My marriage is wonderful, and Michael’s incredible, but let me also say that our relationship isn’t perfect—it’s taken humility, patience, and grace to get where we are. There have been rough patches and some days when he didn’t seem all that “wonderful” to me, and I can imagine that he’s felt the same way.
I’ve come to see that love is like an oak tree. When nurtured it takes root. We have storms that leave us feeling confused and miserable, but we put effort into seeing them through, because both Michael and I know that with each passing season those roots are growing beyond what our senses observe.
Like most young couples, we started out eager yet unprepared. I was a young bride believing that love was give and take, and that a 50/50 partnership was ideal. As long as I was willing to meet Michael halfway on everything, we’d be just fine. But experience soon taught me that unless I was willing to give 100 percent of myself to this marriage, without expectation of return, my gift of love was little more than a swap of emotions.
“Without expectation of return?” You might ask, “Well that doesn’t seem fair.”
It’s a beautiful thing when two people love as they should love. When each person is putting into the marriage more than they’re hoping to gain. But we all have days, weeks–and for some it’s been years–when we feel that we’re not being loved as we should be. What then? The truth of the matter is that the return on our investment doesn’t always come from our husband, but it always comes from the Lord. We have that promise. When we put our hope in Him we have a guarantee that He rewards those who are faithful.
Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you. – Luke 6:38, NIV
Love is a gift, and if we hand over a gift with one hand open while the other is closed, the gift is lost in exchange.
Marriage isn’t a barter system, and love isn’t a currency.
- It’s exercising patience when your husband’s habits are grating on every one of your nerves
- It’s kindness when your partner is grumpy
- It’s being humble enough to lose an argument when you feel that you’re right
- It’s holding your temper when he says something in anger
- It’s protecting his reputation from your own tongue
- It’s trusting in his capabilities to handle a difficult task
- It’s standing strong in difficult times
The question then would be, Why are we planting seeds without an expectation of return?
The answer is because we aren’t planting them for the sake of our husbands or for ourselves, we plant them for the sake of our Lord who loved us before we loved Him, and who gave His life freely while we were yet sinners. Love like that doesn’t carry an expectation, but it does carry a hope.
Sow your seed in the morning, and at evening let your hands not be idle, for you do not know which will succeed, whether this or that, or whether both will do equally well. – Ecclesiastes 11:6, NIV
You are loved by an almighty God,