Friday afternoon we arrived at the campground. We bailed out of the car and began to unload the gear: sleeping bags, cook stove, food bins, and the most dreaded piece of camping equipment known to man or marriage, the tent.
This year we brought with us a brand new tent, still in the box. I spied the beast lying on the ground, knowing what inevitably must ensue. Looking about, I felt relived that the campground was empty with the exception of a retired couple sitting quietly in their lawn chairs in front of their trailer, roughly 100 feet away.
I approached the box, cut the tape and out slid the biggest pile of nylon and connect-the-sticks I have ever seen. The contraption sleeps ten. Why a family of three needs a tent this size, I still cannot explain.
Dragging the tent around on the site, I called to my husband for help. Thus the event commenced: The Raising of the Tent.
This is a hotly contested battle of wit and patience between a husband and a wife. If Hollywood was seeking a truly unrefined reality show, Raise the Tent, would win, hands down. Two minutes into the set up, orders were shouted, my husband was obviously blind to the logic of my instructions. This became readily apparent from the look on his face.
A retort from my frustrated spouse was foreseeable. The sound level increased. I glanced over at older couple who sat smiling at their reading materials, afraid to look up for fear they would break into hysterics.
Precisely at this moment in all tent-raising events, children mysteriously disappear. My daughter retreated to the creek, suddenly captivated with the rocks at the bottom.
I lowered my voice but the yelling continued in what I call, snake whisper. It is still yelling, just at a hissing level. I am sure some of you can relate. The older couple gave up watching covertly, they sit mesmerized, magazines resting in their laps, by our “show” activity.
Finally the Holy Spirit became fed up and tapped upon my heart. He reminded me I no longer needed to be in control. In the midst of our squabbling, I saw my husband, a gift from God. I saw a man who has made me a better woman. The bickering diminished instantly and the tent went up quickly.
My husband and I are spiritually mismatched in our marriage and although my husband has yet to discover the truth of Christ for himself, Christ is alive and active in our marriage. Christ’s supernatural power brings us through the arguing, disagreements, and tent construction. I look back upon my marriage journey and see Christ standing with us. He has been working through my unbelieving husband to smooth my rough edges of selfishness and desire for control.
My spouse and I are the ultimate odd couple. Our backgrounds and beliefs are vastly different, which makes our marriage, our happy and fulfilling marriage, a miracle.
An hour later, I sat at the picnic table waiting for our friends who were joining us as they too, settle into their campsite. Their daughter wandered over for a chat. I asked her, “Did your mom and dad getting everything set up?”
She replied, “Yes, but yelling was involved.”
I laughed out loud knowing God was alive and well in the next campsite!
1 Peter 3:1-4 (The Message)
The same goes for you wives: Be good wives to your husbands, responsive to their needs. There are husbands who, indifferent as they are to any words about God, will be captivated by your life of holy beauty. What matters is not your outer appearance—the styling of your hair, the jewelry you wear, the cut of your clothes—but your inner disposition.