Love. Let’s be honest, loving your spouse is not always an easy choice. Sometimes it is a choice based on obligation to your vows. If only love were as easy as a Disney movie, unfortunately too many people come into marriage with that mindset. I love you, let’s ride into the sunset together. But when they are faced with what comes after the wedding couples crumble under the pressure of having to actively make the choice to love their spouse. Rather they let their heart lead their mind, placing marriage in a compromising position.
There are days when Clay is under my skin and everything he does bothers me. Stop touching me, stop looking at me, stop breathing. Those are the days when I just want to be alone.. but I am married and my obligation is to my husband. Most days our lifelong commitment is a comfort, knowing that no matter what I do or say he is stuck with me. But, there are those moments when it seems daunting. For the rest of my life I will have him by my side, and that means for the rest of my life I will have to constantly make the choice to love my husband, whether I want to or not. Good days and bad days, days I want to be alone and days I’m stressed, days he is driving me insane and days where I feel undesired; I will always have to make the choice to love him.
That is unconditional love. That is marriage. That is the promise we made to each other “to have and to hold, from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, till death do us part”. Unless my eyes deceive me those vows don’t include “Whether I like you that day, only when I’m happy, only when you treat me well, and if I’m not really feeling it anymore, well, sorry but I’m done”. Marriage isn’t conditional, it isn’t merely friendship, it is an incomparable bond and choosing to love your wife or husband every day says “I choose YOU every moment because you matter to me”. Marriage isn’t a phase and it is no less permanent than the unchangeable relationship you share with blood. I can never say to my sister she and I are no longer related. My mother will always be my mother, as will my father and siblings. While you may not share genetics with your spouse, your title as wife or husband is not revoked based on how you feel, just as family is always your family.
Love is oftentimes thought synonymous with easy, if that were true then we would never get angry, frustrated, hurt or affronted with one another. It would always be a simple task to choose to do things for one another, to lay our life down for each other in marriage. But the effort is what sets marriage apart from other relationships. If it were easy it wouldn’t be special, it wouldn’t say ‘You are worth my effort and sacrifice’. Clay may irritate the snot out of me, but as my husband he deserves my forgiveness and mercy, and for me to make the choice to love him regardless of how I feel in that moment. I don’t recall Jesus saying “Yo world, peace out, save yourselves. I ain’t ’bout this life” just because they were mean to him. Shoot, he was CRUCIFIED and still chose to love us. That is the example marriages should emulate. The complete sacrifice of ourselves and unrelenting passion that can’t be shaken so easily as the 60% of marriages that fail today.
Love is more than the kiss of a sleeping princess or a glass slipper. It is nowhere near flawless, it is nothing even remotely simple and it is constant. A constant decision to let your mind guide your heart, using wisdom over emotion and choosing love in every scenario. Love is patient, love is kind, love is not proud and it is certainly not easy.