By Rachel O’Neill, Contributing Writer
Growing up, I used to imagine my perfect fairy-tale romance. A dashing young man would sweep me wildly off my feet. When I tried on engagement rings, “THE” perfect ring would catch my eye, and I would know that it was just right. As soon as I tried on “THE” perfect dress, the eyes of my mother and sisters would cloud, and we would all magically know in that moment that we’d found the dress designed perfectly for me.
Sometimes life doesn’t turn out as we planned… and that can be a very good thing! Choosing engagement rings and wedding dresses was more of a logical and financial decision than a magical fairy tale one. And finding “Mr. Right” was also a more thoughtful process.
In my experience, the big decisions in life haven’t been made for me by magical writing on the wall. Answers haven’t been revealed in a burning bush or starry sky. No- usually it is a matter of examining my circumstances in light of God’s Word, and then using the brain God has given me to make a logical decision.
Not very romantic, perhaps. Yet this method has, by the grace of God, led me into a very happy and Christ-centered marriage.
When I met my husband, we got along very well from the get go. While I was attracted to him, there was never an instant in which I knew he was definitely THE one for me. Periodically I had to sit down and assess: did he possess the qualities I was looking for in a husband? Was he committed to following the Lord and leading me spiritually? Would continuing our relationship bring honor and glory to God?
It was never easy to examine these questions. I think this is because I just wanted a clear sign, preferably in the form of special and divine revelation ;). As I took the time to think through them, however, the Lord made it clear that I could in good conscience continue to date Niall.
Niall was a hard worker. He was faithfully committed to our local church. Theologically, we were growing in our understanding together and seemed headed in similar directions. We both were committed to fulfilling Biblical roles in the family. He had administrative and leadership skills that would come in handy as the head of our household. While my emotions may not have been burning with a constant passion, good things were happening, and I was contentedly thankful to see the Lord at work in us as a couple.
The world tells us that there is one magical person, destined to be our soul mate. “Love” should hit us with a passion and fury. If he or she doesn’t live up to our great expectations, it is our privilege, even our right, to walk away. In such a society, divorce runs rampant and unhappy marriages abound.
In Scripture, we see a different kind of love. A love that sacrifices itself for the one loved, as Christ sacrificed Himself for His Bride. Love does not insist on its own way, but is patient and rejoices with the truth (1 Corinthians 13). Love is a decision we make when we choose to put someone else’s interests before our own.
Whatever fairy tale dreams we’ve come up with over the years, no love is as sweet as the love of Christ for His Church. While life might not look like a romantic comedy fresh out of Hollywood, we can find great joy and fulfillment as we seek to love our spouse in the way God first loved us.
Do you tend to view love as a feeling, or a choice? How would a logical commitment to loving your spouse change your marriage?