In a week that celebrates love, relationships, dating, and all of the accompanying heartwarming emotions, I ponder the type of love that builds a lasting marriage.
I’m blessed to have an excellent relationship with my son-in-love filled with communication that stirs one to think. I refer to our daughter and her hubby as the “forever honeymooners” because they are joyous, playful, and exude love that confirms they’re committed to marriage that lasts a lifetime.
On the weekend they’re home visiting, my pondering moves me to pose this question to my son-in-love. As you approach your second anniversary, what is the one thing you’ve learned about keeping love strong in your marriage?” Without hesitation he answers, “We love because He first loved us, so I know that to love Meredith well, I must always be rooted in Christ.” A little later, Meredith joins us, so I pose the same question to her. “Mom, it’s important to overlook offenses and to choose Van’s needs over mine.”
I only wish her dad and I had their same wisdom in the early years of our marriage. We didn’t, and our marriage suffered and nearly broke. I’m thankful for our Savior who redeemed both us and our marriage.
Now with 35 years of marriage in the rearview mirror, I reflected on the same question. I only had to recall my sweet hubby’s actions the day before to know the answer.
I’d had a tough day at work and a challenging week as I returned following surgery. My husband called to check on me when I was still working late. I explained the situation, then I did something I didn’t do in the challenging times of our marriage. Instead of expecting him to read my mind, I explained what I needed from him. “Dinner, some hugs, TLC, plus a few extra I love yous.” My hubby did just that, and his actions chased away the bad. I felt deeply loved.
The lessons about love that our kiddos shared are what my husband and I learned as God led our marriage out of the darkness. Is there a common denominator to this love that builds a strong marriage? I think it’s a willingness to grow.
Love grounded in emotion alone is fleeting; that’s a heartbreaking lesson to learn. This Valentine’s Day, we choose love that builds a marriage that lasts. The kind of love rooted in 1 John 4:19:
“We love because he first loved us”
I pray you’ll celebrate this love, too.