We all enter relationships with expectations, whether we are conscious of it or not. Some come from all the movies, books, and TV we've been exposed to over the years, that have woven romantic ideas of what love is into our hopes for our relationships. Some come from the families we grew up in. We watched the adults around us and learned relational dynamics from them (either what we would do or what we would NEVER do). All that to say that when we join another person into the covenant of marriage, we enter with a very heavy set of assumptions about what our life is going to be like.
And then reality sets in. The honeymoon is over and the demands of life slowly start encroaching on the dream. We can find ourselves looking around and wondering how we got here. How did we get to snapping at each other after too many nights of no sleep? When did we become the couple who is so tired at night that we don't even have the energy to talk, much less the passion to make out? What happened to the guy who looked at me and saw the most amazing woman ever created? And where is the girl who used to feel electricity just from a look? With that focus, it's easy to become disillusioned and discouraged and to want to give up. But our verse this week reminds us that love does the exact opposite of that. It NEVER gives up. Love...real love...stays with us til the end. It's forever. It's the ordinary day-to-day love that meets us in the middle of the worries, demands, and hard times. It's the type of love that is with you, really with you regardless of the messy hair bun and pj days, the sleepless nights, the breakfast/lunch/dinner routine, and the third day of no showering. That, my friends, is the type of love I'm interested in. But it also seems impossible, right? Without intention, practice, and lots of prayer, it can be.
We believe that God has a better plan for us than the expectations we bring into marriage. We believe holiness and healing are found in the realness of life as we open our relationships to God. This can look very different for each couple because relationships are unique. But this week we'd like to offer some starting points. Start your day with the meditation or use it right before you are going to interact with your spouse. Listen to the song this week and ask God to help you to see all His gifts to you in the everyday. Continue practicing the challenge (don't worry if you haven't started yet. You can begin today!). Pay attention to when you are getting annoyed or frustrated and intentionally do an act of love (this can be as simple as praying for your partner to be filled with love and joy, or just imagine them smiling). Take time at the end of the day to identify one thing your spouse did to show you love. Receive it with thanks.
Real relationships last because love doesn't give up. Because when we are feeling like we want to give up, we go to God, get filled up on His Love for us (listen to the playlist and hear God sing those songs to you!!) and we remember that God could have given up on us so many times. But He didn't. In fact, in our ugliest moments, His beauty and love were chasing us. That's a reality I want to be a part of.