As my wife Heidi Jo and I will be celebrating our 20th anniversary this month, we could really relate to this C.S. Lewis excerpt that we read with our girls this morning in Elisabeth Elliot’s “Passion & Purity.” Hope it encourages some of you:
“Being in love is a good thing, but it is not the best thing. There are many things below it, but there are also things above it. You cannot make it the basis of a whole life. It is a noble feeling, but it is still a feeling. Now no feeling can be relied on to last in its full intensity, or even to last at all…In fact, the state of being in love usually does not last…But of course ceasing to be ‘in love’ need not mean ceasing to love. Love…is a deep unity, maintained by the will and deliberately strengthened by habit; reinforced by the grace which both partners ask and receive from God…They can retain this love even when each would easily, if they allowed themselves, be ‘in love’ with someone else. ‘Being in love’ first moved them to promise fidelity: this quieter love enables them to keep their promise. It is on this love that the engine of marriage is run: being in love was the explosion that started it.”
“This quieter love” is something I’ve learned to appreciate in our marriage. It is deep and real, able to withstand a thousand blows from a tempest. It is steady and sure, providing stability while the whims of the soul come and go. It is faithful and predictable, always coming home if it wanders. It is intelligent and wise, knowing what valuable treasures lie beneath the surface. It is realistic and fair, knowing what expectations are reasonable. It is noble and righteous, deferring ultimate satisfaction to the Author of love.
Heidi Jo and I have had our ups and downs like anyone has, but the longer we are married, the more “this quieter love” becomes so real to us. If God is eternal, and we are finite by nature, I suppose the longer one lives, the more one glimpses the infinite. So as marital love matures, you find something rare and precious in it. You taste the very love of God.
C.S. Lewis said regarding being in love that “there are also some things above it.” God’s love and loving God are certainly among them. God loves us not with the unpredictable, whimsical come-and-go love we often see in this world (and in our own hearts), but with rock solid, immovable, unconditional love. And that love compelled him to give his only Son.
“This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.” -1 John 4:10
I’m thankful for my relationship with my dear wife, Heidi Jo, and I’m thankful for my relationship with the One who gave her to me.