I am certainly not an expert on the subject of love, in fact I am far from it. I am just a rather ordinary woman who’s had my share of what I thought were romances. I’ve had my share of disappointments, failures, and some outright miserable experiences too. I have mistaken some encounters as love when they were actually for some other motivation. I have used others, and I have been used by others. I have learned many things through these experiences, things that I wish that others had told me beforehand.
I think that pretty much everyone has an idea about what true love looks like. Over the next few posts we’ll examine true love. The once in a lifetime love, the very kind each of us doesn’t want to miss. But before I delve into the true once in a lifetime love discussion I think we need to talk about the pitfalls that we can face when thinking about love.
Paul gives us a glimpse of what love is and what love is not in the New Testament book of 1 Corinthians 13. Love is patient. Love is kind. Love rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things. Love believes all things. Love hopes all things. Love endures all things. Love never ends. And, now for the things that love is not – Love is not boastful, it does not envy, it is not arrogant or rude. Love does not insist on it’s own way. Love is not irritable or resentful. Love does not rejoice at wrongdoing.
I see so many remarks from women who are longing to find the right person, who long to have someone really love them, who long to be married. And what I have to say to you is, I know the longing that you have. I know how you feel. I know the ache that you are experiencing. However, don’t let those aches and longings that you have rush you headlong into a big mistake. You must take your time, you must be sure, so very sure, that the man to whom you will commit to spending the rest of your life with is the right man. You cannot have any doubts. Marriage is a huge commitment, and this covenant you make is very serious – it is between you, your spouse, and God. The Bible tells us that the only way you can break the covenant of marriage is if trust is broken thorough unfaithfulness.
First things first. Does your perspective spouse put God first? Is he committed to honoring God in all that he does? Is he kind and honest? Does he love others? Is he hard working? Is he responsible? Is he unselfish? Does he respect your wishes?
Now for some of the other stuff I wish someone had told me. Fairy tales are exactly what the name says that they are – fairy tales. Remember the fairy tales you heard when you were a child. You know the ones that said “And they lived happily ever after.” Well, be prepared. Because chances are that your everyday life with your spouse will not always be a bed of roses. Marriage is hard. Marriage is a lot of work. Marriage takes a lot of effort. You will disagree with each other. You will get tired and grumpy, and you will take it out on your spouse. You both must be willing to sit down and talk things out like reasonable adults. That doesn’t mean screaming at each other, it means talking rationally. And when it’s all talked out, be ready to offer an apology, and be ready to forgive each other.
What you see your presumed partner do before you get married is usually their best behavior, especially in the beginning of the relationship. Watch how he treats his mother, chances are if he treats her well, then he will treat you well. If your presumed partner lies to others, well then you can expect that he will lie to you. If he expects that his mother will pick up after him, guess what? He will expect that you will do the same. If you are person who likes to be on time, and he tends to always be late, you’ll most likely be late for pretty much everything. Those little things, those quirks that he has right now that you think are cute, may just drive you crazy in a few years – so be sure that you can live with them.
And, here’s a big one. Never, ever enter marriage thinking that you can change your spouse. It doesn’t work that way. The only way that your potential spouse will change his behavior is if he wants to change his behavior. You cannot make him change his behavior.
Whew! I’m so glad that I got that off of my chest. At least now I feel like we can begin to have a discussion of what true love looks like in the next few days.