Marie: (in a sing-song voice) We’re going scuba diving, we’re going scuba diving…
Mark: Yep, we sure are.
Dive Sign Up Lady: You two are all signed up. Just meet here tomorrow at 9, we’ll do the swim test, go through the course, and you’ll be in the ocean by lunch!
Marie: (gulp) Swim test? What kind of swim test? You mean like a written test… about the history of swimming or something… right?
Dive Sign Up Lady: No… like a swimming test. 8 laps around the pool. Don’t worry… you’ll be fine!
Marie: Oh. Dear.
The next morning…
Marie: Mark, I don’t know how to swim. I just doggie paddle. I have no cardiovascular strength. You can go on without me. I’ll never make it. I’ll just stay in the room today… and cry.
Mark: Marie, you are going to be fine. Don’t worry. I’m not a very strong swimmer either, but we’ll make it. And I’m not going anywhere without you. Promise.
At the dive pool
Dive Instructor: The swim test is not a race, and you can use any stroke you would like. I just need 8 laps, no stopping. Ok, let’s get in!
Marie: I can’t do this. I can’t do this. I’m going to die. This is horrible.
Mark: Calm down. I’m here…
We start swimming. I’m about 2 laps in when I realize I’m exhausted, and not very sure I can keep going. I mean, 2 laps and I’m spent? How was I going to go another 6? Watching the other swim testers swim effortlessly by left me feeling even more discouraged…
Mark: You’re doing great, Sweetie. Take your time and remember to breathe.
I’m doing ok. Just breathe.
Mark never left my side, and I knew that he was keeping an eye out for me the entire time. Watching for when I looked especially drained or fatigued and supplying wonderful encouragement or reminders. It was like he instinctively knew when depressing or negative thoughts were creeping in, and made sure to combat them with huge doses of positive thinking.
Dive Instructor: Ok, Mark you’re done! Good job!
Everyone was done with their swim test now except for me. I had one more lap to go.
Mark: Can I swim her last lap with her?
Dive Instructor: Of course.
He stayed with me until the end. He was tired, and I’m sure would have loved to have gotten out and been done. But he stayed because he meant it when he said that we were doing this. Together.
I wanted to cry during that last lap. If I wasn’t so tired I would have. His actions, his encouragement, his love cemented an important belief in my heart. Mark is my partner, and he is with me. Forever. No matter how discouraging life seems, the difficulty of our trials, or our level of exhaustion. We are here to support each other, and love each other through all of it.
I really am a lucky loved girl.
In the same way, husbands ought to love their wives as they love their own bodies. For a man who loves his wife actually shows love for himself. No one hates his own body but feeds and cares for it, just as Christ cares for the church.