Up Close and Personal
Each individual among you also is to love his own wife even as himself. Ephesians 5:33
Someone has said, "Love is blind, but marriage is a real eye-opener." How true. You start marriage from a distance. Your honeymoon view is soft and fuzzy, filtered through a fine mist of warm feelings. Goose bumps. Everything appears to be perfectly put together. But the closer you get to one another, the more flaws you see.
If you were looking at me from across the room, there are some things you couldn't tell about me from that vantage point. You wouldn't be able to see that a childhood case of chicken pox left a noticeable scar on my forehead. You wouldn't notice the little nick I got right above my eyebrow from sledding into a fence when I was five years old.
Marriage is much like that, isn't it? The longer you are together, the more things you learn about this man or woman—this person you once kissed at a candlelit altar—that are not very pleasant, not too pretty. Marriage truly is the process of two selfish people learning to love one another in the midst of their imperfections.
For some, that's where divorce is born . . . if not actual legal divorce, then emotional divorce. But for you, it can be where love and commitment grow, as you draw closer and closer without rejecting the other or fearing rejection yourself.
That's what Jesus did when He saw you. Love motivated Him to move toward people who were unlovable. And in the ongoing experience of marriage, He gives you the opportunity to embody His kind of love each day, getting up close and personal, forgiving, persevering, growing in Christ by refusing to grow apart. In marriage, life is lived in very close proximity. You need Christ to love your spouse through you, despite your spouse's flaws, disappointments and weaknesses.
Admit two unlovable traits you know about yourself. Then thank your spouse for loving you anyway—for being patient as you fight to overcome them.
Lift your prayers of confession before the Lord right now. Then thank Him for His long-suffering and for giving you someone to exemplify love right before your eyes.