We celebrated our anniversary last week. Twenty-nine years of marriage. There have definitely been ups and downs through those years, but the longer we are married (and the older I get!), the more I see how marriage puts flesh to spiritual truth. Which isn’t really surprising, since Paul tells us that marriage is meant to be a picture of Christ and the church! (Ephesians 5:32)
Lately I’ve been pondering one of those spiritual truths I experienced in my marriage. You see, I went through several years where I didn’t believe my husband loved me. He never said he didn’t love me. In fact, he continually told me he did! But for some reason, I couldn’t see it. I couldn’t believe it. No matter how hard he tried, I didn’t feel loved by him. And I told him so. I flung his love back in his face, telling him it wasn’t real, that his words weren’t true.
He could have walked away. At that point, I would have let him. But he didn’t go. He keep on loving me, in word and deed, even when my mind remained firmly convinced it wasn’t so. Eventually, I realized the issue wasn’t his, but mine. And after I finally came to terms with the fact that God truly loves me–with a love so big and wide and deep that it defies imagination–I began to understand that my husband loved me, too. That, like God, he’d loved me all along–even when I didn’t recognize or feel it. Even when I declared his words to be untrue. You see, just because I didn’t believe in his love didn’t mean it wasn’t there. It was! All the time!
Not that my husband was perfect in giving and showing his love for me. He had his own issues in that arena. But even when I didn’t believe he loved me, I understand now that he still did. My disbelief did not negate the love. And isn’t that the true meaning of love anyway? That God so loved the world (a world that didn’t love Him) that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life. (John 3:16) And eternal life with God is eternal life with love, for God is love. (1 John 4:16)