“Thank you both for always loving and never giving up on each other! We are so thankful!”
Powerful words tucked inside a greeting card. The author is not a clever Hallmark writer. This is a personal view of struggles—in the midst of love—from a front-row-seat-ticket-holder.
Words penetrating my soul from our daughter and son-in-law, Megan and Tyler, for our 30th Wedding Anniversary. Why thankful?—we have not parted ways when the going gets tough. And it does get tough. Our children have seen our fight for love . . . for staying together.
Thousands of wonderful, joyous moments are celebrated in our marriage. A marital bliss caption; All Smiles and Kisses. But there are other moments. Marriage in the real world has a real caption; The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly.
As a pastor and wife, we don’t have marriage perfected. Marriage is hard work among two imperfect people. We have an enemy who wants us to give up. Spiritual warfare enlists all Christ-followers as soldiers. Full-time ministry is one of the bloodiest battlegrounds. The devil desires to destroy a pastor’s marriage and family; it’s one of the big guns in his weaponry. The enemy holds arsenal for the destruction of all marriages, hoping special days never come.
On our special day we received praise from friends, “You two are a great example to many.” Words bringing pats on the back for having made it three decades. If we are examples of great, it’s a peerless act of grace in us. Perseverance on this thrilling and bumpy ride called marriage through the strength of Christ.
I am not a marriage expert. Simply a girl who started this journey in love with a young man. Thirty years later, I attribute stamina and staying power to Jesus. Therefore, I wanted to offer some thoughts on these powerful words from my daughter.
5 ways for always loving and never giving up on each other:
- Love is a choice. Feelings of love can come and go. You chose each other in the beginning. Keep choosing him. Always choose her. Choose to love. There are moments I don’t feel like loving Mike. In my mind, it is not deserved. Christ chooses to love me when it’s undeserved.
- Love is an action. Actions don’t prove “I love you” but express love. In the same way that expressions of love need to be verbal, serving your marriage partner in selfless acts is a bold statement of love. Christ loved by action—dying on a cross when we were unlovable.
- Love sees the best. Look for the best in your spouse. Despite downfalls. He was not perfect when you married him and he won’t be perfect in 5, 10, or 20 years. Love sees past mistakes, through hardships, and focuses on the person he can become with your tender acceptance of the complete package. See who he can be in Christ. Christ looks past our shortcomings and sins and loves us. A love that transforms us to be more like Him.
- Love is greater than like. We can’t always hit the “like” button in marriage. When Mike doesn’t like me in a particular instance, he assures me, “This doesn’t mean I don’t love you.” Christ loves me when I am not likable. And I am not likable—a lot. If Jesus ceased to love me every time I messed up, He would be a God of superficial love. My story is full of never-ending love from a God who loves me when others don’t like me . . . when I don’t like myself.
- Love never gives up. Marriage is a covenant. A love commitment by a man and woman before witnesses with the greatest witness the Lord God. It may seem easier to go separate ways. (By never giving up, I am not advocating to stay in any kind of an abusive situation.) Love that never gives up has staying power through the good times and bad times. Staying through the uphill climbs so the walks down the other side are sweeter than before. Jesus never gives up on us.
I’m praying my daughter’s words would become a legacy in her own marriage. Whatever your current marital status: thriving, difficult, a marriage other than your first, hope for a second chance at marriage, or have never been married but desire marriage in your future.
My prayer is the message of “always loving and never giving up” will penetrate your soul; an accomplishment in Christ’s strength who is the great example. Any pats on my back . . . on your back are because of Him.
Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. 1 Corinthians 13:7 ESV
Love never gives up. 1 Corinthians 13:4 MSG
© 2015 by Karen Friday
April 16, 2015 at 8:38 am | Uncategorized