Love is a Verb!
Jody and I attended the same high school in Alabama in the early 80’s. He transferred to my school in his Junior year when his Dad was assigned to the military base a few miles away from my hometown. We had a few classes together and soon became friends. Jody and I ate lunch together each day with a group of 4 or 5 other friends, and over lunch we discussed everything. We learned about each other and enjoyed each other’s company. We hung out during school and after school, but always just as friends. When the Senior Prom rolled around, we both had dates with other people. He had asked a girl from one of his classes and I had asked a boy from the local college. About two weeks before the prom, Jody's date dumped him and it looked like he would miss the prom and all the subsequent parties. I hated it for him, and with the help of a mutual friend ... thank you Kimra ... Jody was encouraged, and built up the courage, to invite me. I loved the idea of going to the prom with someone who had experienced high school with me - I knew we would have a great time. So, I dumped my college date and Jody and I made our plans to go together.
The big day arrived and Jody picked me up in his parent’s car. The car sparkled with the intensive washing he had given it. Jody wore a black tuxedo and looked very handsome! He came inside, spoke with my parents, gave me a corsage, and off we went. He was a gentleman, and in Jody fashion, opened the car door for me. When I got in the car I noticed a beautiful white rose laying on my seat. I picked it up and thanked him for the thoughtful gesture. He stated that he hoped the night would be one that I would always remember, and he wanted to start it off in a special way. Throughout the evening, Jody surprised me with kindness after kindness. He was the perfect date. We danced, drank punch, shared many laughs, had easy conversation, and enjoyed our mutual friends. It was a picture perfect night. After the prom, we went with some friends to dinner at a Japanese steak house before setting off to attend the first of three parties scheduled to commemorate the end of this chapter of our young lives. We were having a lovely night. Periodically I found myself thinking about what it would be like to be on a real date with Jody.
We left the second party with a 90 minute gap before the next party started. To fill the time, Jody suggested a drive out to a lake - lake Yahoo! That is not made up, although I’m not sure of the spelling. It was there that cupid shot his arrow through my heart. After parking the car, Jody leaned over and kissed me. The kiss was not completely unexpected, but was absolutely life changing! The kiss lasted about an hour … no joke! The next thing we knew, a policeman was tapping on the window asking us "to move on." WOW! What a kiss. Every bell and whistle sounded! My heart gushed, my spirit soared and my mind raced with thoughts of Jody in a whole new way. Scientist would say the state of limerence, or infatuation, had just begun. My eighteen year-old self told my sleepy parents later that morning that, “I was in love!”
Those feelings are an excellent starting place for marriage, but they alone cannot sustain you! At best, they can get you through a few months, or even a year, but for sure not a lifetime. Love starts at the moment of a well-timed perfect kiss, but it is sustained through purposeful work. God, the creator of our hearts, knows this to be the case. He also knows that the thrill of the first kiss will wane. But a purposeful and cultivated lifetime of loving your spouse well will never diminish. That is why God commands us, throughout all of Scripture, to love each other well. From Leviticus (Lev. 19:18) to Matthew (Matt. 22:37-39), God gives us marching orders to do the actions of love. Actions, not feelings! When Jesus stated “love your neighbor" ... take this to mean, “love your spouse,” He wasn't commanding an emotion, He commanded action! When I hear a young couple state that they have fallen out of love, what I hear them saying is that they are tired of doing the actions of love. I know from personal experience that once a decision is made to love again, and an action plan is established, love can be restored! So don’t lose heart and don’t jump ship too quickly!
So how do you love your spouse well? This may look different for you than for someone else, but there are a couple of principles that are a bedrock for us all.
1) Love your spouse more than you love yourself
2) Become a student of your spouse and an expert at speaking his or her love language
3) Put the Gospel into action in your marriage by practicing repentance and forgiveness
4) Keep things hot (and holy) in the bedroom
There is no way for me to cover all these today and do each topic justice. Instead, I will start my very first Word Washed Wife series😊! By the end of this series, I will ask you to subscribe so that you may receive #4 via e-mail. I'm not sure I feel comfortable posting it to Facebook. I am not ashamed of sex, on the contrary, I love it. But, I am modest and respect the beauty of the marriage bed. So, keep reading and if you haven't subscribed already, subscribe today!
Jody reminds me of his love each and every time he sends me flowers - the bouquet always has one single white rose. And when I see it, I think of that beautiful night and get a chill bump or two, even after 31 years of marriage! Ain't love grand!
I appreciate you reading this blog, and I'm thrilled that you are taking this journey with me. Live a word washed life and allow your marriage to reflect the Gospel! Keep reading....
That is why a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife,
and they become one flesh.