so often it is the simple way of serving that nourishes the heart on the deeper levels.
i watch him stand on the chair, fixing the slight curtain rod above the crib, only $10 at target, that the littles thought would be a good pull up bar. i have been staring at the bent rod for several weeks, hoping at some point to get around to fixing it.
after a long day, i asked if he could take a look and he easily fixes it - easily deals with what has been bugging my mind for weeks. working on these details of broken things in the house overwhelm me and make me feel small and ignorant. his willingness to easily fix what would have taken me built up determination and drive draws forth love in a way that a dozen roses may have not stirred.
and my heart takes a deep exhale as one more thing is checked of the never-ending list of things to do that i know i will never catch up on.
so often people enter marriage with a grandiose idea of what they can gain instead of what they can give away.
we vow for better or for worse, for richer or for poorer, in sickness and in health, in good times and in bad - though the newer trend of writing one's own vows may slight our perspective that there WILL be bad times in a long-lasting marriage - and yet somehow we think of these as big abstract promises instead of the little nitty gritty daily life details.
i will love you when you spent the last of the money for the month and didn't give me the receipts so we now have overdraft fees (and i won't even try to make you feel incredibly small over it).
i will love you when you woke up on the wrong side of the bed and spoke snappy at me and didn't even appreciate the coffee or scrambled eggs i made you (and i won't go off on you pointing out all that i do for you that you never notice).
i will love you when you are too sick to get out of bed and it means i have more work to do with taking care of kids, work, home life, and don't get the break and fellowship that i was looking forward to after a long day (and i will keep the kids quiet so you can sleep, get you a glass of water, pray for you to feel better, and am truly sympathetic instead of mulling in self-pity at my extra work load).
i will love you when every conversation we have ends in misunderstanding and it seems like i married a stranger instead of my best friend (and i won't try to escape and go slam the door in frustration and anger, but stay in the awkward moments of misunderstanding praying for courage to choose the low road instead of defending myself).
i will love you when it looks like simple service (and keep my mouth from complaining but serve with a happy heart as unto the Lord).
we make long-winded romantic sounding promises in the heat of our passion. when the passion fades and we are called to walk out those binding commitments, do we have the courage to say "i do" every day, sometimes every moment, and lay down our wants and desires to love with the unselfish love that we once thought would just easily come spilling out?
these small ways - which really are the big ways - of laying down our lives are what makes our spouse fall in love with us all over again.
these little ways of denying ourselves - the fixing of a curtain rod - are what long-lasting marriages are made of.
marriage is not about what we can get, but what we can give. it isn't about how much love we keep, but how much we pour out.
greater love has no man than this: that he lay down his life for his friend.
He even laid it down for His enemy.
the invitation stands: do we want to learn to love like Him?
can we learn to say "i do" when we are no longer standing at the altar, but in the thick of real life?
what if it isn't two-sided? what if you are the only one attempting to lay down your life for your spouse and he/she isn't doing a thing (that you can see)? does the Lord's invitation to loving as He loves remain, or is it only for when love is returned?