Monday, January 2, 2017

Thoughts on Love from a Marriage Expert

Yes, I am a marriage expert. I have been married for 12 whole days now (give or take a few hours).

No, I don't expect anyone to take me seriously.

2.5 years ago, my darling first told me he liked me. 9 months later, he told me he loved me. And some days I feel like that is all I know about him.

But that's all I need to know.

Oh, I can give you details about his favorite food, hobbies, and what he's studying in college - but you could probably get that out of him too. That's the kind of stuff you find out in a getting to know you conversation.

Maybe the next time you talk, you would ask his dreams and aspirations. He's got them.

But I am his wife. I know he loves me. And he doesn't love you the same way.

I'm very skittish about relationships (I've been burned a few times), and I don't believe people when they tell me they like me. Much less love me. You can say that, but I will immediately build a wall to keep from getting hurt again. And it's not that I like you any less or care about you any less, but I still won't trust you. That's my problem. Not yours. And frankly, I don't expect you to make me trust you. Like I said, my problem.

But for the past 2.5 years, my darling has been proving to me how much he liked me. And how much he loved me. When we first started dating, he couldn't wait to hear from me.We were on other sides of the country writing emails at least every day, if not more. Phone calls often didn't work out because of logistics and timing. I remember being a little uncomfortable with this. He actually wanted to know what I was doing every day. He cared about my classes, my friends, whether I was getting enough sleep. He and I discussed philosophy and our relationship with God.

I already liked him, but now I was falling in love with him. He was wonderful, Godly, sweet, and he cared about me.

But I didn't believe him when after 9 months of 1000+ word emails daily, he told me he loved me. It wasn't my picture perfect moment (but I've come to realize that those really only come in Disney movies). We were Skyping, and I actually didn't understand him when he said it, so I had to ask him to repeat himself, just because that was the last thing I was expecting him to say.

Even though I knew that I loved him, there was a part of me that didn't completely believe what he was saying.

Now, we are 22 months later, and I believe him. The poor guy went through a lot trying to convince me. He repeated himself, wrote letters to me, and just stayed  me. When a lesser man would have gotten frustrated because I was still pushing back, he kept pulling me in.

I considered breaking up with him so many times, but I never once heard that he ever seriously thought about it. He loves me. He wanted me to be the woman who is by his side every single day.

He listened when my day was hard, bought me chocolate to make me fat (jk, but some days are just perfect for a bite or 2 of dark chocolate), and never backed away until he knew that I knew he loved me.

And then he proposed.

But I learned something about him yesterday. He is a very busy man.

We were in between family events and it was a long day after a very long night, when his phone rang. It was something else for him to take care of. Another problem for him to fix.

I knew he was tired, and I was frustrated at the people who were making him tired.

But this is the man I married. A man who will sacrificially serve others. A man who is always busy, but doesn't look like it.

Now, I really know what it took, all those times I just needed to hear his voice say "I love you". All of the times I asked him to go out of his way to spend time with me. All of dating and the long process to marry me.

Now all I know of my husband, is that he loves me.

This reminds me of Christ, our heavenly bridegroom (see Ephesian 5:25) who loved us sacrificially. He died, and gave himself for us, shouting to all ages His love for us. And here we are 2,000 years later, still pushing back. Doubting Him, demanding He cater to our needs, and pushing back on spending time with Him because we don't understand His love. We have pages upon pages of His letter to us.

How have we made it this long without seeing Him for Who He truly is? The One Person Who above and beyond all earthly companions has proved His love for us? Romans 5:8 tells how the love of Christ compelled Him to die for us while we were still sinners and rejecting Him. (See also John 3:16). He died for all, and He specifically loves you.

Seeing this and allowing it to permeate our lives are completely different things. Just like I could hear the words "I love you", and not allow it to affect me. I needed to trust Stephen that his love for me was real. And live my life like it was. I had to say yes to his proposal.

How does Christ's love change our lives? It should change us into His image. We should become like Him.

We should love Him. And respect Him. And give our lives, pledging ourselves only unto Him, till death do us unite.

Because of Him,


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