The story doesn’t end at “I love you”!
I love the feeling of falling in love! Getting to know someone, in all their newness and difference. Getting through the things that stand in the way of a committed relationship. Getting to the sweet delicious place of saying, “I love you,” and hearing it said back. Getting to the exciting stage of a proposal, commitment to a life-long love.
I love that wonderful part of a relationship so much I keep writing about it, again and again and again! Couples in my stories tend to fall in love fast, maybe because I did. I knew without doubt three weeks after we met that I was in love, and this was the man God intended me to spend the rest of my life with. I’d thought I was in love before, but I’d never had that sureness.
We were talking marriage a month after we met, officially engaged three months after we met, and married six months later.
That doesn’t mean it’s been easy. Falling in love is the easy part, it’s growing in love that’s hard. We have a plaque in our living room that reads “We fall in love by chance, we stay in love by choice.” I’m not 100% in agreement with the first part. There were a lot of unlikely coincidences that led to my husband and I meeting, but rather than being chance, it was God at work! I totally agree with the second part. We need to keep choosing to stay in love, every day, over and over again.
The struggle is part of the story
It’s not easy to keep choosing to love. Every relationship hits difficult patches. There’s the simple really getting to know each other that only happens once a couple is married and living together. The everyday rough edges getting rubbed off stuff.
Then there’s the big stuff – financial challenges, raising children (or not being able to have children), sickness, aging parents.
I’m so grateful that the Lord keeps reminding me that He never promised we wouldn’t have hard times, but He did promise He’d be there with us. He reminds me that though romance stories may end with “I love you”, real life keeps going, with a love that grows richer and deeper and stronger for the struggle.
The struggle is part of the story, His story for our lives. God is teaching me to learn the real meaning of 1 John 3:18 – Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth.
I’m learning to give thanks for the tough times, just as much as the good times. And I’m learning to mean it, too! ;)
“I do not at all understand the mystery of grace – only that it meets us where we are, but does not leave us where it found us.” – Annie Lammott
James 1:2-4 (Voice) Don’t run from tests and hardships, brothers and sisters. As difficult as they are, you will ultimately find joy in them; if you embrace them, your faith will blossom under pressure and teach you true patience as you endure. And true patience brought on by endurance will equip you to complete the long journey and cross the finish line—mature, complete, and wanting nothing.
Romans 5:3-5 (TLB) We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they are good for us—they help us learn to be patient. And patience develops strength of character in us and helps us trust God more each time we use it until finally our hope and faith are strong and steady. Then, when that happens, we are able to hold our heads high no matter what happens and know that all is well, for we know how dearly God loves us, and we feel this warm love everywhere within us because God has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love.
“God loves you just the way you are, but He refuses to leave you that way. He wants you to be just like Jesus.” – Max Lucado
I’d love for you to share in the comments –
Your favourite advice, inspirational quotes or Bible verses on growing deeper in love through the tough times.
Any books you’ve enjoyed that showed a couple overcoming trials in their love and coming through stronger.
One comment made before April 8, 2016 will be chosen at random to win an ebook copy of A Lesson in Love. Though the story stops at “I love you”, this couple is already learning about weathering the tough times, with God’s loving support!