It is true Shirley and I will have been married for fifty years this summer. Janelle shared her thoughts about love with you on Valentine’s Day and wondered what I have learned about love in the past fifty years.

I remember the day we were married, and how beautiful she was as she walked down the aisle in her white dress – the friends that were there – the new families each of us became part of – going to the next town to visit an older relative, who had lived most of her life in a wheelchair, so she could see her in her wedding dress, and the “wow” God really knew what he was doing when he said “it is not good for man to be alone, I will make a helpmeet for him.” Fifty years later I think of two chairs that don’t quite match the rest of the furniture in the family room, but are still there because they are comfortable, and the two people who sit in them and are still together and on most occasions comfortable with each other. And I reflect on what I have learned about love in those intervening years.

Love means learning what it means to be two instead of one but also what it means to be one instead of two. Even as I learned about oneness I also learned Shirley had many skills and interests that made her who she was, and that it was my responsibility to encourage and support those skills and interests and to love her for who she was as a unique person. I think for her, love said I will support you even though I am not sure I want to do this when I went back to university or changed jobs or we moved considerable distances from our home turf. It also meant I became part of large family gatherings where strange things like lutefisk and lefse were served, and that over the years the uncles and aunts and cousins that were part of those family gatherings became my uncles and aunts and cousins.

I learned more about love when our three daughters were born, and was overwhelmed with the beauty I helped create, and as they grew, love caused me to be happy with their successes, to support their decisions, to laugh with them when they were happy but also to hurt when they hurt.

Love said we will be there as soon as we can when phone calls came that someone we loved was very ill, had been in an accident, or had passed away.

I have learned it is love that causes Shirley to text our grandkids, write them encouraging notes, and to be happy and prepare large meals when we hear they are coming to visit.

I have also learned that love is a journey, that wrong turns and mistakes happens on that journey and as a result, unkind things are said and feelings are hurt. But this love thing causes forgiveness to take place and allows the journey to continue. To help me on this journey, I often end or start the day with a little prayer: God please help me to love Shirley as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her …to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle. God, help me to love Shirley this way.

*** posted by David

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Mom and Dad were here on the weekend, helping us get our house ready to sell. We worked during the days, and visited and drank tea in the evenings. And on their last evening here, Carter talked us all into a game of charades. Lots of fun and great memories.

Husbands, go all out in your love for your wives, exactly as Christ did for the church – a love marked by giving, not getting. Christ’s love makes the church whole. His words evoke her beauty. Everything he does and says is designed to bring the best out of her, dressing her in dazzling white silk, radiant with holiness. And that is how husbands ought to love their wives. They’re really doing themselves a favor – since they’re already “one” in marriage.

Ephesians 5:25-28 (the Message)

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