To love her like Christ. To love him in return. To love in totality it all comes down to choice.
There is this quote that I placed in J and I’s vow renewal at twenty years.
I hope everyone is smushing their face into the face of someone they love rolling around in bedsheets and laughing uncontrollably. Love is the most important thing we will ever give to another person so give as much as you can for as long as you can. Tyler Kent White
Start with prayer. Ask God to help you where you are challenged, where you stop short in giving to one another. Set a one phrase prayer intention. “I’ll laugh at your jokes.” “I’ll give my life and energy toward us.”
Focus the energy you have today on building connection. Choose one another. The power of choice in your relationship is so strong.
Joshua 24:15 NLT
“But if you refuse to serve the LORD, then choose today whom you will serve. Would you prefer the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates? Or will it be the gods of the Amorites in whose land you now live? But as for me and my family, we will serve the LORD .”
Have you felt him choose you? Have you seen her choose you? If this is necessary with God how much more with one another.
Assess your choices recently. Try and do so without judgement. Love isn’t fair and it certainly isn’t a game. This love you are building is a covenant. The most common understanding of covenant is an agreement. It’s each of you with a love that doesn’t leave, saying I’ll stay. I’m here. I’m home when I’m with you. We agree.
How are you using your time? Look at your calendar closely. Be intentional with your time. This comes down to letting your friendships outside of one another be for enrichment but not above one another. The drama and general energy given outside your time together can erode the foundation you are building. You have an agreement to choose one another above others and before others. Let love’s vitality lead your decisions. When Jared and I were in our first year he had a practicum which took a huge slice of time away from us. He also had a commute included as well. Although it wasn’t ideal we both agreed it was short term and wouldn’t become the new normal for us. Together we could endure. When you have a season like this ahead I encourage you to plan a getaway or something beyond the tough space. When Fall is especially full for us we are extra intentional about how we will divide the Holiday season. Understanding that we each need to feel intoxicated with the idea of what is coming.
Tim Keller has a great book on marriage I recommend and in it he outlines this principle of choice.
“In any relationship, there will be frightening spells in which your feelings of love dry up. And when that happens you must remember that the essence of marriage is that it is a covenant, a commitment, a promise of future love. So what do you do? You do the acts of love, despite your lack of feeling. You may not feel tender, sympathetic, and eager to please, but in your actions you must BE tender, understanding, forgiving and helpful. And, if you do that, as time goes on you will not only get through the dry spells, but they will become less frequent and deep, and you will become more constant in your feelings. This is what can happen if you decide to love.”
― The Meaning of Marriage: Facing the Complexities of Commitment with the Wisdom of God
The goal is constancy in your feelings for one another. In the beginning you have the euphoric excitement of love. This is a must. You must be wild for one another. However in the twenty years with J my vow renewal went like this:
I have loved, do love, and will love you Jared Ryan. Lover in depth and form. I have brushed your shoulders like an art of male and female we have held one another’s body. I have kept my word in these twenty years. I have chosen you again and again. I chose you in the start and the bubbly foam of beginning. And I now choose you in the aged cask of wine’s fermentation. Smooth bold and strong with earthen notes of effort and weathered commitment.
Resolve he is home to me. She is home to me.
Listen: what part, concept, or segment stands out?
Understand: How have you seen God help your love in the strength of resolve under pressure?
Do THIS: take action. Commit to serving each other today with the posture of choice. This could be planning a weekend together or a date day. How about creating a morning FaceTime, coffee, etc or finding ways to stay connected in a tightly scheduled week.