Saturday, February 8, 2014

Still New - Day 1, National Week of Marriage

I sometimes forget I'm a newlywed. Caught up in new motherhood, my awareness of the newness of my marriage fades. Then a moment comes along that catches me by surprise and immerses me in it once again.

My husband and I have been married for 1 year and 4 months. That still qualifies as newlywed, right? I certainly believe it does. We are still learning. That is what I have to remind myself so often as I attempt to balance all sides of this life we are living together. Learning to love, learning to live as one. Learning to rejoice and to forgive. Learning to fight and to make up. Well, maybe we have the making up part down fairly well. Learning to laugh at ourselves and with each other. Learning to challenge and accept. Learning to wait and to work.

With each passing month, I gain a deeper appreciation for how our strengths and weaknesses offset each other. Matt does not make me whole. No, only my Lord does that and I will wound my marriage every time I try to fit my husband in that role instead of Christ. But Matt does complement me, and I him. Together we are stronger, wiser, better.

Love is amazing. It is awesome. I mean that in the true sense of the word, not the trite way we usually toss it around. Awesome - filling me with awe when I contemplate the way it can build a person up to more than they ever thought they could be. Or how it can inflict pain, even unintentionally, when it is sacrificed for the sake of self interest. The power in the nature of authentic love is massive. Every day people sell themselves short with their conceptions of what they should gain or feel or experience in the name of so-called love. And God just keeps giving us more chances. More days. Each one an opportunity to let the truth dawn on us that real love is possible. It is available. We are capable of it and we were created to receive it.

Real love. Another phrase we can't simply assume we understand. God is love. All human love is a share in the life of God. If something has no place in God, who is all truth, all beauty, all goodness, then it is not real love. There is no standard lower than that which should be applied to love.

Real love manifests itself in endless forms. Faithfulness - from our very thoughts to our outright actions, not merely avoiding unfaithfulness but dedicating yourself to falling more in love with your spouse by noticing the good, complimenting the beautiful, encouraging the potential in the other. Self-sacrifice - in the daily grind of taking care of the home, working long hours to support your family, putting the other first in even the smallest ways so you will be well practiced when the time comes to put them first in a big way. Joy - celebrating the presence of the other in your life, praising God for them, thinking each day of a reason to be thankful for them rather than taking them for granted. Affection - touch with intentionality, kiss with purpose instead of absentmindedly, learn each other's bodies and desires as lovers, small caresses and deep intimacy. Forgiveness - always forgiveness. Without hesitation, every day we have together, forgive. No grudge, no 'holding out' will make you or your marriage better. Fight respectfully and forgive generously. Prayer - lift your spouse and your marriage up to God. Let Him tend to it, guide it, form it, The two of you are never alone in this relationship.

I love my husband. As a new wife, I am still learning how to really love my husband.

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