We’ve all done it. We watch the Notebook, or any Nicholas Spark movie….and suddenly we turn to our spouse thinking “does he even love me?”
Or maybe you have a better grip on reality and for you it’s looking at someone else’s Facebook post, their family just built a beautiful new house or went on a weekend getaway. Their husband brought them flowers just because, they went on a date night, or whatever it is.
So you start to pick apart your marriage, have we lost the flame? Why don’t we do stuff like that? Does my husband really love me?
I do it all the time, I read a romance novel or watch a romantic movie and I yearn for that whirlwind, you’re a bird, I’m a bird romance. I wonder why my husband doesn’t bring me flowers every week or why we don’t feel compelled to ballroom dance in our house and post gushy Facebook posts all the time.
The Bible tells us that love is patient, kind, it doesn’t envy, doesn’t boast, it endures all things.
I think we make marriage into something it just isn’t, marriage is not supposed to be all consuming, it isn’t supposed to fulfill our ever desire for passion and hope. We are trying to make marriage into our Savior. We try to hold our spouses to a Christ-like idol, who should fulfill our every desire and live their lives to prove their love to us.
When we compare our marriages to the movies and to others highlight reels, we expect our spouses to be Christ. We expect them to make every right choice, to love us unconditionally, to move mountains to please us, to perform acts of kindness, selflessness, and grandeur for us. We put all of this onto our spouses. And when they fail, we wonder if they even love us at all.
I get mad at my husband so often for things I fail at daily. I get mad at him for forgetting something I have told him 100 times, for letting his phone distract him when I am trying to talk to him, for wanting something different for our life than I do. The very same things I do to Christ all the time. I expect more from my husband than I do of my own relationship with Christ most days.
What if Christ loved us like that? What if He put us in the dog house every time we missed church like a date night? If He threatened to not speak to us or give us the silent treatment when we messed up or disappointed him?
God doesn’t love us like that though. He give us so much grace, so much kindness, so much understanding. When we fail, He treats us with compassion. He has faith in us, He forgives us, and He doesn’t hold grudges. He gave us the perfect example of a Biblical marriage, one that is full of kindness, forgiveness, compassion, endurance, and faith.
When I hold my marriage to a Biblical standard instead of a movie standard, things become much more clear.
Love is patient.
My husband endures my moodswings, my inability to remember to put the towel on the rack instead of the end of the bed no matter how many times I promise to remember. He is patient with me.
Love is kind.
My husband tells me I am beautiful when I pick apart everything I hate about myself. He encourages me when I feel like I am not doing enough. He supports my hobbies and passions. He is so kind to me.
Love doesn’t envy.
My husband doesn’t get jealous, not because he doesn’t love me, but because he loves me so much that he is fully confident in our commitment to each other. He reminds me and proves to me every day in his hard work that we will reach all of our goals, when the time is right for us, we will achieve them together. My husband doesn’t envy.
Love doesn’t boast.
My husband speaks well of me to his friends. When someone asks what I do for a living and I say I work at a church, he is quick to jump in and say I am the Director of the youth and childrens ministries, he tells them that I also work freelance doing social media for a small business. He is proud of me. He doesn’t constantly post on Facebook about how perfect our life is or how great we are. My husband doesn’t boast.
Love endures all things.
My husband and I have endured quite a few hard times in our few years of marriage. We have moved 4 times in 4 years, we had our first child, we have lost and changed jobs, our daughter has been in the hospital, and most recently we have been in the midst of a pandemic. We have endured all things, maybe not always perfectly, but we have endured them and loved each other through them.
Do we do all these things at all times? No. We fall short all the time.
But we work at it. Hard. I get mad when we have the “same fights” all the time.
But then I am grateful, grateful that we are both willing to have the same conversations, both willing to talk through it again to try to find a different approach, to better understand each other. I am thankful that we are striving towards a Biblical marriage rather than a cinematic one, because that will outlast the movies and fairy tales by a long shot. Our marriage may not inspire a movie, but it will glorify God.
Marriage isn’t a fairy tale, but it is beautiful. My husband brings me coffee in the morning on the weekends, he lets me sleep in on Saturday and Sunday so I can get a break, even though he wakes up before sunrise on weekdays to go to work. He helps me with housework, he cares more about organizing our daughters toy room than I do.
He and I have been patient, resilient, and trusting each other as we grow into the adults we were meant to be. We have failed each other in so many ways, but we have tested each other, we have fought each other, but we have loved each other. After every fight, every battle, we have believed in each other and our marriage enough to keep fighting for our marriage.
We have chosen each other on the other side of every fight, and I call that faithfulness.
Fairy tales cannot hold a candle to the kind of love Jesus wants for us.
He wants us to strive to love each other the way He loves us, and we cant expect our spouse to be Jesus, because Lord knows we cannot live up to that standard either. But if we try to love each other the way Jesus taught us, and show each other the grace Jesus shows us, we can find so much beauty, so much love, so much promise in our marriages.