True love. I have seen it, but it isn’t where you might think.
After almost fifteen years of ministry, I have seen a bloody trail of mutilated marriages.
Children confused and lost. Adults betrayed and abandoned. I have seen countless bitter, broken people so shattered they wonder if they could ever be put back together again. Almost every destroyed marriage began with a tender kiss, loving hugs, and dreams of a wonderful future. Then in the wake of a broken world all that “love” melts away.
I don’t see love anymore when a young couple comes into my office to talk about marriage.
As they sit across my desk sharing sweet comments, holding hands, and telling me how they just “fell in love,” I smile and think, you have no idea what love is… Don’t get me wrong, it’s sweet and can be fertile ground for real love to grow, but they don’t know love yet. You don’t fall in love; it’s built with blood, sweat, and tears, over time. Love’s structure rests on covenant, and isn’t refined until that covenant is tested by time and the fires of life.
Then when all is stripped away, love remains…
When all is stripped away, when there is no more sex, no more young beauty, no more exciting vacations, no more health, and no more wealth. There with everything stripped away, I have seen glimpses of love. Though I have seen the beginning stages of love in young couples, I have only actually seen real love in the elderly, the ones who have been to war and back relationally. The ones who have lost it all and somewhere in the midst of the chaos through the years, they uncovered something so much more valuable than anything material.
They found love.
On the bed of long held sacred covenants I have seen these old couples delight in something that the young don’t understand at all. The cost of that marriage, all the work, all the years, all the struggles have produced such a pure beautiful gift. Love, abiding and unshakable.
Can you see it?
Real love takes time to be birthed. It’s guardrail is the covenant they’ve made AND kept, and it’s value is found in years of deep sacrifice.
This is the love Christ didn’t just demonstrate, but asks us to mimic in our marriages.
Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her.
The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2001). (Eph 5:25a). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.