“Do you have any regrets?” the woman asks. Ivan pauses, scratches the back of his neck.
“No. Not at all.”
I think he paused too long.
Seven years ago today Ivan asked me to be his wife. Did he make the right choice? Did I?
I’ve often thought if I could have seen the future, seen my accident and all it’s done to Ivan, I would have told him “no.” After all, the Bible tells us true love puts others above ourselves. I couldn’t knowingly sacrifice Ivan’s chance at a fulfilling, normal life just because I didn’t want to be alone.
Plus, there are the spectators. The whisperers asking if Ivan’s still happy, the experts claiming he’d be better off if he’d waited to propose. These voices foster my deepest fear: What if I shouldn’t have survived?
I’ve struggled with this toxic cycle for years, only admitting portions of it to Ivan and never revealing its full extent. But as I remember getting engaged seven years ago today, I’m beginning to understand why I’ve been imprisoned in doubt and self-loathing. 1 John 5:18-19 says:
“Such love has no fear, because perfect love expels all fear. If we are afraid, it is for fear of punishment, and this shows we have not fully experienced [God’s] perfect love. We love each other because he loved us first.”
Instead of rejoicing that I’m a new creation in Christ Jesus, I’ve listened to people who look only at my earthly body, and therefore see me as a failure. And they’re right. My body isn’t as capable as most wives’. I might even have more sin problems than they do. But all of us have forgotten that my righteousness – and therefore my worth as an individual – is found in Christ alone.
So it’s not so much about whether I should or shouldn’t have married Ivan. God’s desire for both of us is that we continue growing in the knowledge and experience of his redemptive love until we lose all fear of his displeasure. As time passes, we’ll learn to love each other not just because it’s romantic, but because Christ loved us first.
For the record, I’m extremely grateful that in God’s sovereign will Ivan and I did get married, and enjoyed eleven months together before the accident.