What real love looks like.

real love

I kind of want to piggy back off of my March Book Pick and talk about love and marriage today and what I know for sure.

So first off, I’ve got a couple of notes on singleness and dating, which I oddly didn’t spend a ton of time doing, so I don’t have much to say, then I’m gonna preach about marriage for a minute. But if you’re married, don’t skip over the other parts, and if you’re single, don’t skip the married part, I think we all have a lot to learn from each other, no matter the phase of life.Singleness is hard. Especially when you feel like everyone else around you is paired off. Singleness can also be fun, and a great time to reflect and think about what you really want. I get that my perception is skewed, because I met and started dating Brad at 16. In the words of my sister, “Keeley, you don’t get it,” Referring to the fact that I didn’t have to really deal with dating. I certainly didn’t deal with dating apps and social media. But, I do know a few things. I want you to know that everyone’s journey looks different. If a relationship is something you desire, hang in there, and trust in God’s timing for your life. Not your life vs. everyone else’s, but your special plan. As people; our genes, our hobbies, our personalities are all different. So why do we expect our love lives or our love life timelines to look the same? Also, the grass isn’t always greener on the other side. There are plenty of married people who wish they wouldn’t have rushed into it and want to be in your shoes too. Take your time.

If you are dating, take this time to really take risks and fall for someone if you feel it. Be vulnerable and know, like I mentioned last week, this is the only way to deepen ¬†relationships. Part of vulnerability means asking the hard questions. So many times, we don’t want to ask the hard questions because we don’t want to hear the answer. That’s not a good place to start, friends! You learn infinitely more about someone after you are married, heck I’m still learning stuff about Brad. But do your best to learn as much as you can about each other during this time. You will have moments of triumph and deep love, and moments of heartbreak. This is all preparing you for life, and be grateful, because those things you’ll have to deal with in marriage too. It’s all refining you to become a better partner. It’s also helping you realize what qualities you love and cherish in a partner.

Now for marriage. I’m sure you have probably figured this out, but just in case you haven’t – THERE IS NO PERFECT PERSON OUT THERE. I believe God puts people in your life for a reason, and they might be the “right” person for you. But I think marriage is more about choosing each other and a commitment to one another and less about that “perfect” person or “soul-mate.”

I just keep seeing people give up really great relationships because they are looking for “more.” And maybe more is the right choice in some circumstances. Again, I just think it’s about choosing each other every single day, not the spark. The spark will naturally fade, and sure there are things you can do to help keep it alive, but you will ALWAYS have the choice to choose each other daily whether the spark is there or not.

Also, speaking to the “perfection” thing again, Your spouse is human. He/She WILL disappoint you. And you are human, you WILL disappoint them. The sooner we can realize this and pour out grace for each other instead of putting each other on a pedestal, the better. I remember when I first got married, at our showers, people would say, “It may seem perfect now, but there will be a time you don’t like each other.” and I would think, “well these people don’t know our relationship, it’s pretty great, and we both love jesus, so.. we really don’t have much to worry about.” Boy was I naive. I ignored people when they said “don’t make your spouse an idol.” Because I thought, “that’s dumb, I’m not doing that, it’s not like I’m worshiping him.” But in reality, I thought there was little either of us could do wrong. Don’t be naive like me. Anyone who tells you marriage is easy, is a liar. Also, don’t believe it’s easy because a pretty Instagram picture looks like it is. Just trust and believe that no matter how happy or strong you start off (and that’s a great place to start!) life will hand you both the ups and downs. Choose to communicate and walk through them together instead of throwing a pity party that your husband/wife isn’t perfect. Newsflash: you aren’t either.

I love how in Love That Lasts they talk about marriage in this way: Marriage is a covenant and not a contract. A contract is based on the behavior, and when you mess up, you’re fired, out of there. But covenant is rooted in the promise of commitment you made. We have a great example of this in how God loves us. I mean if God loved us like a contract, and it was based on our behavior, he would have been done a long time ago. But he doesn’t, and he isn’t, so we rejoice that he keeps his promises. (Look just go read the book, there’s more goodness on this topic there.)

Think about the way Jesus loves us. This is how we are meant to love our spouses. It should look like a daily ritual of putting each other first. When we freak out and start putting our needs first because we assume our partner won’t take care of them, that’s when the cycle gets out of whack. Try to out serve each other every day. I believe that’s what true love is. In 1 John 3:16 it talks about real love being Jesus laying down his life for us, so we ought to do this for our brothers and sisters. I know it’s weird to think of your partner as your brother or sister, but they are! In Christ, you are brothers and sisters. Keep laying down your lives for one another.

Real love is remembering your marriage is a covenant not a contract and treating it like so.

Real Love is respecting your partner with your actions and words whether they are present or not.

Real Love is Forgiveness 490+ times over.

Real Love is out serving one another even when you don’t want to.

Real Love is choosing each other daily and putting your selfishness behind you.

“This is how we know what real love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters.”

1 John 3:16

 

If you have some great advice for singleness, dating, or marriage; will you leave it in the comments below so we can all learn from each other?

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