When you first get married, you really have no idea what it’s like to live with another person. You know know that love in marriage will be a love like no other love in your life.
Being married takes living with someone to learn their most annoying habits, their deep likes and dislikes, their attitudes and character flaws.
Living with someone allows you the opportunity to get to know someone like no one else ever has.
You very quickly get to know your spouse intimately. At all times of the day. In all situations. Good and bad. Pretty and not so pretty. It all blends together to make this newly joined married life.
My husband is the second oldest of four children and so his parents’ time, love and efforts were divided among the four kids. He is also the parent of 3 girls, all who divide their love up between their mom and dad.
I am the only one who can focus fully on him and love him specifically for who he is to me: my husband.
In the same way, I’m a daughter among three girls. I am a mom to three girls. Only Jeremy is to direct his love solely to me. To love me like no one else loves me.
In the last chapter of “Sacred Marriage“, Gary Thomas talks about learning to love your spouse like no one else ever has loved them. Having a love like no other for our spouse.
He throws out the challenge of learning about them, of finding out who they are, of investing time that no one else has ever invested.
He encourages you to dig in and really strive to know your spouse deeply.
Gary, in speaking of his own marriage, said he wants his wife, at the end of their lives together, to be able to say without a doubt that even with all his rough edges and lifetime flaws, she was loved by him like no one else ever could or did.
He says, “I’ve been wrong about so many things in marriage. There have been moments of betrayal, apathy, unkindness, selfishness – but marriage is a long walk. We can start out a little slowly, even occasionally lose our way, and still salvage a most meaningful journey. If we view the marriage relationship as an opportunity to excel in love, it doesn’t matter how difficult the person is whom we are called to love; it doesn’t matter even whether that love is returned. We can still excel at love. We can still say, “Like it or not, I’m going to love you like nobody ever has.”
Or do I hold back at times for things he has or hasn’t done?
Can I love him in that special way no matter what?
Can I honestly tell him, “Like it or not, I’m going to love you like nobody ever has”?
Gary goes on to talk about the love in marriage mirrors that of our love for Christ and his love for us.
His is “a love without compare, a love that is infinitely deeper than any human love we could ever know.”
Gary Thomas goes on to say, “Maximus the Confessor (580-662) observed that the love we have for God and the love we have for others are not two distinct loves, but two aspects of a single total love. Jesus suggested the same thing, when in response to a question about the greatest commandment he declared that there is not just one, but two – not only must we love God, but also our neighbors.”
So, is our love for our spouse included in the “neighbor” part of that commandment? Is loving our spouse directly related to our love for God?
As our love for God grows, our love for our spouse should grow as well.
We will learn to love like God wants us to love: unconditionally and unselfishly.
Another Sacred Marriage Post: A Transcendent Ache