I ran across this Huffington Post article the other day: I Didn’t Love My Wife When We Got Married. The writer is an orthodox Jew, but no, that doesn’t mean that he is writing about being pushed into an arranged marriage or anything. Rather, he writes about the difference between the intense emotions he felt when he got married and the deeper, truer love he feels for his wife when he serves her and acts for her good, regardless of how he feels day to day.
Mr. Nehorai strikes on something very true and very important about love. We romanticize love in our culture and think that it’s about the fireworks and the pie in the sky and the burning feelings inside us. True love is rarely about those things, and really has much more to do with what we do than how we feel. Mr. Nahorai, being a Jew, doesn’t touch on the most significant and important example of true love, which is found in the redeeming work of Jesus. Knowing full well what it would cost him, and knowing full well how desperately we needed him, he sacrificed everything. Make no mistake – that didn’t feel good. It wasn’t fireworks and romance and pie in the sky. It was painful, it was harsh, it was difficult. But he did it anyway. For us. That’s love.
There’s an example for us there. We live out love when we have that kind of sacrifcial love for our spouses. But chances are that you won’t have many opportunities to sacrifice your life for your spouse. But you will have opportunities day after day to live for your spouse. Jesus does that for us too. He rose for us, and lives for us and works for our good day after day. What’s more, he does so despite our constant unfaithfulness. He could just decide we’re not worth it, that our betrayal is every reason to just give up on us. But he doesn’t. He forgives, he restores, and he helps. That’s true love.
We can respond with thanks and love to him. We can also respond by reflecting his love in our lives, starting with our own spouses, by living for each other day after day.