The other night, my wife and I went out for dinner. It had been a long week, and with 7 young kids at home, we relish the opportunities for quiet conversation and a meal that doesn’t start with sorting through leftovers in the fridge. Beyond the engaging, intimate interaction, dinner also affords us the opportunity to eat foods that we normally forego given that our diet is pretty natural these days. For me, although I only eat desserts or sweets on special occasions and holidays, the celebration of a dinner out with her means I am freed to eat anything—including a big slice of cheesecake.
Speaking of cheesecake, as the dinner was ending, I found myself craving this tasty delight. I initially asked my wife if she would like to share, but she declined the invitation indicating that she gave up sweets for Lent. I persisted, and she said that I should go ahead and get it, which I did. But when it arrived at the table, I realized there had been a miscommunication. She meant I should get it, but that she was going to stick with her Lenten commitment.
Suddenly, I was staring at a big hunk of tasty calories, but I realized that I was alone in devouring it. Admittedly, my first reaction was to bemoan her holding steadfast to the Lenten promise. But, of course I ate it, and although it wasn’t as good as a piece shared, it wasn’t an opportunity to let pass by.
Days later, I found myself reflecting on this moment, and I realized that in her own way, she was sending me a message. The message was simple—I love you lots, but I love Him more. I must admit that at the time of the cheesecake incident, I was feeling a bit annoyed, and somewhat humbled, that she wouldn’t just bend this rule a little bit for me. But I knew that she was just doing what we both keep professing: live for Him first, and the rest will fall in line.
Whether in mundane, trivial situations or in monumental, life-changing ones, it is easy for us to forget that as Christians, we pledge first to be the person that God calls us to be. Although for many of us that includes being a devoted husband or a caring mother, the particular calls and demands of our day don’t always coalesce nicely with the covenant we have with our Creator. It is why Christ warned us that sometimes he is here to bring division; not for division’s sake, but for what is necessary that His will be done.
Which brings me back to that cheesecake and an otherwise forgettable moment. Although there are times I am annoyed by my wife’s ardent faith, it is also one of the qualities that I love about her the most, and it is definitely one that makes me feel secure and at peace in being with her. I know what her alpha and her omega is, and in all uncertainty of life, it gives me great comfort in knowing that she is grounded in something much more stable and enduring than, well, me. Any aggravation that I feel is superseded by the solace of knowing that she is committed to Him first, then me. Even if it means that I get snubbed on a dinner date and had to eat cheesecake alone.