It’s everywhere. From the starry-eyed lovers you see on the streets, to pretty much every movie ever – we’re surrounded. We can’t escape it. The fact that it’s the beginning of February doesn’t really help, either. Valentine’s day plans, anyone?
The idea of love and being loved infiltrates our society. Thanks to technology, we are exposed to love and relationships now more than in any other time in history. Why then, are we at an all time low in relationships? Why have the divorce rates skyrocketed? Why are broken families more common than ones filled with love?
It’s because our society doesn’t know the true definition of love. We’re obsessed with the highs of love; the emotions, the butterflies, the late night texts, the newness of it all. But the lows? We ditch as soon as it gets bumpy. This quote by Matt Chandler sums it up brilliantly –
People don’t love love. They like the glittery feeling. They don’t love love. Love is sacrificial. Love is ferocious. It’s not emotive. Our culture doesn’t love love. It loves the idea of love. It wants the emotion without paying anything for it. It’s ridiculous.
What then, is love?
My parents divorced when I was two, and consequently, I’ve always thought that I would rather not marry at all than have my children walk the same road. Why then, did I date and marry my man all in about six months time? Wasn’t that careless? Don’t you have to be with someone for _________ years before you know if you will stay together? What if you fall out of love?
Believe it or not, I am 100% certain that my marriage will last. Gasp. How can I even make such a bold statement? Because I understand the true meaning of love. It’s not about me, it’s not even about Thomas – it’s about Jesus. We love because He first loved us. (1 John 4:19). If He created love, wouldn’t it be worth a look at what He has to say about it?
Our society says make sure things are even; God says serve one another.
Our society says walk away if things get rough; God says love endures all things.
Our society says place your needs first; God says love is not self-seeking.
Our society says to hold grudges; God says love keeps no records of wrongs.
Our society says to throw past mistakes back in our spouse’s face; God says love covers a multitude of sins.
Love isn’t always fireworks and tsunamis of emotions. Sometimes, love is just studying your spouse and learning the little things you can do to make them feel loved and valued.
Love isn’t your husband always coming home with a dozen roses. Sometimes, it’s him letting you sleep because you have a migraine, and him spending a few hours cleaning the kitchen to surprise you when you wake up to make you feel better.
Love isn’t the fancy date nights. Sometimes, it’s him taking you to see a Star Wars movie he doesn’t care to see (and him being so bored he falls asleep five minutes in) just because you’re obsessed to the point of embarrassment.
Love isn’t always the gifts. Sometimes, it’s him knowing you’re craving a red velvet cupcake and him telling you he stopped by the store on his way home to surprise you but they were all out.
These are a few examples of the way Thomas loves me truly and sacrificially daily. I could keep going until I reached the word limit, though, but you get my point. I fail him countless times over; far more than he’s ever failed me. Truthfully, today was one of those days where I didn’t even want to be around me, yet he loved me faithfully past the point of anything I could ever deserve. He loves me, not because I’m always lovable, but because he understands what love is.
Love isn’t an emotion you feel when things are going good. True love is a daily choice.
If we recognize our marriages for what they are, pictures of the Gospel, how then can they fail? I don’t know about you (actually I do because you’re a sinner too), but if Jesus “divorced” me whenever I failed Him…good grief. I wouldn’t stand a chance. But Jesus chose us, even to the point of death. Jesus came to the world, the world He created that willfully turned its back on Him, to pursue us. To redeem us. He loved us while we were still sinners. Even when we mocked Him and nailed Him to the cross, He still chose us. He willfully gave His life so we could be made whole in Him, even though we have nothing to offer Him in ourselves. That’s love.
How can I be sure my marriage won’t fail? Because I will choose Thomas every single day for the rest of my existence. I chose to marry him and bind my life to his. I will choose him when life is easy, and when life is hard. When he comes home with flowers, and when he comes home in a bad mood. When he’s sick, when he’s poor, when he’s healthy, and when he’s rich.
By the grace of God, let’s truly love our spouses.
*I just want to add a little snippet down here explaining that I’m not saying to remain in a harmful situation, if you happen to be struggling with this. If so, I encourage you to talk to someone you trust.*