On my friend’s son’s wedding day, he recalled the first time that the spirit of God’s unselfish love entered the wedding couple’s hearts and souls. It was at their baptisms. And from all the days, from those days to this, how God’s grace nurtured that love until it matured into the rich fullness, that allowed them to vow to each other, to share that love for the rest of their lives.
Love is less about moonlight & balconies, and more about patience and acceptance – sharing all that we are and have, asking nothing in return. Today’s culture promotes the selfishness of “What’s in it for me?” Asking “What’s in it for me?” is a selfishness that calcifies the heart – a pride that suffocates the ability to forgive.
The mantra of the movie “Love Story’ was, “Being in love is never having to say you’re sorry.” That’s nonsense. All relationships require forgiveness. “Forgiveness is the fragrance that the violet sheds on the boot that crushed it.” Couples blessed with tenderness of heart, write their hurts in sand, and record the kindness shown to them, in stone. They will never know bitterness.
Surrendering the need to be right eliminates many needless arguments and bitterness. The need to be right is oft the common denominator concerning fights over money, sex, child rearing, etc. It’s more about pride, and less about solutions. Clinging to the need to be right tears the fabric of love.
The opposite of love is not hate. Hate is love hurt. The opposite of love is indifference. Indifference is the cold life-less vacuum in which love withers & dies. Hate hurts & harms. Indifference destroys.
Love is not conditional. It’s not, “I’ll love you if you’re rich… if you’re famous…if you’re sexy.” Unselfish love allows couples to enjoy each other just the way they are, without conditions. Unconditional love allows couples to treat the inevitable, “For better or worse, for richer or poorer, in sickness and in heath” as temporary inconveniences.
On my friend’s 45th wedding Anniversary, he and his wife renewed their 50/50 marriage vows. Only those vows are very different from the customary understanding of a 50/50 relationship. They vowed to give 100% of themselves to each other. Mathematically, their marriage is 50/50, but their relationship is much more than half-hearted. So, if someone gives less than 100%, there is plenty of reserve for the relationship to thrive.
When couples do all those things, they experience the lyrics of a popular song: “To support each other to stand on mountains, to comfort each other during stormy seas, and to encourage each other to become all that they can be.” Do that and forgive the exceptions.
So, love is counter-intuitive. It doesn’t ask “What’s in it for me?” “Love is less about “Moonlight and Balconies”, and more about patience and acceptance. It’s sharing who we are, asking nothing in return. Love has no conditions. Surrenders the need to be right. And loves one another, as God loves us.”
The “Toasts” at my friend’s son’s Wedding and at my friend’s 45th Wedding Anniversary were a “Blessing”:
“May the road rise up to meet you. May the wind always be at your back.
May the sun shine warm on your face, and the rain fall soft on your fields.
And for the rest of your wedded life, May God hold you in the palm of His Hand.”
(These same principles apply to all relationships, between: parents and children, brothers and sisters, friends and neighbors, and “Man” and God.)