Saturday, December 19, 2015

What If My Wife Didn't Like Mexicans?

She actually does. This is a hypothetical. As a lawyer, I'm entitled to use them even if I don't really like them (hypotheticals, not Mexicans. I like Mexicans too). But let's supposed my wife really didn't like Mexicans and had certain annoying policies about how they should be treated if they ever came around.

This is an absurd hypothetical as my wife grew up in New Mexico. Which, by the way, is part of the of the United States since 1848 and a State since 1910. And while we're digressing slightly from my hypothetical to true facts, I remember the too frequent question I was asked by people, mainly in Idaho (another state of the Union) that summer I spent with my parents there while waiting for the wedding date. When I told people that my fiancée was from New Mexico, I simply and patiently answered in the affirmative to the frequent rejoinder, "Does she speak English?" . . . . I really tried hard not to cringe.

This did not happen with my extended family much to my relief as all who met her, loved her, and assumed she spoke English. She even appears in the family photos from my maternal Grandparents' fiftieth wedding anniversary celebration a couple of months before we were engaged. The risk paid off as we are still together even if some uncles, aunts, and cousins did not remain married to the people they are with in those photos. No need for photo-shop or the more drastic scissors taken to those amended family photos pre-PC for my wife and I.

Back to our hypo. I would be very concerned if my wife harbored prejudices against Mexicans. It would make me very uncomfortable especially when I was around my Mexican friends, or Mexicans in general. It wouldn't be right on my wife's part either. But here's the thing. My love and commitment for my wife is great enough that I would not walk out on her, even over a horrible prejudice.

In the first place, you would not be hearing about it if this were reality and not a hypothetical. I would not in any way want to expose her fault to the world for ridicule or disrespect. I love her that much. If she had any real faults, you wouldn't hear about them from me. In fact, I can't really think up any as I type away. She might have some. As a human you would expect such. But I chose her over all else even if I'm still not sure what choice I had as circumstances, fate, hormones, or more likely, divine intervention seemed to leave little choice to the eventuality of our togetherness. Yes, God is in this. I don't really understand, yet I can't deny it. And I won't forsake it.

Early in marriage when my commitment and our partnership weren't as solid as now, I occasionally thought she had some faults. It was very painful. Sometimes I was immature enough to bring them up. And it's not pain-avoidance that inhibits me now. I learned in those earlier days that our commitment is powerful to the point of forgiving offenses and respectful to the point of dealing with any difference in an honest, patient, and loving manner. Yes, it took some time to learn those skills and my faults may still be very apparent. The joy of the present after thirty-some years is that love and commitment transcend any and all faults between us.

Because of my love and commitment, I would be concerned if my wife treated any group of people in an offensive way. I would very lovingly and respectfully--and subtly--try to influence her away from any harsh prejudice or inappropriate treatment of others. I would try to be a good example to her in my association with Mexicans and others. But if my wife somehow did not change, I would still love her. In fact, I would forsake all, even Mexicans, if it was necessary to love her to the fullest extent possible. It is one of those inexplicable paradoxes of life, even in a hypothetical, that sometimes the only way to have any influence over a wrong is to accept it in the greatest act of love and painful sacrifice in order to have any influence to effect any possible change.

It's the kind of sacrifice God made for us all that models how we should strive to be. He left us a rainbow as a sign of His covenant with us, and of His love.

A New Mexican Rainbow

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