In order to be a good wife I have found one must possess a good imagination.

Mr. Fantastic and I met when we were eighteen. I was just a girl back then, and he was a boy-turning-man. We were friends, and only friends for a long, long time.

I was a bit broken inside, in need of love, and no person alive could have given me the kind of love that I needed.

Providence would have it that no one would offer. I was left with my pieces and a patient, powerful God.

A few years and many prayers later I stood, mostly whole and fully loved before the man who had promised forever.

God had hidden love for one another in our hearts for all that time. When love like that begins to bloom it radiates God’s mercy and goodness, and His joy sings from one soul to another.

After a wedding, the passing years bring troubles and cares that can dim the light of love. Responsibility and children can tire a woman to her bones. Bright, girlish ways are set aside for the sake of survival.

But a man doesn’t want a wife who survives. He wants the girl he chose, with her loving smile and tender touch.

As the old proverb goes, a man longs to rejoice in the wife of his youth.

The question a husband will almost never ask aloud is this one: “How can I get her to come back?”

Maybe he won’t ask because men hate to ask questions like that. Perhaps it is out of respect for the hard work his wife shoulders so diligently. Or possibly it’s because he is afraid of that the shining eyes that once gazed joyously at him are gone forever.

They aren’t gone, though, and neither is the girl he married. Deep down we are all still shining brides, ready to embrace love wholeheartedly.

Beneath the layers of darkness we have tolerated, behind the forgiveness we have withheld, or just past the joyless life we accepted as inevitable, every woman is still full of light and love.

Don’t say you can’t find her, dear friend. That’s saying that the gospel can’t make all things new. With faith all things are possible, especially in the area of love.

In the beginning it just takes a little imagination.

Imagine you are that starry-eyed girl who held his hand for the first time.

Imagine when he says, “You are beautiful,” and “I love you,” that he means it. Because he probably does. And even if he didn’t, you are worthy of both praise and love.

Jesus said that she who is forgiven much, loves much. Love is somewhere at the foot of that old rugged cross. Enough love for you, your broken pieces, and for him and his broken pieces.

Imagine yourself there, where the love of God poured out of a body broken for all of us.

Go back, go back to the One whose very nature is love and ask Him to bring back the woman-girl, the wife you at the beginning of your “Once upon a time” tale.

Imagine how precious it will be to stand before God on that last glad judgement day and hear this, “You loved because I first loved you.”

After all this time and all these difficulties, He still holds your happily ever after.

Can you even imagine?

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