There are two things you need to know about how I met my wife. These two inevitably surprise or shock; so, we’ll just get them out of the way first. We met on eHarmony (back when it was still a Christian site), and from the first date to the date of the wedding was four months. Yes, four—and that was actually longer than we wanted.
Okay, so maybe there are three surprises here. You see, I knew I wanted to marry her before we had even seen each other. No pictures. No hints. Nothing. The beauty of eHarmony back then was that you didn’t have to show your face to the other person. You filled out a personality profile, and then found yourself knee-deep in a pool of potential matches. Well, that was supposed to be how it worked, and that’s what happened for my wife-to-be.
But I only had one match. Her.
You could call it providence. You could call it “finding the one.” Or you could call it a decided lack of women on the site. Whatever the case, we asked each other a few questions, and then started emailing. Emailing led to phone calls. Phone calls led to a first date. And a first date led to a second date on the same day.
But I was gone well before that point. Tucked away in our phone conversations about high school nicknames (I’d tell you hers, but she’ll read this) and our faith stumbles and triumphs, I came to know that I’d need to hear those stories—well—for as long our brains could dredge them up. Hers were mine. Mine were hers. All we needed was a place to drive away from with our car covered in toilet paper and chocolate letters. (Wedding tip: never give miniature chocolate candies to your wedding guests.)
When the apostle Paul talked about marriage being a mystery in Ephesians 5, I’m pretty sure he had mine in mind. Of course, by mystery, he didn’t mean Sherlockian intuition wringing meaning from a peanut shell (or whatnot); he meant God opening our eyes to something. Where once the darkness smothered understanding, God turned the flood lights on. And it was ten times as awesome for being revealed at just the right time.
And that’s why I’m thankful for the type of courtship I had. Not because I kissed dating goodbye, but because I went in blind. I had understanding of this feisty woman who lived an hour away, but I’d never seen her red hair or green eyes. I knew her spunk, but not her spark. That all changed when she climbed out of her car at the Brick Oven Grill. The mystery came flooding into non-mystery territory. And my jaw dropped. She truly blew away what I thought I knew.
Mysteries should do that: make our minds explode, knock things into place, jack our wonder up to a new level. God hinted at them and then brought full understanding suddenly and perfectly and with a kick-up-your-heels-in-a-hoedown kind of way. And it was worth the wait.
We live on the other side of the Cross. From our perspective, it’s a done deal. We know what happened. We know what went down to bring Jesus from heaven to earth, from the hill to the grave. That’s an old story.
Because of that, we often take mysteries for granted. But Jesus was a mystery. The Cross was a mystery. The gospel was a mystery. Not because there’s no foreshadowing or hints or suggestions that Jesus would be coming, but because no one could really imagine something so crazy-good. And when it did come, people got just a wee bit excited.
We should still be.