I recently had a dear friend ask me to write about marriage after the roses and butterflies stage. You know, the days when you’re not in love with love but the quirky personality you call husband?
Honestly, this has been a huge learning experience for me. Over the course of our (almost) two years of marriage I’ve discovered that I am a very selfish person: I love to be loved. And without knowing it, I can allow my love to be based on how well Dalton is loving me and how much I’m enjoying his love.
(Ew, can that really be me? it is these moments when I cry out with Jeremiah, “Our hearts are deceitful and desperately wicked, who can know it?“)
Thankfully, my Abba Daddy does not let me remain in my selfish, inherent love for love. He knows my deceitful, selfish heart and He loves me through it. He challenges my heart to learn to love people not because of how their love makes me feel but for who they are in themselves.
Loving people past the feelings of satisfaction they give us is something we as Christians must let Christ work in our hearts.
Our homes, marriages, churches and relationships depend on it.
The best way for me to describe loving someone simply for who they are is to tell you a little bit of how my husband loves me.
(Because he loves me with a tremendous, Christ-like love every day and I am honored and changed because of it’s consistent presence.)
- He loves me for me and not for my physical prowess, beauty, smarts or talents.
I am not always beautiful, genius or elegant. In fact, my personality is the kind which takes more interest in the quirky, dry and unique then in the traditional, stunning ideas of beauty. I have zits, fluff and get tongue-tied far more then I like. 😉
But Dalton loves me anyways. He delights in who I am regardless of the state of my hair or the number the scale shows. He’s one of those people who would love me, care for me and treasure me even if I were burned tremendously and lost my limbs. His love is not shallow.
- He loves me when I’m sinning
Dalton loves me even during the moments where I am full of sin. I’ve argued, gossiped, complained, belittled, disrespected and dishonored this man. Yet, despite it all, he loves me even while I’m sinning. His love is not conditional.
- He loves me when I am destructive
There are times when I let my insecurities, anxieties, fears and past experiences make me destructive. Have you ever fallen into a pit of despair resulting in a hatred of everything you are and represent? Me too.
The best thing is when you have a person who sees you in all your misery yet stands by your side. These people remind you of who you are in Christ and what He has accomplished in and through you. Dalton is this person; even when I’m destructive he stands by me loving me. His love is not afraid to stand up to my bullies.
- He loves me into forgiveness
Because Dalton loves me he loves me into forgiveness. As Dalton’s sister-in-Christ he does not turn a blind eye to my sin but confronts, lovingly, the sin I stumble in. His love is not condemning but life-giving. He points me to my Savior’s promise of forgiveness, sanctification and grace. His love is heaven-minded.
Loving someone past the roses and butterflies stage requires you to face their faults, ugliness, sinful nature and destructiveness and love them in spite of it.
Loving someone means loving them for who they are and not for how they make you feel.
Because if my husband based his love for me on how I made him feel he’d have left a long time ago.
Honestly, this is the kind of love we should exhibit for all our relationships. It can be challenging to love our friends, coworkers, church family for who they are and not for how they make us feel but it is necessary.
Let’s be a people who are known for enlarged hearts and love the person and not love itself.
With love, blessings and coffee,