We’ve been outsiders from the start. I was an outsider to the Presbyterian and Reformed world when we met, and that hasn’t changed a bit. You were raised in the CRC, but the more…conservative end of the P&R spectrum was just as new to you as it was to me.
Neither of us knew what we were getting into when we moved here to start seminary; knowing what I know now, there are a lot of things I would have done differently. I wouldn’t have started seminary two weeks after we got married, that’s for sure. It would have been better to be married for a year or so first, and then make the move, but hindsight is 20/20, I suppose.
I also confess that I didn’t know that the “glass house phenomenon” would start while we were still in school. I understood that we were going to be under constant scrutiny once we received a call, but I had no idea that we would be under constant scrutiny from our first day on campus. I wish it weren’t that way, but it’s also entirely out of my control.
I hate that you feel constantly judged; judged by our fellow church members, judged by your co-workers, and, worst of all, judged by the other seminary student’s wives.
On the Lord’s Day, you tell me you feel like every eye in the church is on you because you dare, horror of horrors, to wear that heathen devil fabric, denim, into the sanctuary.
Everyday when you walk into your office, the other girls you work with hardly speak to you. It’s because they know your husband’s in seminary. They treat you like a pariah, like you have some sort of horrible contagious disease that might infect them if they dare to open their mouths. For over two years, when they leave every Thursday for their group lunch, they’ve never once invited you to come along, and you’re far too polite to simply invite yourself.
And then there are the other wives of my fellow students. Their feigned piety leaves you enraged. The overheard conversation about how you and I were “sinfully using birth control” since we’ve been married four years and haven’t had any kids yet. Because, obviously, it couldn’t be that we were having trouble conceiving. Since they have the ability to infallibly know the state of our marriage, they are certain that you’ve been popping birth control pills like Pez, and certainly haven’t spent two to three nights a week crying yourself to sleep because you want a baby so badly that it pains you, and yet God, for reasons of His own, hasn’t ordained that yet…despite all of our attempts to get pregnant. Nope…we’re just hell-bound sinners. And let’s not forget that you can’t play the piano…because that’s the real measure of your worth and sanctification—being a piano player.
One thing I did know when we got married was just how different you and I were; you’re nothing like me. I couldn’t give a flying damn what the other students think of me. You genuinely care whether or not people like you. It keeps you awake at night when you think somebody doesn’t like you, no matter the reason. I haven’t lost a minute’s sleep over that yet.
So let me tell you two things, baby; one that you don’t want to hear, and another that you need to hear.
This isn’t going to be different for us when seminary’s over. I’m always going to be the guy that didn’t exit the womb reciting the Westminster Shorter Catechism. I’m never going to be one of the “pretty preacher boys.” These judgmental church girls are never going to get over the fact that you have a job outside the home. Their husbands are always going to be spitting blood because I’m fine with that.
I know that you don’t won’t to hear that, but I’ve always done by best to tell you the unvarnished truth.
From now until the day they bury you, I will always be the one man in the room that’s willing to brawl for you. There will never come a moment when I’m not on your team, ready to dress some prissy little Presbyterian chick (or her pseudo-macho husband) down for running off at the mouth. I will always fight for you.
Because you’ve fought for me.
I felt alone my whole life…until I married you.
You’re always on my team. You’re always my biggest cheerleader.
And until the day I die, you have my word—now and as part of my wedding vows—that you’re never alone.
I’ll always be on your team.
I love you more than I can possibly express,