There's a commercial I've seen this Valentines season that says something to the effect of, "Valentines Day isn't about 'I love you,' it's about 'I love us'." Valentines Day is a day about romance and love. It's a little idealistic, especially when you consider all the implications of true love.
Not long ago I reconnected with an old friend on Face Book. I met him and his wife over 18 years ago and they were very much "in love". They are no longer together. Good Christian people both of them. I've found quite a few long lost friends through Face Book and many of them have called it quits on marriage.
It would seem that love, at least the romantic kind, is not all you need.
I met my wife, Teri, in September of 1977. We were married in July 1978. We were very much "in love". More than 32 years later we are still together, and still "in love". And while the romance has ebbed and flowed, the love has remained constant. It's been hard work, but worth every tear.
The two best pieces of advice I ever received on marriage both came from grandfathers, men who knew the value of commitment and hard work, especially when it came to marriage. My grandfather told me, "A lot of people will tell you that marriage is 50-50. It's not. It's 100-100."
And during the celebration of their 50th wedding anniversary Teri's grandfather told me, "That's a long time to spend with one woman."
Determination and endurance are crucial to a succesful marriage. The kind of will required to sustain a marriage is an act of the will. God ordained marriage largely as an example of His love for us in Jesus. And so it would do us well to consider how He views the institution. On the night before Jesus went to the cross, which was necessary to make the relationship with us possible, Jesus sweated blood. That should give us an idea of the level of consideration marriage deserves.
Andrew Peterson compares marriage to dancing in a minefield. His song Dancing In The Minefields says it better in three and a half minutes than I could in an entire book. Marriage, like Jesus' love for us, is about sacrifice. The Gospel is full of paradox, like "to find your life you have to lose it." It kind of complicates the relationship that so often starts off with the promise of romance. But, as Andrew says in the song, "that's what the promise is for."
We'll be taking your calls on Valentine's Day about your marriage and mine field experiences. Hope to hear from you on J93.3. You can listen live on http://www.j933.com/.