And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.
-1 Corinthians 13:13
I'm feeling nostalgic about my husband. It's the result of several things happening at once in my life. First, Morgan and I are speaking at a marriage retreat this weekend, so of course, I'm dwelling on all the reasons our love is bringing life to our souls. Then yesterday I had a few extra minutes before a meeting, so I went into Hallmark and looked at some cards about marriage and friendship. Hallmark knows what they're doing, man. I left there with cards I didn't know I needed and a new found tenderness about life-in-general.
But the thing undoing my heart the most is this: Morgan and I are stressed and strained with too many responsibilities in this current season, and we are clinging to each other. The storms of life can drive you apart or together, and we have found that together is a lot of hard work, but always preferable.
When we met twenty-two year ago, I would never have guessed we would end up like this.
Back then I was just eighteen and he was nineteen, and like all good American college freshmen, we knew everything important about life except the actual important things.
We were at a mutual friend's apartment. He was sitting by his cute girlfriend, playing guitar, and thinking nothing particularly nice about me. (Actually, he was thinking the really short shorts I paired with an overtly Christian sweatshirt indicated some Spirit/flesh hypocrisy on my part. I think he judged me and so God made him marry me later. Let that be a warning to all the earnest single men of the world.)
Basically, it was more disinterest at first glance than love at first sight.
But friendship grew, he broke up with his girlfriend, and somehow, we became favorite friends for six years despite my morally questionable California style.
There are many reasons and factors that added up to six years of heart blindness. But the truth of the matter is that waiting is easy compared to choosing forever.
It takes courage to look at another person and believe his words that say "yes" when your insecurity fears there is a "no" lurking around the corner.
My mind knows he loves me, he will never leave me, and he is my forever love. But it has taken time, and a lot of hard work in my soul, for the dull and dusty ruts of fear to sprout and grow with the seeds of love.
A ministry that no one thinks can survive, a campus no one thinks will be reached, a church that is limping after a long history of trials, a girl who fears she is not worthy of love. These are the kinds of things he chooses. It is a mercy that this man of mine has an eye for a lost cause, a diamond in the rough, and a massive challenge all rolled into one.
I will always be glad I waited for the best person and the right moment to let love bloom. Mostly because waiting while we were single was good practice for all the waiting we have had to do while married. All of life is pregnant with expectation, and the best joys take time to fully develop before they can be born fully alive in our lives.
Fifteen years of marriage, and we are still often waiting on love. We can hope for it and have faith that God will fill us with it, because love wraps itself around us and fills us to the brim the very purposes of God.
And in the end, the thing that makes us most tender, most in love with each other, and most fulfilled in our daily life is the closeness of our God. He is the one who has eternal patience with us, loving us in our mess and brokenness, and bringing people to us for the simple purpose of exalting love in the world like a triumphant banner of victory. (Even if we are sporting some too-short shorts.)