I can easily get sucked into the Hallmark Channel, and sometimes I have to remind myself that those romantic stories aren’t real. They are so good though! They feel good for the soul. Sparkling lights are glowing in a perfect mountain town. The handsome guy does everything right and knows exactly what to say. The gorgeous girl is sweet and humble. And every nagging conflict gets worked out in the end.
But rarely do those fit-for-the-screen movies match up to real life. Love doesn’t always feel good. It’s not always perfect. It’s sacrificial. It’s messy. It can be complicated and annoying. Everything is not always neatly wrapped up at the end.
Two sinners, living under the same roof sharing the same stuff, isn’t easy. And then throw in your personalities, preferences, background, upbringing, values, habits, and more, then you know by then it requires a miracle. Oh and then throw in kids in the mix? Then you need a double dose of miracle.
Yet, we know in Scripture God’s calling on our lives to love as He loves. We know the promise we made on the altar before God, our family, and friends to love our spouse-no matter the cost.
However, the very thing we promised to do, can still be the most difficult when we thought it would be easier. But isn’t “difficult” what makes love so extraordinary anyway? I don’t love someone else because it’s tidy and that person is just so perfect for me. I love because God first loved me – yes even in my nastiest sins. He loved me when I wasn’t so lovely.
I love my spouse unconditionally because that’s how God loves me.
I don’t just love when it’s comfortable.
I don’t just love when it’s convenient.
I love because I’m wholly committed.
Love isn’t just about picking out roses, chocolates, or a soft stuffed animal and calling it good in February. Love is a day in and day out choice and commitment to love your spouse – flaws and all. Loving every part of them. Even if they mess up big time and vice versa.
If you want a fake version of love just watch a Hallmark movie. You’ll be sure to feel good when you’re done. But don’t be fooled by it. If you want to do the really hard work of experiencing a depth of love in your marriage relationship how God intends, go and serve your spouse with no strings attached. Go and love even when it’s hard.
Love never fails.
“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.” (1 Cor 13:4-8).
Samantha Krieger is a pastor’s wife and mom to 4. She is the author of Quiet Time: A 30-day Devotional Retreat for Moms in the Trenches. Her writing appears regularly on Her View From Home, TODAY Parenting, KirkCameron.com, and For the Family. Connect with her on Instagram and Facebook.