Actually, my wife is the one who made me feel guilty about being depressed. She didn't say anything like, "Get your lazy @$$ out of bed!", in fact, she didn't really say or do anything. She understands that it is part of life, and especially when you are adjusting to a new country. What made me feel guilty was that as the days passed and my sulking increased, Valérie started to feel the same way. The more I became quiet and withdrawn, the more sullen and hopeless she felt. Of course, she would never use the word hopeless. It's too extreme for her. But she started to see everything turning black along with me.
I just finished a facebook chat with a teenager here in the village. He asked me what marriage is like and if I had any advice for him. Online chatting is hardly a medium worthy of such a sacred topic, but I wrote back, saying "It's hard, but it's great." He was confused by this. "What do you mean, 'hard'?"
Only since I've been married have I begun to see the depths of my sin and selfishness. Everyday there is some small revelation about how I'm failing to die for my wife. After all, the apostle Paul tells husbands to love their wives, giving themselves up for her as Christ did for His church. I'm part of Christ's bride, the church, and everyday I act like I'm the most important person in the world. And what does Jesus do? He pays for my sin. No matter what. There is nothing I can do or say that His blood can't cover.
It's this same selfless love that God teaches us through marriage. When she doesn't want to go for a walk because "there's a lion in the streets," or leaves the cap off the toothpaste, or seemingly complains about everything (which I'm slowly learning is part of being French), God is giving me an opportunity to love her and give myself up for her--to overlook her sins the way God overlooks mine. Sadly, I usually hold it against her and grumble about in my mind, but I'm learning. When you're single, there is a real freedom to sin that isn't there when you're married. As a single, you can take refuge in the fact that nobody really knows you. It's pretty easy to keep the facade and portray yourself to the world as you want to be seen. But when it comes to your husband or wife, you're naked. Every blemish is visible.
What does this mean for me as a husband? It means that when I see all of Valérie's imperfections and shortcomings, I have a choice to make. I can either focus on those blemishes until they are all I can see of her, or I can be like Christ and see her as she should be, as she will be. This is very difficult. The more I can criticize her faults the more I can convince myself that I'm good, or at least better than her. But God designed marriage to show me my utter failure in loving my wife, because that's how we learn about His love.
So, Valérie, I'm sorry that you have to suffer, but I hope you are learning as much as I am.