May I tell you story from about 16 years ago?
I was having a horrible week: yelling at our kids, impatient with everyone, being hateful to Ron, I broke the glass on the coffee table by slamming something down in it hard. It was ugly!
I asked Ron why he loved me: “I am so horrible and unlovable – why would you even love me?”
His answer: Because I said I would.
It is the most romantic thing he has ever said to me!
I’m not sure I liked that answer at the time. He did not say I was beautiful or smart or kind or sexy. Because right then, I wasn’t any of those things. It would have been nice if he’d lied to me just a bit right then. Instead, he loved me honestly. He spoke the truth in love.
In time I realized that his answer to my question was the most wonderful thing he could ever say! He kept his promise to love me through better or worse, in sickness and in health, in richer or poorer. He did not rely on his feelings or hormones (mine or his) to determine his behavior towards me.
Ladies, that is real love: a decision and promise kept.
Over the past year my husband has loved me well. He has held me when I cried and encouraged me to get outside and ride bikes or walk when I wanted to sit and sob. He has spoken truth to me, and he has helped me see when I was listening to lies. He dealt with things no father or husband ever wants to deal with. He has carried his grief and helped me carry mine. He has helped me heal while acknowledging our shared pain.
Again, through better or worse, in sickness and in health, in richer or poorer.
Ron has kept his promise to love me for thirty-one years: A promise based on a decision, not on feelings of lust or joy or admiration or need or of “being in love”.
We have loved each other through great times and hard times; when we had more than enough and when we did not know how we would pay the bills; when one of us was ill and when we were riding bikes and doing triathlons. Our love has not been perfect, but it is real and it is constant. And it is centered on The One who is Perfect. It has been for thirty-one years.
I look forward to another thirty-one.