Monday, February 17, 2014

Our Love Story... (& what love's got to do with it)

Even though it's been a couple of days since Valentine's day, the memories of years past still sit fresh and new.  18 years ago, we went on that first Valentine date.  But what I remember the most is the first time we met.  As a gawky 15 year old with permed hair clear down my back, I was faced with another new set of faces (and American faces at that.) Nervous and shy, I remember this cute, older guy with glasses who introduced himself as soon as he stepped in the door.  "Hi!  I'm Marty."  I'll never forget how welcomed I felt (which is rare in a teenage Sunday School class).

We were friends, more like brother & sister for at least the first eight months.  Our short lived relationship as boyfriend/girlfriend lasted an entire two weeks and three days, which included that first Valentine's day.  Our friendship remained, not the same, but still there.  But we knew later that summer that our friendship would last forever.  

He is my best friend who knows me better than I know myself. When I cry uncontrollably, he gives space, yet comforts when the time is right.  He patiently puts up with my hair-brain ideas and never says "I told you so..."  He accepts me when I fail again and again.  He lets me dream when laundry should be folded and the bathroom needs cleaning. He buys me "Hallmark" cards (even if they are from Walmart) and roses to remind me of our dating days.   

He has given me three of my favorite people in the world. These girls make any day a special day.  I may not always respond with their same enthusiasm each day, but their thrill for life inspires me.

But now that Valentine's is over... what's love got to do with it?

I always thought that the opposite of love was hate.  Yet this is not the case.  Really the opposite of love is selfishness. When we choose to love others, we sacrifice some of ourselves (sometimes more than others.)  When we choose self over anyone or anything else, there is no love.  

So when it's his turn to make the bed, pull up the covers with the pride and choose to love.  When meetings go longer than planned, shower him with kisses when he walks through the door, knowing he's working hard as an act of love.  All week the song by Warren Barfield, Love is not a Fight, has been mulling through my head.  

Love is a shelter in a raging storm
Love is peace in the middle of a war
And if we try to leave, may God send angels to guard the door
No, love is not a fight, but it's something worth fighting for

Fight for your marriages.  Love is a choice, not a feeling. Choose to love your husband above all others, including yourself.

"The success of loving is in how we change because we kept on loving - regardless of anything else changing.  The value of loving is in the value of being like Christ." - Ann Voskamp

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