There’s a reason why marriage is meant to last for a lifetime. I’m fully convinced it takes that long to learn how to love someone well and experience all the richness there is to being loved by another.
In a couple of days, it will be our first anniversary…finally and already, with all the emotions of both woven into our ordinary lives.
What we’ve learned this first year isn’t necessarily ground-breaking. We also can’t claim that we always do it well or that we’ve figured it all out. What we’ve learned is actually already pretty famous and summed up best somewhere else. But there’s a reason why it’s called the truth. And it’s made for an extraordinary journey.
So, what is it that we have learned this first year? Well…
Love is patient and it is not self-seeking.
Love is being patient with myself as I learn how to love myself less and another more. Because it’s impossible to keep loving myself and grow more in love with another.
I once heard a preacher say that when he was a single man, he thought he was a saint. It wasn’t until after he got married that he realized just how much of a sinner he really was.
Ain’t that the truth.
The whole living for Jesus, facing my weaknesses, learning how to trust in Him, drowning in the depths of mercy and grace thing…yeah, still the same experience from when I was single. That’s a lifelong thing. However, the context has now changed. Enter marriage. There’s now another person intimately witnessing all of my ugly (and I’m witnessing all of his ugly), which only compounds all the ugliness if we keep relying solely on our own strength. Not necessarily the picture I had in mind when I dreamed about marriage as a little girl.
So, patience becomes a daily practice, first with my own weaknesses and the fact that I’m still growing in the Lord, and secondly with my husband as I extend the same grace and encouragement to him that has been so freely given to me.
Love is kind.
A kind word is worth gold. Especially on the days when you’ve just spent too many hours on the phone with an inept customer service representative and your car has broken down and needs $600+ in repairs and the delicious recipe you found on your favorite food blog is now burning in the oven and you suddenly have last-minute guests ringing your doorbell. You know, the stuff that doesn’t make it onto our Instagram accounts.
It’s in those moments that the temptation to lash out in undeserved anger is so real. To say something spiteful just for the heck of it.
But love is a choice. A choice to swim through all the miry muck of things and truly be kind to the one person who is going to stick with you through all the junk. And kindness that is sown is always reaped at least ten-fold somewhere along the way.
Love keeps no record of wrong.
This is probably one of the most important things we have learned this past year. If I truly love the man I have vowed to stay with for the rest of my life, then I cannot keep any record of (remember) wrong – neither his wrongs nor my wrongs.
It didn’t take long for either of us to figure out that we weren’t endowed with magical super powers of life-long love and undying commitment after we said “I do.” We’re still very human, and will continue to fail and make some pretty big mistakes. Eventually, the temptation to remember wrong, whether it was mine or his, will come.
But love is bigger than us and our failures. Because love is seen most perfectly in the One who is Love. And the more I gaze on the beauty of this One called Love, the more I realize I have nothing to keep track of. It never really does add up or make any sense that one so undeserving can have so much hope because of Love.
The same applies to the man I love, the one who shows me day in and day out what it means to really love one another as He first loved us.
Because the most important truth that has kept us steady through all the beauty and ashes of this year has been this…
Love never fails.
Here’s to another year and a lifetime of learning how to love well. It’s gonna be good! 😉