When Love Doesn’t Look Like you Think it Will

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Today, my husband and I have been married for 13 years.

13 years.

That seems crazy, even to me.

This morning, I was scrolling social media and noticed that FB had created an Anniversary video for us. I pushed play and watched as the slow, sappy music played as they displayed photo after photo of us over the years. There were photos of our wedding day, vacations, the day we officially filed for an LLC for this business, trips with the kids…many of the highlights over our past 13 years. The captions are what got me, though.

It would display a photo of us bright-eyed and ‘in love’ on our wedding day and then say “Love is this…”. The next photo would be one of us on a vacation and the text would say, “…and that”. 
It ended with a photo saying, “most of all, love is knowing this is who you’re meant to be with”.

Oh, Facebook.

I appreciate it.  Thank you.
But if 13 years of marriage has taught me ANYTHING at all, it’s quite the opposite of this.

LOVE to me isn’t just two excited young folks running down an aisle at the church after their wedding, it’s late nights and a messy kitchen. It’s cleaning up the car when a kid gets sick, and taking the dogs out when it’s raining because you know I don’t want to. It’s packing lunches and changing diapers and going with me to doctor appointments that I’m nervous about. Love is gatorade and saltine cracker runs when the stomach bug hits and early morning peewee soccer league games in the freezing cold. It’s a whole lot less about romantic date nights out and looks more like Netflix and falling asleep before 10 pm. It’s disciplining kids when we would rather not and folding laundry because it needs to be done. It’s unloading the dishwasher day after day, setting the timer on the coffee pot,  and packing lunches every night. It’s defending one another when one of us feels left out and overlooked by friends, and it’s disagreeing over the most ridiculous stuff possible. It’s Sunday afternoon budget meetings and Friday night family movie nights. Marriage is nothing like I ever pictured it, and yet it’s more than I anticipated.

If you’ve only ever imagined what love should look like or feel like according to the world’s standards, real life won’t measure up. And if love was based on just the highlight reel moments displayed on social media, it would not could not sustain.

I imagined marriage would be one big romantic adventure. Setting up a home, raising well-behaved and calm children, pursuing work that we loved that left us feeling energized and fulfilled, frequent date nights, a full bank account, agreeing about how we would spend our money, and working together to face challenges and to overcome difficulties… In real life, marriage doesn’t look a whole lot like that.

Marriage for us has looked a whole lot less like the worlds definition of romance and more and more like sacrifice.

And it’s beautiful.

We have been sanctified in new ways. We’ve learned to love and to serve when it’s the very last thing we want to do and we’ve gotten really good at asking for forgiveness.

We get it wrong a whole lot, yet, we press on.

Love may not look like you think it will, and it definitely won’t look like social media may tell you that it should. But, that doesn’t mean it’s broken or not worth honoring.

After 13 years, I’ve learned this: My husband cannot complete me. He cannot fulfill me. He can’t fill in and fill up the broken places in my heart. My happiness can’t hinge on how well he loves me. He is not my Savior and he will never be.

He’s a good gift. He’s my helpmate and my friend, but he can’t “fix” my brokenness. And I’ve had to stop expecting him to try.

Facebook told me today that “love is knowing that THIS is who you’re meant to be with”, but I’d argue it’s more than that. Love is choosing that THIS is who you will STAY with. 

Love is a choice.

Today, I’m choosing it again.

I’m thankful for a man who doesn’t give up when things get hard. A man who allows me to go and chase the dreams the Lord has sent me. A man who truly celebrates with me when things go well and a man who is willing to run hard after the Lord.

I also know there may be some of you out there reading this who are struggling in your marriages. Or in waiting for marriage.

Hear me say- I’m praying for you today. I’m praying for you. For your heart. For new places of breakthrough and hope to spring up today. I’m praying tha the Lord will give you a new passion for praying for your marriage (or future mate) and in asking Him to begin showing you where He is calling you to surrender and to turn.

Don’t give up hope, friend. He brings beauty from ashes and the dead to life. Pray and ask Him to redeem and rescue. Ask Him to show you new ways to love him today. He’s faithful and He will.





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