“We’ve had bumpy roads?” my husband Bill asked after reading one of my recent blog posts. He looked serious and a bit hurt! “Of course, no marriage is perfect! I want to be honest about our marriage, share the good, the bad and the ugly! But mostly how our love helps us over the bumpy roads and gets us back on a smooth road!”
We have been married since 1975 – I know, a long time ago. Some reading this were not even born. Wow, it was last century! However, we had a “break in service,” meaning, we divorced for a year! Miracle of miracles, we were able to reconcile after a very contentious and heart breaking divorce. We hurt each other deeply but we experienced the cleansing power of forgiveness, bathed in the blood of our Lord and Savior’s death on the cross. We literally felt we were standing at the foot of the cross when we forgave each other. In just a few minutes, we went from absolute hatred to forgiveness and feeling love towards each other! But alas, it took me (Debbie) seven months to agree to re-marry. God had a lot of work to do in my heart.
Today, I want to write more about love! After our divorce, I set out to find God’s perfect will for my daughter and me. I honestly believed it was Bill’s fault we were so far from God and that is what broke up our relationship. I will blog later how God not only saved me for eternity, but He saved my physical life from an early demise. Suffice it to say, I had every reason to follow our Lord and live a life pleasing to Him. But I did not. I fell into awful sin and made some bad choices. In His grace, He protected me and today, I can’t fall away from Him! I am hanging on tightly, needing to hear His voice every day (daily Bible reading), and needing to worship (I listen to praise and worship music as much as I can) Him every day! While I am not perfect, I pray that I am now living a life pleasing to Him!
As soon as I read 1 Corinthians 7:10-11, I KNEW I had to reconcile with Bill.
To the the married I give this command (not I, but the Lord): A wife must not separate from her husband. But if she does, she must remain unmarried or else be reconciled to her husband. And a husband much not divorce his wife.”
But first, I needed to find out love was all about! I was an investigator by nature and in my profession. I soon discovered God is love (1 John 4:8 “Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love). I didn’t love Bill anymore, so I asked God to love him through me – and did He ever! So what does that look like? I knew my love was growing, but what was it (love)? Because of my profession, I like to see, feel and touch something to know what it is!
And what I was reading in this wonderful book pictured, gave me what I needed. It is straight from the author of marriage, our God and creator, from His Word to us. I’ll print some excerpts, remembering when we first read the book as we began to reconcile.
I remember clearly when we read Chapter 5 (Love Life for EVERY Married Couple: How to fall in love, stay in love, rekindle your love by Ed Wheat, MD and Gloria Perkins). He was so excited that he was learning all about marriage. He especially liked this chapter and while we were reconciling, we read it together and it became our marriage manual.
In the “Acknowledgement” section of the book, Dr. Wheat acknowledged the role Gloria Perkins played in writing the book. He said, “She and her husband Dan enjoy a love-filled Christian marriage that teaches by experience how enriching the emotion of love can be, and it is their desire as well as ours, to help others find a life of love.” It is also our desire….So continuing with the excerpts:
Excerpting sections, starting at page 61: “The English word love has to be one of the most unusual words in our language. It’s supposedly packed with meaning, yet it seems inadequate when you really want to say something. So much so that Edgar Allan Poe wrote, ‘We loved with a love that was more than love.’ The word is overworked. Some dictionaries list as many as twenty-five meanings for love, and we’re apt to use them all in our everyday conversation.
“Just having one word for everything leads to confusion and absurd comparisons. For example, we love our lifelong sweetheart. But we also love fried chicken or quiche lorraine, this comparing our marriage partner of thirty years to a French cheese pie. We love our parents and our children. But we also love books or football or skiing vacations, apparently putting Mom and Dad on par with a weekend at Vail, or little Johnny in a competition with the Dallas Cowboys. We love freedom, surely a thing more precious than the shining machine in the driveway. But we love that new car; we also love our pet cat and a certain record album (this book was written in 1980, before the DVD) we bought last week. Not only do we love Jesus Christ, King of Kings and Lord of Lords, but we ‘just love Robert Redford’ – or Bob Hope. It all adds up to careless talk and sometimes, fuzzy thought….”
Page 62 …“in writing a book about love in marriage, we can call upon the precise language of the Greek New Testament for help. One expert pointed out, “Greek is a very subtle language, full of delicately modifying words, capable of the finest distinctions of meaning.” The Greeks of the New Testament era had at least five words that we can use to distinguish and describe the various aspects of love in marriage.
“As I (Dr. Wheat) gives you these five Greek words and their meaning in marriage, remember that this is not a language exercise, but a practical explanation of what love-life in marriage should be when love is finding its full expression in the relationship.”
Continuing on page 63 “By the way, there can be no such thing as window shopping here. You cannot pick and choose the kind of love you prefer and discard the others. Each builds on the other. Each has its own special, significant place, as you will find when you begin putting all these loves into practice in your marriage. But if they are quite distinctive, they are also interrelated so that the physical, emotional, and spiritual processes over-lap and reinforce each other in the act of loving.”
Dr. Wheat was an OB-GYN doctor and a Christian. He began to notice a pattern in his practice and he shared the greatest aspect of life – a couple bringing a child into this world. He saw the absolute joy in his patients faces as they gave birth, only to recall times of these patients sharing how confused they were about their marriages. After the babies where born, he also learned how many women struggled to remain married. He had other couples confide in him, even seasoned missionaries and couples who normally would not tell a person of the lack of love in their marriage. He realized God gave him more than a medical practice. He had to find a way to help these couples! The result was that his practice evolved into marriage counseling and after years, this book was born! And we are so glad it was! I will share what those five, interrelated aspects are, how they bring together the physical, emotional processes together and how they over-lap.
And how each reinforces each other in the act of loving! These were the first steps in our marriage becoming one of love-filled Christian marriage. Up next are the FIVE aspects of love to make a complete marriage, to rekindle a love lost, or to fire up a new love!
I also want to share Bill’s ultimate secret to marriage (at least at this stage in his life as it will evolve over time). He wraps it all up in one word: CHOICE! We choose to love, we choose to stay married, we choose to get along….it really is our choice. Just like our God, He wants us to choose to love Him! That is all Bill really wants (or wanted) from me. But poor guy, he was married to a professional investigator! I would never make a choice without all the FACTS!!! The next blog post, What is love anyway?
As we say in law enforcement, “Just the facts ma’am. That’s all we want.”
Next up: Chapter 5: Just what is love anyway?