My husband and I were married on May 8, 2015. It still feels like yesterday!
Into our fourth year of marriage, I still fall more in love with my husband everyday. I am so grateful that he CHOSE me to be his wife. While our relationship sounds like a cliche romance, I have found that marriage is hard but joyful and exhausting but fulfilling all at the same time.
People go into marriages thinking it should be easy and that is a feeling not an action or choice. It’s no wonder that over 50% of marriages end in divorce. This is the world’s idea of romantic love, as superficial as it can get.
Personally, I went into our marriage with a human view of love. I believed that love was conditional, based on something I had to do to receive love. How could I be worthy of love if I didn’t have something to show for it first? I would hold on to false expectations of what it meant to be a “beautiful” woman so that I had something to give my husband so that he would keep loving me. When we’d have an argument or I didn’t feel like I was good enough, I couldn’t accept or believe him when he told me he loved me. When I felt like I let myself down, I’d treat him like I let him down and push him away, not understanding how anyone could love me if I didn’t even love myself.
This view of love rooted my identity in worldly things and not the truth of the Gospel and it was having an impact on my health (physically and mentally), my marriage, and my relationships.
I knew something had to change and God seemed to keep putting His words of love in my path for me to hear: from my husband, from the sermons at church, from our time in women’s group. He kept telling me “Haley, there is more than this. There is freedom in accepting love and not trying to earn it. Just accept that love is bigger than you and what you think your shortcomings are.” And he led me to the word.
So how is God’s love different from our flawed human ideas of love? God’s love is not based on merit: it is enduring. No matter what happens, nothing can separate us from His love. It is sacrificial; he love us so much that he sent His only son to die on the cross for our sins. It is steadfast and unmovable; the Holy Spirit gives us assurance of His love for us. And it is for everyone; for whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.
The way to find the true meaning of God’s love is in the Gospel. It shows us God’s love and frees us to experience the transforming love intended for us without fear of having to be good enough and frees us to love others in the same freeing way.
“The Gospel is this: We are more sinful and flawed in ourselves than we ever dared believe, yet at the very same time we are more loved and accepted in Jesus Christ than we ever dared hope.” -Timothy Keller.
As we understand who God is and the infinite love He has for us, we realize that there is nothing we can do, or not do, to change how God loves us. Each day we have a choice to either live in the shadow of fear, or align ourselves with the love of God.