I have been married to Lauren now for 2 and half months. Marrying her was the best decision (apart from Christ) that I have ever made. She is joyful, supportive, discerning, beautiful and exactly who I was made to marry. She is not, however, very good at waking up in the mornings.
Lauren is finishing up her student teaching at UT and has to be at the elementary school at 7:30 every morning. This means we get up at 6 am. I don’t need much sleep and I’m a pretty light sleeper, so most days I wake up right away. Lauren on the other hand, does not, which means I get to come up with different creative ways to get her out of bed in the morning.
At the beginning we just had an alarm clock on my phone or hers. Once that stopped working we added an ipod alarm going off ten minutes before a regular alarm went off. This seemed to work well since it was a smoother transition. But eventually, even that wasn’t enough. Next I would get out of bed, turn the fan off, the air up (while both alarms are going off) and hold her as I gently told her it’s time to wake up. One morning, I walked out of the bedroom and came back in clapping. This did get her out of bed, but she wasn’t happy.
It seems sometimes no matter what I do, Lauren just doesn’t want to get out bed. Some mornings she’ll bargain with me by telling me she doesn’t need to wash her hair. Some mornings she will cuddle up close to me and try to get me to fall back asleep. And some mornings, when she knows I am determined to get her out of bed (not because I’m cruel, but because I know that she doesn’t want to be late for school), she will just pretend like I’m not there and try to stonewall me away.
I’m realizing that waking my wife up in the morning and the amount of time and strategy that I have to put into it is one of my favorite parts of the morning. Even though Lauren can be very stubborn about getting out of bed, I delight in her stubborness and I deeply enjoy the process of coaxing her out of sleep into the day.
Besides just being one of the many unexpected joys of marriage, this got me thinking about how God treats me. I tend to fall asleep a lot spiritually. Sometimes I think God let’s me. I think I need a spiritual rest sometimes and God will give me peace and blessings and happiness to refresh me. But once that period of rest is over, God knows its time to wake me back up for the labor of leading a spiritual life. I admit, as a spiritual sleeper, I am very difficult to wake up. I will bargain with God, I will get religious and try to convince him that being asleep is the best place to be, or sometimes I will just ignore him and hope He goes away.
I remember I used to get so frustrated with myself and think that God just got annoyed with how difficult I could be sometimes. There have been so many times in my life when I have put off listening to God because I was too comfortable spiritually to wake up. I always felt God would just get annoyed by that and eventually stop trying.
My wife though, and the delight I get in her morning stubborness, has proven that notion a lie. As I hear the alarm go off for the fifth time in the morning and watch my third wake up tactic fail, I realise I will never get sick of doing this. I will never get sick of the time it takes and the obstacles I have to maneuver around to wake Lauren up. And its because I love her. When you love somebody, truly love somebody, even the stubborn and difficult things they do can make you smile.
This revelation is very encouraging to me. God loves me. And because He loves me, He can delight in me even when I am being difficult.
So I look forward to the mornings to come and all the ways that I will try to wake my wife up, because I know I will never tire of them. And I know that I can look forward to all the times God tries and tries to wake me up. Because when I finally roll out of bed, wipe the sleep from my eyes, and brush my teeth, I will look up at a smiling God, not a frustrated one.