyn. She’s made me think I have things worth saying. Whether I’m really all that she says she is doesn’t even matter. I believe she believes it.
You put two rocks in a bag, and you shake it for 25 years, and the rocks are different. They shape each other.
Jesus uses the term for “welded” when talking about man and woman in marriage. I just looked up “welding” on wikipedia, and the oldest kind is pretty simple: An outside energy is applied to two metals, they’re hammered together (ouch), and the result is stronger than the individual metals, themselves.
I’m stronger with her.
She could’ve crushed me.
She never did.
Being shaped by another person is often painful and intense. But the results can be profound and beautiful.