Film makers would like us to believe that the epitome of true love is that magical moment when the man gets down on bended knee and asks his sweetheart to marry him. The film ends after the first kiss, and you leave the movie feeling all happy inside that true love conquered and won.
I’m a helpless romantic. Ever since I was little I dreamed of a man adoring me. When my Prince Charming did come, I learned I had to grow up. The first month of our courtship was spent talking through some hard issues. Sean was reserved in giving compliments and in telling me that he loved me. He had previously dated before, and he wanted to simply prove himself faithful to me, instead of starting our courtship with all sorts of romantic gestures. Those things did come, as I am blessed to be married to a romantic man! But it helped me learn more about true love, and now 11 years later, I have a better understanding of what true love is.
True love is steady.
It does not waver when the storm clouds hit. And there will be storm clouds. I never dreamed that our marriage would endure so many trials, things we had absolutely no control over during our first 10 years of marriage. True love tries to shelter you, not because you are not capable of handling those trials. Rather it is because your husband loves you so much he doesn’t want the heartache of sharing those trials with you.
True love is intense.
It involves miscommunications, hurt feelings, and yes even fights. No marriage is perfect but true love prevails through these times. It gives you the strength to say “I’m sorry” at the end of the day. True love does not give divorce a second thought during the bad times, because it believes that when you say “I Do” that it is until death disturbs that vow.
True love is not based on looks.
It does not love based on sexy appearances, or desiring a wife that looks 18 when she is 40. True love strives to give of our best for our spouse, but also realizing that motherhood takes a toll. Stretch marks are love marks, and it took a man and a woman together for those stretch marks to happen! It does not flinch during the months of throwing up from morning sickness. True love lets you know that even though you feel like a giant elephant at 9 months, he thinks you are radiant.
True love is faithful.
It is understanding of each other’s weaknesses and keeping each other in check. It does not resort to paranoia and immediately jumping to conclusions of unfaithfulness. However, true love shares freely of interactions taking place with the opposite sex. It does not give room for undue suspicion to arise. True love is jealous of each other in a good way, always demanding the upmost loyalty.
True love is helpful and practical.
It models love by changing diapers, doing dishes, fixing the garbage disposal, hanging up pictures, taking a suit to the dry cleaners, and having warm meals on the table. Love does not survive long on mere feelings after a marriage takes place. If the practicals are left alone while the wife sits on the couch eating bon bons and the husband is playing video games, the bills will not get paid, the house will be infested with mice from being dirty and the marriage will fall apart.
Finally, true love is passionate.
Just as I stated above, though marriage requires the practical demonstrations of love, no marriage should survive without the romantic side. This is the icing on the cake, the dessert part of marriage. Everyone wants this, but in order to have the romantic side the practical side must be tended to. The passionate side of marriage does not always have to be huge displays of fireworks. Texting filled with flirty messages, sweet kisses in front of the children, a love note slipped in the lunch pail sent to work – these are all romantic gestures that help a marriage along day in and day out. And when the fireworks happen, those wildly romantic moments of marriage that you never forget, you cling to those during the diaper changes. True love plans to be there for each other, it means the wife takes a nap during the day so she has energy for her husband when he comes home. It does not allow the children to come between the marriage, for they came after that union was formed. It is Shakespeare sonnets and chocolate, but most importantly (and most enduringly) it is consistent, daily acts of service to the one you pledged your life to. I truth, these are the marriages that are most passionate as well as the most durable. They are the sort of marriages couples grow old in, as much in love as they ever were.