I’m ashamed to admit it but I really enjoy weddings – it doesn’t feel very manly to say so. I enjoy them because they remind me of our wedding and the words Selena and I vowed to uphold (I’m a lousy dancer, so the receptions are awkward at best).
Sitting there, witnessing another couple proclaim their love and devotion refreshes in my mind the emotion I felt on that day. It’s a mountaintop experience for the couple, and it’s an honor to celebrate with them.
“…to have and to hold, from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, until death do us part.”
The bride and groom recite these weighty words eye-to-eye, before dozens of friends and family members, and before God. They are among the most important words a man or woman will speak in their lifetime.
…Well, that was short lived
Sometimes it’s hard to remember those words we committed to. Rigors of life mound and overwhelm while your spouse’s annoying habits nag until your patience is paper-thin. Their tone of voice carries that scientifically-proven, anger-inducing frequency. With every word, your simmering annoyance rolls into a boiling anger.
Then, when you’ve had enough frustration, add some more! Finances fall short, the yard is in shambles, the house is a mess, and why hasn’t he changed the oil in the car yet??! She’s using that annoying voice again, he won’t stop playing Call of Duty, she bought ANOTHER pair of shoes, and he NEVER puts the toilet seat down(!!!!).
Remember that thing you said?
“…for better, for worse…”
This may be the “worse” part you were talking about. Sometimes the pain goes further than annoyance and perhaps there is a deep emotional hurt or behavioral problem with your spouse. By and only by God’s grace, can we love our spouse through unloveable situations.
The thrill is gone, love remains
Love is a word often used to describe marriage. Does anyone else find it peculiar that the word “love” isn’t mentioned in the vows? While “love” may not be explicitly stated, it’s there. Most marriage vows describe behaviors enabled only by selfless love. This is the most fulfilling, most reliable, and purest type of love.
There is no better time to actually love your spouse than when you don’t feel it. When we stood at the altar, felt the flood of emotions, and vowed to love each other, we were stepping into a commitment to act out love itself. You weren’t committing to feel love, but rather to be a continual giver of love toward your spouse.
Christ displays ultimate love in the garden the night before his death:
“Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from me. Nevertheless, not my will, but yours, be done.” – Luke 22:42
He absolutely didn’t want to carry the cross. He didn’t want everything that came with it; the pain, the shame, and the separation from the Father. Jesus was pleading for God to release him from the task. Yet he willingly and selflessly died for us; showing in action, the deepest love the world has ever known.
The awesome power of selfless love
When the emotion of love fades and the pain is too great, it’s our opportunity to show the purest form of love: selfless love. Not only will you be showing your spouse real love, it profoundly impacts them and soften your hearts in the process. Soon this love will grow and be reciprocated between you, and mature into a new level of emotion and romance.
Selfless love transforms people in a way unlike anything else. When we love each other selflessly, we emulate the love of Christ. When we love like Christ – which is only possible through the power of the Holy Spirit – we literally bring heaven to earth and we are the hands and feet of Jesus.
Next time you feel on edge and at your wit’s end with your spouse, remember your vows. Remember the words you spoke on your wedding day, and then remember the love Jesus showed us at the cross. The same Spirit that strengthened Jesus can strengthen you and allow you to love your husband/wife selflessly and fully.