Boy meets girl. Boy and girl fall in love. Boy loses girl. That ought to be the end of it, but then boy wins girl back. Or so the story goes.
What seems so normal to us really isn’t. In the covenant of marriage, we ask a man and a woman, two completely different people with completely different desires, fears, temperaments, histories, and hopes, to vow to make a life together. Sometimes, sadly, they can’t, but, many times, they do. There’s no good reason that any human love should last, but it does. That’s the miracle. Because love is from God, love persists.
Love lives and grows and flourishes, when we’re serving one another. It’s as true in marriage as it is in friendship and Christian community.
I went into my marriage at a young age, with all kinds of ideas about how marriage should be and how we’d make a home together.
One of our battlegrounds was always the dishes. Who will do the dishes? One week, only a few months into our marriage, I decided I’d teach my husband a lesson by leaving the dishes to him. I waited and waited. The dishes piled up and up and up and up. We were living in student apartments at the time, and one of the handymen had to be in our apartment one day that week for repairs. I came home from work to find a big sign posted over the mailboxes:
“It has come to our attention that residents are leaving unwashed dishes in their sink. This encourages mice and insects. Please make every effort to keep your sinks clear of dirty dishes.”
I was mortified. I went inside and did the dishes.
When we fail to serve one another, our relationships fail, too. There are lots of reasons why this happens; let no one stand in judgment when it does. Still, I do think, it’s worth trying a little harder, for a little longer than seems natural, to get our egos out of the way and leave God room to work. It’s worth trying to put somebody else’s needs ahead of our own, not always—that’s self-defeating—but often enough that we remember that love is a gift to be received and cherished, rather than a chore to be accomplished along with, say, the dishes.
Before boy ever met girl, God met boy and God met girl, and loved us all. We broke it off; Christ won us back. By grace, through faith, we’ll live happily ever after.