No one’s ever said that to me. “Dave, you look, well—just radiant! I mean really. Today you are radiant.” I think people have said it to my wife. Not me. Not that I can remember.
But the adventure of marriage—and probably any good friendship—is to end up with that. Again, I can’t help but view this through the lens of my Christian worldview. I realize that I’m tainted, but in St. Paul’s letter to the people who lived in Ephesus he describes what a marriage relationship can look like. After commanding people to “submit to one another” he describes what that would look like in a Christian marriage (Paul isn’t applying this to those who are not Christians). The husband is to love his wife sacrificially as Christ loved the church and the wife is to respectfully submit; that is, to put herself under her husbands mission to love her that way. When he doesn’t love her like that, she’s obligated to say something. That’s my take on it. That’s the way I read it. Maybe I’m wrong but I don’t think so.
So true submission, in my opinion, can look more like conflict, than the door mat style submission I’ve run across on some occasions in religious circles. When husbands just check out or don’t care or do things that create anxiety or fear or hurt in the life of a wife, or when wives show disdain, contempt, or scorn for their husbands, nobody’s looking radiant. And there’s a lot of that going on behind the closed doors of a home and the frequent, outward attempts at the facade of marital health and bliss are at best deceitful. Both men and women are very good at keeping stuff hidden. There’s a lot of ways to lie and most of us are good at all of them.
The ultimate goal of this respect giving, loving, submissive behavior is radiance. I think this means that ultimately, both partners seek to present the other radiant before God. I don’t see why a wife can’t do the same thing for a husband. That is exhilarating! So we have marriage, the adventure. Marriage, the epic (as one person has said)! Marriage, the quest, the journey, the voyage! The goal: to love the other well, so well that you present him and her radiant before God and others. Frankly, I want to do that for my friends and relatives as well.