my treasure, my bride.
You hold it hostage with one glance of your eyes,
with a single jewel of your necklace.
Your love delights me,
my treasure, my bride.
Your love is better than wine,
your perfume more fragrant than spices.
Your lips are as sweet as nectar, my bride.
Song of Solomon 4:9-11
I suppose I’ve never mentioned the fact that one of those dating sites “matched up” my husband and me. A little back story. I have known my husband for over twelve years. In a previous life, our families were friends and they moved away. Life happened, circumstances changed and we crossed paths once again. In our former lives our commonalities were few except for our faith. We spent more time arguing theology than we did having pleasant conversations. Let’s just say that when he moved away, I didn’t cry. Sorry if that sounds harsh. We were different people back then. Through a mess of circumstances we were reunited. We both had become very different people. He became a good friend to me during a dark time in my life. One day he moved away again. (At my request.) Having been through a terrible divorce, romantic relationships and men did not rank high on my list. And so he honored my wishes and left.
With that said, I had a meddling teenager who sensed his mom needed to date. Unbeknownst to me, he put together a profile on eHarmony for his dear old mom and set it loose. UGH. When the email came through I laughed with feelings full of fear. His thoughtfulness left me unsettled. The day I logged into my profile I decided to give it a go and properly fill out the required information. I answered the questions and hit submit. In the beginning it was fun to see who I was compatible with and whether I agreed. But knowing I was not into the dating scene I knew I needed not to waste anyone’s time. I did however mention to my now husband that he should sign up and answer the questions to see his matches. Just for kicks. So he did. And guess what? A match. Not only did it match us up but it listed him as a “perfect match.” Total compatibility. Oh the irony. Years earlier I didn’t have much in common with him and now, my perfect match? Who would have thought?! Could it be “true love?
People will argue against the true love, soul mate, fairy tale love kind of thing. I know because I often made the argument. I don’t claim to be an expert on love in any way whatsoever. I am however someone who has found the legalism within my “religion” to be full of frustrating untruths that affected my life in many negative ways. As someone whose first marriage failed after fourteen years, I set out to find the truth about where it all went wrong. With great hope that someday my children will not fall into the trap of legalism and settle for anything less than God’s absolute best, here are my thoughts.
Over the years, books and articles written by Christian writers debunking the myth of true love fell into my lap. I read many and began to believe the words. I found myself settled in a place without any expectation of love or honor. I began to accept the writings on love as truth. To me, they became frustrating lies. Untruths leaving me empty and cold. Becoming more cynical, I grew to accept that I did not deserve love without condition. I did not deserve to be honored. I did not deserve to be desired by someone. Feeling as if I did not matter I began to doubt God’s love.
Before I go any further, let me begin by saying I do not believe in the soulmate theory found in movies. The one defined as one perfect person in the universe for each person. As beautiful as it plays out in movies, love is more complicated. However I do feel there are people out there who, pardon my phrase, “complete us.” Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines soul mate as a close friend who completely understands you, a person who is specifically suited to another in temperament and a person who strongly resembles another in attitude or beliefs. That definition has changed the perception I have of a soul mate. Partly because I found a soul mate in my husband but I also have found a soul mate in my closest girl friend. Both people ‘resemble me in attitude and belief” and are “close friends who completely understand me” making the idea of a soul mate very real to me.
My husband is my soul mate. He is so much my other half that oftentimes I do not know how I survived the first thirty-six years of my life without him. I say that in jest but truly, walking through life with him makes everyday so much better and easier. Because of him, to me, “true love” exists. Now the existence of true love did not begin with my husband but instead because I found security and fulfillment in my relationship with Christ. Once I allowed Him, Jesus, the room to fill me up and take His rightful place in my life, my heart changed. My heart was made ready to love the way in which God designed it to be loved and to love. On December 1, 2012, I married my soul mate. I married my “close friend who completely understands” me.
Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged.It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out.Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.
1 Corinthians 13:4
With that said, our marriage is not perfect. Love is not perfect. Love is work. Daily work. (As seen in the above passage.) Love is a choice we make to live out each day. The love we share is not butterflies and roses. We can argue with the best of them. We would not be human nor be experiencing real life if we did not disagree every once in a while. Disagreements balance us out. They keep us in check because it is those moments I realize what I have with him. In the middle of an argument, I see or hear the hurt, and I want nothing more than to grab hold of him and not let go. In those moments I see the man I absolutely adore and no longer care if I am right or wrong. I know it sounds crazy but those moments come because of his selfless love for me. He loves me like he is called to love me. He loves me as Christ loves the church. A selfless form of love. Outside of his relationship with Christ, there is nothing else he puts before me. I am his priority in everything. My husband’s love for me is perfect. However it is because of his love for the Lord that he loves me in this way. His love for me is an overflow of his relationship with Christ. For the first time in my life, because of my husband, I get a taste of how my Father in Heaven not only sees me but loves me too. It is amazing. It is a gift. It is a blessing. It is the truest form of romance.
Every day we work to make our marriage the absolute best it can be and sometimes we get it wrong. Some days are harder than others but those hard days do not ever negate him as my “one true love.” But there is another part of our equation, the most important part which is God. He sits at the center of our relationship and our home. He is the driving force behind all we do and the reason we love as we do. I believe that without His perfect love, true love does not exist. He alone makes us complete and solely satisfies the need within us. It is because of God’s sovereignty, His plan, He gives us someone to walk life with and to love. When we make the choice to trust Him completely, He perfectly picks our “other half.” He knows where we lack. He knows the person that will be our compliment. We just have to trust Him.
There are a lot of cynical people out there with a legalistic view of marriage who will try to argue against true love and to those I say, I’m sorry. I used to be one. I too did not get it or have it the first time. I get told a lot now a days the marriage I have is rare. I learned a hard lesson the first time around. I know the difference between walking in my owns ways and walking in obedience. I know the meaning of selfless love and self-serving love. I now know what it looks like to wait on God’s very best. I would not have believed this kind of love, this type of marriage existed had God not been so loving and full of grace that He allowed me to find it this time around. For me it has become living proof that when we walk in obedience with God, He truly blesses our lives. It is fascinating to discover that God’s truth is real. When things are lined up the way in which God has arranged them to be, everything falls into place.
So to my five precious babies, for those questioning love, or those patiently waiting for the “right one” my words are simple. Be patient. Don’t settle. Wait on God’s perfect one. It is real and if you trust God with your heart and allow Him to lead, He will give you that someone to walk with you. It won’t be all butterflies and roses because that is not real life. Love is work. But you will discover that through the darkest of days, there is no one you would rather have beside you than the person God chose for you.
Originally published on All Things New.