"If I speak with human eloquence and angelic ecstasy but don't love, I'm nothing but the creaking of a rusty gate. If I speak God's Word with power, revealing all his mysteries and making everything plain as day, and if I have faith that says to a mountain, "Jump," and it jumps, but I don't love, I'm nothing. If I give everything I own to the poor and even go to the stake to be burned as a martyr, but I don't love, I've gotten nowhere. So, no matter what I say, what I believe, and what I do, I'm bankrupt without love. Love never gives up. Love cares more for others than for self. Love doesn't want what it doesn't have. Love doesn't strut, Doesn't have a swelled head, Doesn't force itself on others, Isn't always "me first," Doesn't fly off the handle, Doesn't keep score of the sins of others, Doesn't revel when others grovel, Takes pleasure in the flowering of truth, Puts up with anything, Trusts God always, Always looks for the best, Never looks back, But keeps going to the end. Love never dies. Inspired speech will be over some day; praying in tongues will end; understanding will reach its limit. We know only a portion of the truth, and what we say about God is always incomplete. But when the Complete arrives, our incompletes will be canceled. When I was an infant at my mother's breast, I gurgled and cooed like any infant. When I grew up, I left those infant ways for good. We don't yet see things clearly. We're squinting in a fog, peering through a mist. But it won't be long before the weather clears and the sun shines bright! We'll see it all then, see it all as clearly as God sees us, knowing him directly just as he knows us! But for right now, until that completeness, we have three things to do to lead us toward that consummation: Trust steadily in God, hope unswervingly, love extravagantly. And the best of the three is love." - 1 Cor.13
When Tony and I were engaged, he came up with a saying that became our marriage's motto of sorts, "Forever won't be long enough." We would include that on notes and cards to one another throughout our engagement.
After our marriage, we shortened the phrase to FWBLE. The phrase was too long to go on my wedding band, so we just used the first letters of each word. A local paper interviewed us just before the weekend of our wedding and we told our "adoring" public (aka, the folks who happened to read the Tennessean that day) all about FWBLE.
All together now: Awwwwwww.
Yep. It was pretty sappy. But I was married to the king of sap!
It made a great little country song that I wrote after he died. Sang it for a couple of weddings and a worship service once. It came close to getting picked up by a country band, too, if you can actually believe that. As the teenagers would say, "What-ever."
The truth is that sucessful, long lasting marriages aren't built on sweet phrases and thankfully, ours wasn't. They aren't even built on emotions like love or warm fuzzy feelings. Why? Because there comes a time in every marriage when the happy couple figures out that honeymoon is over... and the real life together begins. And trust me, there are no warm fuzzy feelings when that man that you love so much comes up to you, wanting to snuggle after he has been out cutting grass and desperately needs a shower! And, he's not going to be so happy with you when you roll out of the sack looking like you've been fighting the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles all night long, so much so that you even ripped a hole in the your old t-shirt that you've been sleeping in since college. One of you will snore and keep the other one awake!
And there will be days when one or the other will be seriously ill and the other will have just spent every waking hour at a hospital with him for the past several days/weeks... praying...
That's not to say joyous occasions don't happen. They most certainly do. Additions to the family, weddings, graduations, birthdays and other happy celebrations will be special days.
The real happily ever after marriages are from the beginning built on a relationship with Jesus first and then unconditional love, respect and commitment to one another second. That means you still love him in spite of the peeling paint from his snoring. And he's still crazy about you in spite of the bedhead hair you have first thing in the morning.
Having said all that, I played two weddings today. Both were for daughters of long-time friends. Both brides have AMAZING God stories. And both couples have a tough (but great) road ahead, if the roads behind them are of any indication of what kind of future they might have. I am thankful that God has blessed each of these two young women with wonderful husbands who will care for them... and meet their every need! And most of all, they love Jesus... more than they love one another.
My sincerest best wishes to Jessica and Ryan, and to Jacqui and RJ! God bless you guys!!!