from Discerning Reader's online review of Love That Lasts: When Marriage Meets Grace by Gary and Betsy Ricucci, which is a book that I now want.
“A potter begins by centering his clay on the wheel. When the wheel starts turning, he can’t just grab the clay. He must carefully but firmly keep the clay in the center of the wheel. He has to work it gently but deliberately, applying just enough pressure to shape it while constantly adding moisture. If he lets the clay get cold, it becomes stiff, resistant, and unworkable. If he neglects the clay and fails to add water, it will dry out and crack. If he stops the process and then starts again, he may force the clay off center, or he may mar it by putting his hands on it too quickly or aggressively. It takes time, but if the potter is patient, creative, and firm but gentle, there’s no limit to what he can create.”
This brief excerpt is drawn from Love That Lasts, written by Gary and Betsy Ricucci. Gary, who wrote these words, applies this metaphor to a husband learning to practice romance as an art. “I am to pursue my wife consistently, warmly, and affectionately, lavishing her with encouragement and affirmation.” What caught my attention as I read this section of the book was the lesson he seeks to teach through these words. While the lesson is meant primarily for husbands as they relate to their wives, there is such a strong parallel between the marriage relationship and the relationship of Christ to His people that I could not help but see a lesson for my relationship with the Savior. “Every wife is different, and so is every season of life.” We could as easily affirm that “every person is different, as is every season of life.” And here is the lesson: “But like the potter, we are committed to the process as well as to the outcome.” That little sentence stopped me in my tracks....
I thought about this for a while. And then I saw in myself and in my attitude towards my wife just a shadow, a fleeting glimpse, of the work of Christ. I love my wife dearly. I love Aileen so much that my heart aches for her sanctification. I love few things more than seeing my wife reading her Bible, teaching the children about God, and being with her in times of worship. I pray continually that God will continue to mold her into His image. And, if I look carefully, I can see times when I have provided the leadership to help move her (and myself, and our children) towards this goal. I can see where I have been committed to the process. And best of all, I can see the joy I have taken both in leading her through the process and in seeing the results of the process. In my relationship with Aileen I can see, as if in a dim, clouded mirror, a reflection of the work of Christ in my life.
And I'd like to say, as well, that these words make me love my husband more. I see my Ian in this reviewer's description of himself.