Wednesday, February 25, 2009

All you need is love?

It is with a heavy heart that I begin this rather serious post. I have kept silent (on my blog) for quite some time, and simply can't supress the turbulent emotions I'm feeling one minute longer. If you know me at all, you've heard me speak on the waning sanctity of marriage and the serious misconception this generation (and beyond) has about l-o-v-e, love. Instead of sharing my own immature, inexperienced opinion on love and marriage, I will share an excerpt from the book "Let Me be a Woman" by Elisabeth Elliot. Since I am no expert on this topic, I thought it would be far more compelling/appropriate to read her words, as opposed to mine. (However, I'll be more than happy to share my thoughts. You only need ask.)

"The kind of love that makes a marriage work is far more than feelings. Feelings are the least dependable things in the world. To build a marriage on that would be to build a house on sand. When you promise, in the wedding ceremony, to love, you are not promising how you expect to feel. You are promising a course of action which begins on your wedding day and goes on as long as you both shall live.

Your feelings cannot help but be affected by riches and poverty, health and sickness, and all the other circumstances which make up a lifetime. Your feelings will come and go, rise and fall, but you make no vows about them. When you find yourself, like the unstable man in the Epistle of James, 'driven with wind and tossed,' it is a great thing to know that you have an anchor. You have made a promise before God to love. You promise to love, comfort, honor, and keep this man (woman). You vow to take him (her) as your wedded husband (wife), to have and to hold from this day forward, for better or for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish 'according to God's holy ordinance,' till death parts you.

Not one of us can fully face up to all the details of the possibilities at the time we make these staggering promises. We make them in faith. Faith that the God who ordained that a man and woman should cleave together for a lifetime is the God who alone can make such faithful cleaving possible. We are not given grace for imaginations. We are given the grace needed at the time when it is needed, 'this day our daily bread.' And because you have given your word you have committed yourself once and for all. 'This, by the grace of God, I will do.' Nothing that has ever been worth doing has been accomplished solely through feelings. It takes action. It takes putting one foot in front of the other, walking the path you have agreed together to walk.

The underlying principle of love is self-giving."

(excerpt from Let Me Be a Woman, by Elisabeth Elliot)

I won't pretend I understand the complexities or difficulties of marriage. I can definitively say with great certainty (and conviction) that I do not. However, I do feel that if more people understood the concept of love, true love, the kind of love that makes a choice everyday to renew their commitment to their spouse, then today's marriages would look completely different. They would not be the dull, complacent, hum-drum mutual unions that they have become. And that's those that actually remain intact. Let's not forget about the 50% of marriages that end in broken homes, broken dreams and broken hearts. I can only imagine the tears cried in heaven over the brokenness that we, as humans, have created because we feel that we've "fallen out of love" and that someone else can make us happier.

Is that the kind of love we promised at the altar? Is that the kind of love that was crucified on a cross?


Amber Rawlings said...

this is beyond perfect rachel. thank you for sharing. i think this is a message that EVERYONE needs to hear.

Meggers1021 said...

Very beautiful Rachie. I agree completely. That is well said. I just pray that I will continually love Bryan whole-heartedly and it be heart based and not feelings based.

Brooke & Freeland said...

well... I had a lot typed out to share but then realized nobody was asking my opinion! :) But I agree with good ol Elisabeth Elliot. Smart woman.

Kori said...

Great post Rachel. I know we talked about this the other night and I completely agree with you and Ms. Elliot. I also want you to know how exciting it is to watch God preparing you for marriage. You will be such an amazing wife, dedicated to truth, hard work, the foundation of love and service. Some extremely good-looking gentleman out there is going to be one lucky son of a gun to share his life with you!!!