Tuesday, February 12, 2019

I Lost the Thrill of Love for My Valentine Long Ago

As many couples prepare to celebrate Valentine’s Day, I want to confess that I have lost the thrill of love for my Valentine. I vaguely remember it to be around the 6th year of our marriage, just after the birth of our second child. 

It had nothing to do with the infamous seven-year itch, but there were some similarities. 

I remember clearly thrills of love when I first dated Michelle and probably into the initial years of marriage. Those thrills came right from the day I decided to pursue her. It was the first time in my life that I was pursuing a relationship with someone of the opposite sex. Moreover, she was indeed a very pretty and attractive young lady. Even the thought of her thrilled me then.

It gave me such highs to just hear her voice, to catch a glimpse of her pretty face and to be able to hold her hands. In the early years of marriage, the thrills of love came from our passionate and frequent lovemaking. My “love” for her was just insatiable.

Then it came! The change was gradual and subtle. It didn’t happen over a day, a month or even a year. Having dated her for more than 7 years, and then being married for more than six years probably was too long for the thrills to be sustained.

Looking back, Michelle and I are glad that it happened so early in our marriage.

Have we become simply functional as husband and wife? Are we holding on to our marriage for the sake of our children? Are we just waiting for the empty nest to come and then we can separate, as many couples do?

The truth is this - Michelle and I learned that the thrills of love did not and cannot truly satisfy us. While they gave us much excitement, excitement is neither the norm for marriage nor for life. While we have enjoyed much thrills of love with each other, they were not true love.

True love loves when there is no thrill, when the day is normal or even sub-normal in our marriage, when the children are difficult to manage, when you or your spouse is feeling down or angry for no good reason, or is unreasonable and making it difficult for you to show love.

If Michelle and I had depended on the thrills of love to keep our marriage going, we would have given up many times over - there were countless times one of us felt down and made ourselves unlovable and in that state, irritated each other so much.

Timothy Keller in “The Meaning of Marriage” described the relationship where one enjoys the marriage as long as he or she receives benefits but move on to another person when the spouse cannot offer the thrills of love anymore as a consumer relationship.
In the same vein, he described true love as a covenant relationship, in which one continues to love despite not feeling the love for, or being loved by your spouse, and even if your spouse does not seem to deserve your love.
This puts meaning to the vow which many couples make at their our wedding, which most commonly includes ….. “ for better or for worst, till death do us part.”

To me, this simply means that I have to love Michelle, even when she is unloving or unlovable. My love for Michelle must have nothing to do with her love for me.

You may be thinking out loud or even exclaiming, “Come on Steven, how can that be? How can l love someone who is not reciprocating my love and how can I love if I do not have feelings of love for him or her anymore?”

Well, this was what I vowed to Michelle on the day we married, and I must keep my word because that vow I made was unconditional. It was and still remains a covenant!

If you need a reference, then reflect on how Jesus Christ loved (and still loves) mankind with a love that has nothing to do with the love of men for Him. When He hung on the cross to die for our sins, He simply continued to love despite being rejected by those around him for whom He was dying. That  is exactly what covenant love is.

Truth be told that after knowing each other for more than 47 years, and in which 37 of those years were spent in close proximity, 24/7, as a couple, Michelle and I still have bad habits which many times make each other unlovable and even “ugly”.

Yet, we are still happily enjoying our relationship and are forging toward to become lovers for life. We attribute this to being serious about the vow we made to each other, before our parents, relatives, friends and more importantly, God our Heavenly Father.

My love for her has nothing to do with her love for me. And her love for me has nothing to do with my love for her. Our love for each other is based on a covenant we made before God. This is the only way to fulfill our “….. for better or for worst, till death do us part” vow.

I highly recommend that you let go of the thrills of love and begin to truly love each other.
So instead of wishing you a Happy Valentine’s Day, may I wish you the wisdom and strength to love 
your spouse with a covenant love, and forge ahead to become lovers for life!

Your comments and sharing are most welcome. Fuel debate, share your experience and ask questions. Click "Comment" to have you say! You are also encouraged to mark your reaction to my post....


Unknown said...

There is only one Jesus and that's why the church says only more like Him but could not just be Him.
By nature, water and oil cannot be mixed while can with honey. Anyway good message from Steven

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