A journey of love is worth the risk

As my youngest son turned 24 and sat beside his beautiful girlfriend last night at our celebratory dinner out, it brought back memories. At his age, David was that handsome older man who talked me into the biggest leap of my life -- the leap into a commitment of marriage.

He was 24, I was 21. It was hard to answer his marriage proposal. My mother had two painful marriages that ended with her weeping and struggling to raise children. Alone. It helped to break her.

When you see such pain, marriage doesn't mean "happily ever after" ever again. Not for some people. Maybe not for you.

I was terrified of getting married. How could I make it work? How could I make it last? How did people do it?

I didn't have all the answers. I had a few promises, a few ideas, some faith and a veneer of hope. I took the leap, holding tight to David's hand and clinging to a God who also promised to always love me. That was then, 1975. This is now. We've taken the last 33 years of married life one day at a time.

I'm still glad we decided to make the journey. It hasn't always been easy. I haven't always been loving or gracious. He hasn't always been the Prince Charming I had hoped I'd marry some day. Reality has a way of waking us up to our strengths and weaknesses.

Amazingly, love can grow among it all if we nourish it.

God is in the business of helping us nourish enduring love -- love that goes beyond transitory feelings or flawless skin or Barbie doll figures. If we let Him, God teaches us to love one another with a commitment that can endure the everyday challenges that wear and tear upon our patience and passions. Committed love endures because it does what it takes to wait out the periods when long work hours, sick kids, or unglamorous chores erode romance and illusions. Committed love lights candles anyway. Eventually candles can become roaring fires before they wane with neglect and the cycle begins again. It happens.

Better than candles or romantic fires, committed love sees beauty in friendship, in small kindnesses, and in finding pathways to forgiveness and understanding through the chaos that can result when we give into our destructive brokenness. Trust can be restored. Intimacy can develop. Love can wane or grow with our choices.

With God's help, our love has fluctuated and grown through the years.

I'm glad I turned my back on fear and embraced a lifestyle of love. Now I live with a better me and a husband I love more now than then. We enjoy children and the mates and children they bring into our family circle.

Love suffers long and endures. Yes it does.

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