When love wears boots

Lord, you establish peace for us; all that we have accomplished you have done for us. -- Isaiah 26:12 NIV

As a teen, I read love stories. I couldn't read enough. Some weeks, I read two or more.

So, my young heart thought relationships were all about feelings of love. Hollywood did much to sell that lie.

Although feelings are important, I've learned that love is bigger than that. Commitment is a vital component to a lasting love relationship.

Commitment does what feelings can't. Commitment is love with work boots on. Commitment decides to hang in there when times are good and when times aren't. Feelings come and go, but love's commitment endures.

These thoughts are on my mind this morning as I think about our wedding anniversary coming up next week. Thirty-five years ago David and I stood before a pastor, our friends and family and made promises I hoped we could keep with God's help. I must confess, I didn't really think we could get this far. My mother had been through two painful divorces, why should I live happily ever after?

But over the years our married love has grown and so has our commitment, one day at a time, one small decision to act loving and choose kindness, on good days, on bad days, over and over.

I was terrified to get married.  

Marriage is an act of faith, a step toward hope. There are no guarantees. Promises are broken every day.

So why has our marriage lasted when so many others have not? There could be many reasons. I'm not smart enough to sort it all out for myself let alone tell you. I wish I could.

One thing I know. We entered this marriage relationship asking for God's help. Our commitment and love for one another included a commitment and love for God and God brought the same to the relationship. When I walked out of that church holding my husband's hand, I was also gripping God's hand.

Even so, could our marriage have dissolved at some point during the years? If it were only David and I clinging to one another, maybe. But with God's arms wrapped around both of us? He helped us.

If I'd been foolish enough to shake God's help off, I think I could have run away. I certainly felt like it a few times when life felt impossible and not fun. God's love was stronger than the situations that could have sucked us under, and God helped hold us together, individually and as a couple.

If anyone congratulates us for staying together for 35 years and asks, how did you do it? The secret is, with God's partnering, we've been growing in our love and commitments.

A marriage where God is also working has three pairs of workboots on the ground.

So if we could do it with God's help, could you do it? Why not?

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