I didn’t love my husband when we got married. It sounds horrible to say but it is true. After a year of dating, including three months of engagement we stood at the altar, said sacred vows before both God and man and committed our till death do we part love to one another.
Looking back I realize that even though I thought I loved him, really what I was in love with was the idea of being chosen to be loved by him. I was desperate to be above all others in his heart and life, for the remainder of mine. I was nineteen; my frame of reference regarding love was limited at best and tainted at worst.
Fifteen years later I believe that I have now at least begun to understand the deep intertwinings of what love is. I found and pieced various aspects of it together along the way to offer a clearer yet still incomplete picture. As we live out the rest of our lives together, I pray that perhaps one day I will know the fullness of what it means to truly love another human being with all that you are, to the very depths of your soul, for your whole life.
Although I know now that it has taken place, there is not a specific time that I am able to pinpoint that transition from not really loving to loving.
I do know where it didn’t happen though. It wasn’t the result of beautiful flowers sent, decadent chocolates presented or even memorable romantic weekend getaways. As well, it wasn’t found in quaint candlelight dinners, or soft satin sheets amidst the throes of passion. Although all of those things have been wonderfully splendid parts of our marriage, this is not where I discovered love.
Instead, I believe it was stolen from and accumulated in many different kinds of moments. Moments of commitment through heartache, communication so difficult it demanded tears and forgiveness which lacked an “I told you so.”
This is where I found love.
My relationship with my husband serves as an adequate metaphor for my relationship with my Lord. In my teens I confessed with my mouth and believed in my heart that Jesus was my Lord…. but I didn’t really love Him. I was thankful for the security of eternal salvation, daily renewed grace and a robe of righteousness to replace my rags of filth, but the truth is, I was primarily focused on Him loving and saving me and thought very little about the reciprocal.
A selfish, self-serving love isn’t really love at all.
I cannot pinpoint the exact moment of transition but know that it has occurred. It wasn’t found in the moments of abundant blessings, exuberant celebrations of His goodness or mountaintop experiences of favor poured out. My heart remains so thankful and yet; those are not the places where my love for Him became real.
Instead, it has accumulated in many different kinds of moments. Moments of undeniably undeserved grace. Moments of commitment through heartache, communication so difficult it demanded tears and forgiveness which lacked an “I told you so.”
My love for both my God and my husband became most real within me when my heart’s focus shifted from what they could do for me to what I could do for them.
True love requires an unwavering commitment, sacrifice and willingness to serve wholeheartedly.
True love is demanding requiring that the giver hold nothing back.
True love never disappoints because it is in the giving that you receive
Father… your love for me is unwavering, abundant and faithful… help me to love you in that same way.