Not long ago, there was a man by the name of Joseph and he fell in love with a woman by the name of Tess. Their courtship was wonderful and it seemed like they were meant to be together. They wanted to get married as quickly as possible. The two of them just couldn’t wait to have each other as a part of their lives. The wedding was simple, yet profound and wonderful. All of the families, friends, and everyone that was closest to the couple was there. You could look at both of them and see that they were in truly in love.
As the wedding drew to a close, the groom came to his bride and said, “ wasn’t it wonderful? I am so happy that we are going to have the rest of our lives to get to know each other and to fall more in love.”
“Yes, the wedding was great. How did I look in my dress? Wasn’t it beautiful?” she said.
“Yes, you looked wonderful,” replied Joseph. “Here, I have something for you.”
“Oh, a gift!” exclaimed Tess.
“Yes, and every day, I promise to not only love and protect you but to give you a gift as well.”
“Such a wonderful and loving husband you are Joseph”, replied Tess.
They left the church and headed to their new home. The start of a new life together had begun wonderfully. Both were happy and both hoped for the best.
The first few years were bliss. They seemed inseparable and every time you saw Tess, all you heard was “Joseph this and Joseph that”. The same could be said of Joseph. He bragged about Tess to everyone he knew. His co-workers fell in love with her instantly and Joseph’s side of the family was elated to see her as a new sister. They would walk together, spend time together, talk and love each other for what seemed like an eternity inside an instant. Throughout those first years together, Joseph kept his promise to love and protect her and he gave her a new gift every day.
After a while, Tess’s love seemed to cool. Although Tess talked about Joseph in the same fashion to her family and friends, she didn’t spend as much time with him as she once did. Joseph began to notice this and asked her if anything was wrong.
“No, everything is just fine,” Tess replied as she was hastily getting ready for work.
“I just remember when we used to spend more time together. I really miss that.” Joseph quietly replied.
“Joseph, Joseph…I still love you, you’re the center of my universe sweety, but I’ve got to get to work.”
“Ok, how about a kiss goodbye?” Joseph asked.
“No time sweety gotta go.” she hastily replied.
As she scrambled for her keys and grabbed her purse, Joseph quickly said: “wait…your gift…you always like to get this in the morning.”
“Oh,..um,…no time honey…I’ll open it later.”
“Ok, can’t wait to see you again beloved.”
Joseph was saddened by this. He remembered how the relationship was in the beginning. He remembered the smile she had on her face, the words of affection, the quiet and intimate times between him and his bride. Joseph remembered those times and was saddened by how things were now.
It had been 5 years into the marriage and things were not going well. The coals that once ignited the fire of their romance were growing cold. Every day, Joseph presented Tess with his gift, but each day saw a little less gratitude for what he had given her. In the beginning, she was surprised, excited and extremely grateful for each small blessing that Joseph gave her. As the days went on, her affections towards his gifts started to match her affections towards the marriage; happy in the beginning, then lukewarm and then the time came when she expected “better gifts” as well as more of them.
Joseph also found out through his friends something that he never thought would happen,.Tess began to speak poorly about him behind his back.
It started off small. Co-workers would give small jabs at him and his wife would chuckle at first, but then she joined right in. Over the years, this started to escalate to the point that she would not only talk bad about him but used him as an example of “what not to do”. The advice Joseph would give to his wife when she asked for it would be used as a joke to her closest friends and family. It got to the point that Tess would choose her company and activities that were contrary to what her husband desired.
Joseph was very distraught and one night, he decided to have a conversation with his beloved bride.
“Tess, if you have a minute, I’d like to have a word please.”
“Well, I can’t right now, I’ve got some errands to run and work to do after. How about later on this week, I promise,” she replied.
“Honey, I think we need to talk now. I’ve heard some things about how you talk about me to your friends and I just want to know why. What have I done to deserve this?”
“Nothing Joseph, I’m not saying anything bad about you to my friends at all. By the way, I really don’t like your tone and your implications.”
“Honey, I love you and I”m concerned. I’ve heard from very reliable sources that you regularly make fun of me at work and around your friends. You’ve made me into a joke and that really hurts me. Don’t you know that I love you and care about you deeply? You are my beloved bride,..that’s the way I still think about you. Why would you say those things?”
Tess was getting flustered. Her instinct was to get out of the room, to find her comfort zone away from her husband, but she stood her ground.
“Listen, I really don’t like being grilled like this! You are always telling me what to do, judging me, my friends and you’re always saying that we don’t spend quality time together and all that. I mean COME ON JOSEPH…THIS IS LIFE AND I WON’T BE TALKED TO LIKE A LITTLE KID, CORRECTED, CHASTISED AND JUDGED!!!”
“Honey, you ask me for my advice and I give it. I tell you these things because I love you and I want what’s best for your life. I know that what you’re doing right now seems right to you, that it’s moving you in a good direction, but it’s not. Tess, I know what you’re feeling because I’ve felt this too, but the things you are doing will lead you to a bad place that I don’t want you to be. I love you, Tess, please don’t do this to yourself, to me, to us. You are hurting me.”
Tess’s face went red, the beads of sweat began to surface on her skin. Joseph loved Tess with the same fire that he loved her in the beginning. He still remembered the beautiful woman that he knew from the beginning of time, even before she knew him. Sadly, that face he dreamed about every night turned into something that he hadn’t seen before but knew all too well. The next words were quite predictable.
“Joseph, I think we need to take a break from each other. My feelings towards you have changed and I know you hate me for it. I need to do my own thing for a while, to follow what I want. All during this supposed marriage, it’s been your way all the time,..do this,…don’t do that, and I’m SICK OF IT!”
Joseph was stunned. He had never been hurt like this before. Quick flashes of their wedding ran through his head, his beautiful bride saying “I love you and I want to spend my life with you” kept going through his mind and his heart. He thought of all the problems that they tacked together and every one of them had been beaten,..every single one. He couldn’t understand why Tess was unwilling to tackle the problem that was facing them right now. Wasn’t this marriage important enough that she would want to keep it alive, to repair and restore it to its former glory? Joseph was feeling a sadness unlike he had ever felt before. He had been rejected by his love, his bride.
“Ok,..I’ll go” tears streaming down his face. “Tess, please, let’s get back to where we were.”
“No, I’m done. I just need to follow my heart.” Tess replied.
“I’ll always love you Tess” were his last words to her.
Is your marriage to God in this state? Are you walking away from your groom? This story may seem like I’ve put the woman in the “hot seat”, but it’s only to put each person in their Godly spot. We, as humans on this planet are the “bride of Christ” and Jesus is our groom. He seeks to keep the fires of our relationship with Him always hot.
Something to think about…