Love is different than I thought.
When I got married six and half years ago, I was very in love with my new husband (which was wonderful)! We entered our marriage excited and hopeful, with EXCEEDING grace and patience for one another as we figured out our new lives together.
It was such a sweet time! Our relationship was romantic, easy and fun.
People often told me this “honeymoon phase” would not last, but although I was too polite to contradict it, I honestly did not believe them. And in fact, this honeymoon phase did last an extended period of time, arguably for years.
But then the babies started coming.
We went from being fancy-free DINK’s (double-income-no-kids), to having no discretionary spending money and no “in-town help” with our new baby. We were fairly new to our city, away from family and hadn’t yet made any close friends.
I quit my job and was struggling (in the ways that most new moms do) to make these big transitions without going totally crazy. Plus all the household responsibilities, which we had once shared, were now mine, and I quickly realized I wasn’t great at maintaining this new role.
So, yeah, the rose-colored glasses slipped a bit.
Expectations clashed. We saw selfishness in each other and ourselves. We didn’t always feel loved, and we weren’t always loving each other well. We were more interested in advocating our own interests than noticing and addressing the best interests of the other.
Over the past five years, since becoming parents, we have learned and re-learned what real love is.
Oftentimes, I’ve realized that love in marriage must get harder before it can go deeper. If we’re willing, it’s in this stretching where we are refined, and God-rooted love is forged.
Yeah, love is different than I thought. It’s different than the world told us. It’s exactly like God said.
It turns out, love has very little to do with romantic date nights, and everything to do with washing the other’s feet (John 13:1-17).
It has very little to do with twirling around a dance floor, and everything to do with laying down your life for the other (John 15:13).
Real love isn’t comprised of love letters, but of patience, kindness, humility, trust, hope and perseverance (1 Corinthians 13:4-7).
Love at this depth goes beyond “tingling good-feelings,” (which are still fun, wonderful and a gift from God)!
Love at this depth is utterly world-rocking. Heaven and earth take notice when husbands and wives quietly love each other. We become partners with God in proclaiming the mystery of His gospel.
A pure, holy, beautiful, sacrificial, love-soaked marriage is the ultimate symbol of Christ and the Church (Ephesians 5:21-22).
Do you feel the weight and joy and significance of this calling to love? It is far greater than the goal of simply “having a nice life.” It carries the weight of eternity as we follow God’s calling to love as He first loved us, despite the other’s merit or lack thereof (1 John 4:19).
It is not about us at all, but rather about the other person, obedience to God, and broadcasting the goodness of God to a world that’s craving –starving for –something real.
This love is a great blessing, but before it must come sacrifice sacrifice.
What would it mean for you to love your husband or wife with Godly love?
Join our 30-Day Strengthening Your Marriage Challenge
If you would like to take a first-step to give your marriage some purposeful love and attention, join the Strengthen Your Marriage Challenge!
This is a 30 Day Challenge to encourage wives to make small, thoughtful, relationship-building gestures towards our husbands.
These challenges are intended to say: I see you. I appreciate you. I love you.
It’s not about score keeping or “expecting” anything in return, but rather, it is about loving our husbands for the sake of loving them.
If you’d like to join the challenge, please purchase the Strengthening Your Marriage Bundle ($13.50). These are the printables and tools we’ll be using throughout the month, which are available at over 50% for challenge participants!