Real Love?

real loveMy marriage is in trouble.

I know we’ve had our wobbles in the past.  But this week, I realised that the situation is far worse than I’d imagined.

This week, I read an article entitled, “Love – How to know it’s the Real Deal”. And – if what it says is true – then Glen and I don’t love each other. And maybe we never did.

Exhibit 1: “The moment we met, I knew. I saw him and tingled from head to toe!”

This was not my experience. No fireworks, or earth-shattering kabooms. We were friends for years before we dated.  And before that, we were – well, not friends.  On my part at least. My friend was Glen’s then girlfriend.   I told her she could “do a lot better.”  This was not a ploy to get my sweaty paws on him.  Nor was it a desperate attempt to deny an irresistible attraction.  For a long time, I Did Not Just Know. Instead of A Spark, there was A Friendship.  A Shared Love For Jesus. And then, much later, something else.

Exhibit 2: “It feels so easy…when you can’t bear to spend a moment apart and you can’t keep your hands off each other.”

Shortly before Glen told me he liked me “more than a friend,” he was deported.  To Australia.  But when the jokes ran out, we had to actually talk.  To listen.  To fill the silence with more than just snogs- and see if there was something lasting and worth holding on to, even when it was far from easy.

Exhibit 3: “You hardly ever argue, and when you do, you still don’t want them to leave you for one minute longer than they have to.”

After a humdinger of a row, it’s a stretch to share the same air space. But learning how to argue – and apologise – and compromise and change, is more important than never disagreeing.

Exhibit 4: “They mean everything to you and they give your life meaning.”

I love Glen and he loves me.  But if we’re looking to the other person for identity and purpose, they will always fall short. Glen doesn’t tell me who I am; Jesus does.  And while Glen points me to my Saviour – he’s not the same person. When our love for one another runs dry, it’s not game over. Because that love comes from outside us, and it’s built on more than our feelings, our good intentions or our anniversaries.

Last night I caught 5 minutes of a reality show in which two people were being married. The celebrant said this, “By the power of your love for one another, I now declare you husband and wife.”

I gulped.

If the power for your marriage is your love for each other, then your relationship will rise and fall on the strength of your blood-sugar. Jesus says this: “What God has joined together, let no one separate.” (Matthew 19:6) Good chemistry, good sex and good communication skills are not the glue for your marriage – God is. And in the security of His covenant binding, you can start to enjoy the things you have in common.

There’s a lot more to Real Love than pheromones. Getting the real deal means getting real about two truths – first, that you never marry the right person and second, that you always marry the right person. You never marry the right person because your spouse does not complete you – only Jesus does. You always marry the right person because, once you’re in it, so is Jesus. And He’s there for the long haul – for better and for worse.

Here’s how you know you’re in a real marriage: you face “for worse” and you experience “for poorer” and you suffer “in sickness” and you feel like you just can’t do it. But standing above you is an Almighty Joiner and He says this: “Don’t bail. This isn’t a mistake. This is the Real Deal.”

9 thoughts on “Real Love?

  1. 1. Friendship must come first. I think it was Shakespeare who spoke of the deepest, lasting love, being defined as the ‘marriage of the minds’ – something which grows as a result of man and woman drawing closer, and that’s often hard.

    2. Genuine marriage must include honoring each other, and that means helping the other be and become more of what they are intended to be, not smothering them.

    3. Life is going to provide a plethora of bumps, and we’ll generate plenty more, so even the best of marriages are going to face hard days.

    4. True love (the love of God) facilitates and furnishes point 2 – not easy, but necessary.

    “the security of His covenant binding, you can start to enjoy the things you have in common”. Spot on. And here’s a song on love, that points in the right direction:

  2. Thanks so much Jen, it’s an honour!
    I’m juggling baby stuff at the moment so might take me a while to reply, but I’ll do my best.

  3. Thanks Emma, this is vital stuff: highly counter-cultural, pulls no punches, and deeply profound. I wonder if the “reality show” was the wedding in Vegas from The unDateables Two Weddings and a Baby which we watched the other evening?!

  4. I guess I’m not in love either.

    Whoops. Don’t tell the kids.

    What a crazy article. Especially the no arguing bit. Was it written by someone working on their 47th “relationship” or something?

    If you can’t have serious conflict with your nearest and dearest then I question if you’re even alive.

    As iron sharpens iron…

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