I Know You Meant Better

You know your marriage has weathered well when love brings you to the place where you bear the other’s sharp word or dark mood, knowing as you do that these raw places cover a weary or wounded soul and require tenderness, not scorn or assault. Forgiveness is given, easily, before it’s ever asked, the scuffle brushed away, no more bother than a stray piece of lint.

How many times have I come to Miska, heart in hands and a bit embarrassed, only to find the woman who said yes to me eager to say yes again? I barely form the words, and she greets me with, “Yes, of course, yes.”

An essential to good marriage, good friendship – to good life in human communities – is the commitment to discovering the truth in another and then believing that truth with them and for them – and sometimes in spite of them. However, in our gotcha culture, we look for opportunities to score points and exploit wounds and pounce on others’ failings. If you have any doubt, stay tuned for the political commercials or facebook postings soon coming to a screen near you.

I once viewed God this way: scrupulously judging my every move and every belief, eager to send a jolt my way when I missed a step. With this misguided vision of God, too many of us defend “truth” in ways that are at odds with the One whose self-giving love defines Truth. However, what if God sees our true self and our best efforts and, rather than growing angry over our missteps, chuckles and smiles and says, “Yes, of course, yes.”

C.S. Lewis welcomes me with these words: “This is the courtesy of Deep Heaven: that when you mean well, He always takes you to have meant better than you knew.”

18 Replies to “I Know You Meant Better”

  1. Thanks for these words, and a description of a loving, fully human, grace-filled relationship. In the context of a relationship where there are loving words and kindness most of the time, the beloved recognizes that the “sharp word or dark mood” are occasional, not the normal pattern. We do promise to love unconditionally as God loves us, but as humans, it is more difficult, of course. So, although it’s wonderful that forgiveness and grace flow so freely, it’s still good and appropriate to receive an apology from the one who spoke harshly and important for the person to be able to say, “I’m sorry.”

  2. Dear Winn, your posts have, of late, been some of the most profound, tender, vulnerable and useful I have ever read from you. I can only hope that a collection of your journeyings through marriage and parenthood might some day make their way into the bound up pages of a book.

    1. Thank you, Jonathan. Very much. I don’t know when, but I imagine these words will hop, skip and jump that way at some point down the road.

  3. Winn, I mean to say this more often to you for your words, but thank you. You remind us of truth in the most refreshing and beautiful ways. Can’t thank you enough.

  4. Winn, I must confess: I party just want to comment here so that I can receive a personalized response from you. It’s a sweet thing that you take a moment to acknowledge each of your readers!

  5. Thanks a lot my friend , the graciousness of your spirit permeates through your artistic words reminding us that in the culture of competitive success the words such as sorry are profoundly healing words ….

    1. “the culture of competitive success” – what a description of the grace-draining realities we confront so often…

  6. Wynn, you have such a gift with communicating….thank you for sharing your heart and thoughts….the parallels between our relationship with our spouse and our relationship with our God are always thought provoking!

  7. “…the commitment to discovering the truth in another and then believing that truth with them and for them – and sometimes in spite of them.”
    That is love. The best.

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