Is it just me, or has Valentines Day become more and more of a hyper-sexualized obsession for our culture? I guess I shouldn’t be surprised, as everything in the media seems to be going that way. And for sure, sex and romance are a legitimate and blessed part of a healthy marriage. But when it is glorified to be seen as being all there is to marriage, then I think we can be deceived to believe that, well, that is all there is to marriage.
As Cindy and I enter our “empty nest” season of marriage and as I walk alongside men who are entering this same season, I find that this over emphasis upon the sex and romance creates unrealistic expectations that neither husband nor wife can fulfill.
When Cindy and I were married 35 years ago we adopted the Carpenter’s song, “We’ve Only Just Begun” as our lifelong theme song. It was a great song that we interpreted to mean that no matter how long we are married we will be able to say “we’ve only just begun” because we have entered a covenant with an Eternal Partner, the Lord Himself.
But as I think about what being married has taught me about God’s love for me and Cindy, I can honestly say that “I, not just we, have only just begun!” Every time I come to a place when I am called to love my wife and she is not able to reciprocate, every time I must understand, even if I am not understood, every time I try to lead but am not followed, I get a new taste of Christ’s love. This isn’t criticism of Cindy, but simply the reality of a husband trying to learn to love as He loves.
“I’ve only just begun” to learn of God’s love that He poured out so lavishly upon me through the cross. I have only just begun to love responsively to His eternal love for me rather than to love in a way where I only love reactively according to how I am first loved by my wife. I have only just begun to plumb the depths of His love that desires to be loved but never demands it in return. Now this is a kind of love that is worth obsessing over!
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