Reflecting on one of our wedding photos, I am shocked how fast ten years have gone by just like that! My parents and lots of older friends and family really were trying to give me good advice for all the times they’d say, “Enjoy the moment, time goes by quickly. You’ll blink and years will literally fly by!”
This was our “first” photo together taken twelve years ago. Englishman Charlie had come to California to visit our mutual friend Nathanael and ended up meeting me at our weekly Bible study. That weekend, our young adults group was going up to Lake Tahoe for a ski trip, so Charlie also came along. We were in the van on our way to the ski resort, on opposite sides of the bench, and it was only after sliding us together through photo editing did I end up with this photo! Still looking back, I’d like to think it was meant to be.
And here we are a year ago! I’m grateful that we’re still in love with each other and best friends. A lot of life has been lived in these last ten years, contributing to the start of grey hairs, wrinkles, and dark circles. But I wouldn’t change our story! It’s been rich in God’s grace, challenging because that is what life can be sometimes, adventurous for sure and full of opportunities to do life with Jesus and so many people around us.
Thinking about our story has made me contemplate what love really looks like. Is it a dozen roses and a box of chocolates? Is it found in romantic getaways and numerous trips? Or maybe lots of expensive date nights and trips to the theatre? All of these things are nice and can certainly be fun for a treat but it’s simply not what real, everyday love looks like.
True and real love looks like getting up for your job and faithfully pressing on to support your family, even when it feels like you’re suffocating and at times, you feel stuck in your position.
It looks like getting up in the middle of the night to soothe your child with a bad dream, giving your spouse a chance to continue sleeping.
Real love means learning to let go of selfish pride and forgiving each other’s mistakes, as often as that can be.
Love looks like making the thousandth meal and doing continuous laundry even when you don’t feel like it, to serve and be a blessing.
It is allowing your spouse to take a week off from normal duties to go visit with parents, meanwhile taking that week off work to do parental duties as a single parent.
Love looks like seeing the best in each other and giving encouragement for pursuing hobbies and spiritual gifts. It means taking on more childcare and housework so that the other spouse has that needed time.
It means cooking or ordering a Chinese takeaway when it’s been a hard day and cooking seems to be unbearable to your spouse.
Real love is choosing to not compare your spouse to others and focusing on making your marriage the best it can be.
It looks to the other person as valuable, acknowledging that without each other’s individual roles, family life wouldn’t be able to function.
True and lasting love means giving up your world, moving city, state, or country in order to be with that person. It means continually giving more of yourself to show love in big and small ways.
Love is sacrifice. It’s a choice to say, “I love you and I will put you first before my own needs.”
Dear God, Thank you for the gift of marriage and what an incredible relationship it can be. Forgive us when we’ve neglected our spouses and chosen to put ourselves first. Help us to remember Jesus’ sacrifice for us so lovingly and freely given, even when we were still sinners. May we be inspired and led by the Holy Spirit to love our spouses well and never grow weary of continuous giving. Amen.