I have had my fair share of admirers…some secret and some not so secret… in fact I married one of them! But before I got married, I dated a few guys. One of these, I loved so much… there was a time in my life when this guy was my world- I would have and did anything for him, I would have given up everything for him. In fact I loved him so much that when ever we had a fight my heart will break it literally hurt. You can imagine how I felt when we broke up! Ouch! But for the longest time, the love I experienced in that relationship was my standard of what love should be- If I did not feel that “young love” with a guy, then it presupposed I did not love him and he was X’ed off my list.
Fast forward to about 10 years ago when I met my hubby- we connected right away but that “love” was not there. I kept waiting for the moment when that “young love” would kick in and it never came. I kept thinking well maybe when we get married it will come and frankly after all these years I’ve got nada! Oh I know you know I love my husband very much… He is my everything and owns every part of me and that is biblical okay? lol But you know sometimes I have wondered if I truly love him since I have not felt what I felt when I was much younger and in love. I have secretly pondered if I sold myself short on love and settled for the next best thing.
Many get into marriage with a perspective that mainstream media portray love in marriage to be- endless days of kisses and lovemaking, and getting along with this gorgeous human being who makes breakfast in bed only to be disappointed. Some start off with a whirlwind romance that sweeps them off their feet and expect that everyday of their marriage will look like that only to be disappointed. Or maybe you are looking for this person that you can be desperately in love with, be shamelessly infatuated with and hopelessly fawn over and he/she is simply not there or has disappeared since the I dos .
Over the past few years, God has been teaching me to change my perspective of what love is, particularly love in marriage, and here are a few of the things I am learning. Love in marriage:
is selfless– before I got married I read a book where the author described that the love in marriage should look something like so: that the wife seeks the best for the husband, seeks to please him, to make him fulfilled in every which way with no consideration for herself and the husband seeks the best for the wife, seeks to please her, and prioritizes her needs in every way- that selfless love will sustain them. This is a love that gives, that sacrifices and puts you first. Realistically, would you see this selfless love all the time? No because we as people are inherently selfish but with careful intentionality this selflessness can be more the norm in any marriage- For God so loved the world that he gave…
is sacrificial– do you have a spouse who makes you feel valued by giving you the best of their time, attention, worldly possessions and is not stingy with their affections? Are you the kind of spouse that does not give the leftovers of your time, attention, affection and possessions to the marriage? For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son… The price of love is costly, is precious, is “only begotten”… it is not leftovers. Sacrificial love does not have to involve anyone literally dying for you (although it is nice to know without a shadow of doubt that a person will literally take a bullet for you), It may look like a spouse putting away his/her devices to have a conversation with you and focusing on just you in that moment. It may look like a lavish getaway… It may look like taking the time to help you dry the dishes while you wash… What ever it looks like, it leaves you feeling valued, feeling like you are a priority, and someone’s #1 just as God made you his priority the day he gave up his only begotten son for you.
is rewarding- …that whosoever believes in him should not perish but have everlasting life. Do you feel reciprocity in your marriage? Is there a healthy balance of give and take? Do you feel like you have someone who is always in your corner? A constant friend, and confidante, and someone you can complain to, celebrate both small and great things with, someone who accepts you warts, farts, and all? Marriage should not feel like punishment or a chore but it should feel like hard work and effort. Just as you have to believe to be saved and enjoy eternal life, the rewards of marriage do not just drop in one’s laps. Love in marriage, looks like a spouse who is putting in the effort to make the marriage work- it may look like forgiving indiscretions, investing in counselling when things get tough, being intentional in not giving the other reason for regret and going the extra mile to make sure the other person feels like they hit the jackpot when they got you. Marriage should leave you feeling like you are getting something out of it- a partner who steps into your life’s story and does life with you till your race ends. That, in and of itself is a reward.
So I conclude with a line from one of my favourite songs: How deep is your love? Happy Valentine’s day.