Love, True Love!
(June 30, 2018)
by Susan Fiedler
Forty-four years ago as of yesterday I walked down the aisle in the ballroom of the Martha Washington Inn.
Brent and I began our life together with a long drive to Toronto the next day, followed by a mad dash to get airline tickets, our visas to Mexico, and to check in luggage.
A mere thirty minutes after arriving we boarded our flight to Acapulco.
With effervescent spirits we arrived there at midnight. Not even lost luggage could sour our moods. We didn’t need luggage! We were on our honeymoon!
At the beginning, most people think their relationship is unbreakable. Some are! What an enormous blessing to have a long and happy marriage!
However, over the years since, we have grieved to see many marriages suffocated or torn asunder by the crashing waves of life.
Sadly, most people today think that success or failure in marriage is dependent upon circumstances.
“You can’t control who you fall in love with!”
“If I hadn’t lost my job ,,,.” “If we hadn’t gotten pregnant too early ….” “If only ….”
How many people blissfully dive into a relationship without truly examining their own hearts? “In sickness and in health, for richer or poorer …” Most weddings have some phrase or another similar one in their vows.
But do we mean it? In fact, do we understand it? Do we even have any real concept of the sacrifice and determination such a promise requires of us?
Those who do try to consider the weight of their vows, consciously or not, still think that they could stick with their spouse through anything because they are in love.
Unfortunately, the love they think is permanent is really a temporary sense of euphoria and infatuation. They promise to unfailingly support their spouse without considering that real love is an action verb. They don’t know that their love needs constant effort to stay alive and fervent.
Truthfully, aren’t most of us more focused on our spouse’s promise, for him or her to faithfully stand by … me?
Back to our honeymoon. Brent and I arose in Acapulco to gorgeous weather and fresh tropical fruit for breakfast. We cruised the area to get the lay of the land while we waited for our luggage to be delivered. After a while we got hungry and really thirsty.
Thankfully we saw a Denny’s sign saying, “Siempre abierto.” It was open twenty-four hours a day.
Brent ordered a glass of water. Even though the water was bottled, I was a little leery of the water in the ice machine, so I got a Coke. That stuff’ll kill anything.
That night, the third day of marriage, the idyllic aura began to darken, threatening to crumble into dust.
First, my beloved husband declared, “There’s not enough room in my bed.”
Not an auspicious beginning to the evening!
Then, as I was dreaming of cuddling with my honey-pot all night long, he adds, “You’re hot and sweaty!”
(For your information, no, I didn’t get Brent’s permission to tell this story.)
You have probably figured out the problem for yourself. He wasn’t being rude, selfish and unloving. He was coming down with a royal case of Montezuma’s Revenge.
He had spent three summers digging in Israel and never got Pharaoh’s Revenge.
He made up for it that night. Poor guy didn’t know which end should worship “the porcelain goddess”.
Unspeakably romantic, as you can imagine.
Or maybe just unspeakable.
Well, we made it through that night, and all the rest since! Any illusions of my handsome Prince Charming dissolved into …, well, into not so very charming that night, at least.
But I know from our real “happily ever after” experiences, had I been the afflicted one, he would have stuck by my side, too.
Tragically, even marriages with overwhelming potential for success can buckle under the stresses of our society, the erosion of faithfulness, and the vicious strength of our own desires, needs and perceptions.
Marriage was created to be the foundation of the family and society. So why do many live-in relationships that seem secure sometimes shatter after marriage?
The problem isn’t the piece of paper, The problem is the dissonance between our expectations and reality.
It takes two people fully committed to one another for a marriage to work. But it only takes one person to destroy it.
I wish Brent and I could sit down and talk every couple through our experiences. If they were honest with one another and listened with their hearts, surelymore would make it!!
I know, however, that all of my explanations, exhortations, persuasions and on-going Marriage 101 tutoring would not by themselves make the difference.
The real need is the true Counselor’s involvement in each marriage from the beginning, even before courtship begins, until death finally does part us.
Genuine marriages can genuinely succeed if both parties will zealously expunge self-will from their own hearts as fervently as they embrace one another and will embed God in the center of their relationship.
Eph. 5:21 reads, “Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God.” (KJV)
The love required for a rich relationship is not just a passing emotion. That emotion is wonderful but cannot alone be the driving force in the marriage.
Instead, each marriage needs a miracle.
The love required for a blessed marriage is an action verb. Do unto your spouse as you would hope your spouse does unto you.
Even when we don’t feel like it. Especiallywhen we don’t feel likt it.
As we strive to practice Godly love toward one another, we discover that the more love we give, the more we receive.
This is the key! Love, truelove! The growth of true love is more miraculous than multiplying loaves and fishes. This miracle is the transformation of the heart.
You want a happy marriage? Each participant and both must learn the meaning of love. Giving is living. Real joy comes from serving your spouse.
The Apostle Paul summed it up in I Cor. 13:13, “But for now, three things last—trust, hope, love; and the greatest of these is love.” (CJB)
Brethren, love one another!