Today is my 23rd marriage anniversary. Feel free to send me your congratulations and a nice note to my wife with a Better luck next time! I feel qualified, then, to pen a few words on marriage and love.
Remember in the book of Exodus how the Israelites fell immediately in love with the God who saved them out of slavery inEgypt? Neither do I. In fact, the next couple thousand years would be a continuous struggle, mostly on God’s part, to show the Jews that He was their one true love. He used a long line of prophets, kings, and servants to show different aspects of His nature. He still does so today. It is a never ending process.
Twenty-three years isn’t exactly two millenium, but it is enough to reveal to me that love is something that grows with time. The initial spark that we often like to call “love at first sight” is nothing more than a signal. Two people with the potential for lasting love have collided in the universe. Anyone who believes that spark is all that is required of a lasting love is fooling himself (or herself). Now you, my starry-eyed friends, will spend the next fifty years or so proving that you are worthy of this amazing human being that has crashed into your life.
Twenty-three years is a long time. Close to one third of my lifetime. That means both of us have invested more time and energy into our marriage than any other endeavor we’ve pursured. Career, hobbies, even children have not consumed more of our lives. Of course we have, because she is the one I’ll spend the remainder of my life with.
As we bring this full circle, back to our relationship with God, we understand why salvation is only the initial spark that drew us to Him. After that, it is a continuous effort to grow that love. Those of you who have slipped in your prayer time, bible study, and worship know that the effect is much like that of a man who doesn’t speak to his wife for a month. It’s as if all the previous years of work is lost. And rebuilding that relationship takes as much energy, if not more, than the initial courting period.
Twenty-three years can vanish in a moment if I stop nurturing that love. The good news is that nurturing turns into a joy. Making her smile becomes the highlight of each day. It is the same with our worship. When we reach the point where we cannot wait to hit our knees or raise our hands in praise, we know we have a pretty good shot of making this thing last.
But nothing is a guarantee. So don’t get lazy.
Happy anniversary, my darling. You make each day a joy and a blessing.