Category Archives: Marriage

MARRIAGE IS A GIFT FROM GOD

Marriage is a Gift

Marriage can grow more beautiful every day or it can be a source of pain in our lives. It’s really all up to us. It depends on whether or not we choose forgiveness moment by moment.

When Michael and I got married three decades ago, we could have never dreamed of how deep our love would grow. Occasionally, we will have an argument, but now we forgive instantly rather than let an offense take root inside us.

My marriage to Michael is living proof that Christ can empower us to walk in forgiveness toward each other even in the midst of the worst circumstances. Sometimes a separation is necessary as it was for me in 2002, but any marriage can be saved if it is covered in persistent prayer (Luke 11: 9-10).

Marriage is a gift from God that thrives beautifully when it is Christ-centered.

I wrote an article in 2012 with ten tips for a passionate marriage and shared it on my blog in 2015. I submitted it to the Unveiled Wife website three years ago and they recently posted it. The article has not been updated, so it says I have been married twenty-eight years. However, I have actually been married thirty-one years.

I pray that you will be blessed by reading the ways Christ restored the passion in my marriage.

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Ten Ways to Have a Passionate Marriage

After a tumultuous season in our marriage and a brief separation, my husband and I decided to do whatever it took to get our lives back on track.

We met when I was an eighteen-year-old student and got married when I was nineteen.

Over a decade later we had two children, piles of debt from several failed businesses, and the stress had taken a toll on our relationship. Our marriage hit rock bottom.

Then after a season of brokenness, the healing of our rocky relationship began. Through prayer, forgiveness, and the love of Christ, our marriage not only survived—it was gloriously restored.

To celebrate what God had done for us, in 2010, we renewed our vows and celebrated our 25th wedding anniversary.

It’s now better than it’s ever been, twenty-eight years after we said, “I do.”

Marriage is a gift from God that is supposed to be a beautiful mirror image of the love between Christ and His church. It’s a covenant that is meant to last our entire lives.

How do we keep the passion alive throughout our lifetimes? Is it possible to be deeply in love after two or three decades of being together? Absolutely.

I will never stop sharing the story of my restored marriage. It’s a story of redemption that I hope will encourage other married couples to never give up.

A few years ago, a friend told me about a great idea she had for putting together a “Happy Marriage Recipe Booklet” for a bride-to-be she knew. My friend asked me to contribute my own special recipe for a great marriage.

After a few days of praying and searching my heart for the best marriage tips, I came up with a top ten list that has contributed to my thriving marriage.

To read the entire article, click the link below.

10 Ways To Have A Passionate Marriage

LOVE THAT LASTS FOREVER

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Michael looks into my eyes and takes my breath away. I have no doubt that our hearts were knitted together long before we met. We were made for each other. Thirty-one years after we said our vows on April 27, 1985, our love is stronger and more beautiful than ever.

During the hard years when the children were young and the stress seemed insurmountable, there were times when I actually felt nothing toward the man I had vowed to love forever. The misunderstandings and the hurts had taken their toll on my heart and it all seemed impossible to repair.

I began to understand why God desires that we pledge our love to each other for the rest of our earthly lives. It takes a lifetime to learn the true meaning of forgiveness and how to love unconditionally.

Through prayer and faith, our relationship was transformed. Christ renewed our love and restored our marriage.

With God, all things are possible (Luke 1:37).

After more than three decades, our love is deeper than I could have ever imagined. Christ’s love is the strength of our marriage. Where there is love, there will be beauty because love never fails.

Real and lasting love grows out of hearts that are knitted closely with God. The purest kind of love is filled with patience and kindness. It is not jealous or self-seeking. It does not remember past offenses. It rejoices with the truth. It never gives up on a person, is always full of faith, and will endure the hardest circumstances and come forth as pure as gold. Love that is built upon the rock of Christ is eternal and lasts forever.

“Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.” — 1 Corinthians 13: 4-7(NLT)

This piece has been revised from a previous post. The photo was captured the day we renewed our wedding vows in 2010.

TEN TIPS: A RECIPE FOR A BEAUTIFUL MARRIAGE

 

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After a tumultuous season in our marriage and a brief separation, my husband and I decided to do whatever it took to get our lives back on track. Michael and I met when I was an eighteen-year-old student and got married six weeks before I turned twenty in 1985.

Over a decade later we had two children and piles of debt from several job losses and failed businesses. The stresses of life had taken a toll on our relationship. Our marriage hit rock bottom. Then after a season of brokenness and desperation, the healing of our rocky relationship began. Through prayer, forgiveness, and the love of Christ, our marriage not only survived—it was gloriously restored. God gave me the desires of my heart for my marriage.

To celebrate what God had done for us, we renewed our vows and celebrated our 25th wedding anniversary in 2010. Our marriage is now better than it’s ever been, thirty years after we said, “I do.”

 

Vow Renewal 1

 

Marriage is a gift from God that is supposed to be a beautiful mirror image of the love between Christ and His church. It’s a covenant that is meant to last our entire lives. How do we keep the passion alive throughout a lifetime? Is it possible to be deeply in love after three or four decades of being together? Absolutely! Choosing to love each other unconditionally and allowing the sanctification that comes from walking with Christ will result in a lasting, loving marriage.

I will never stop sharing the story of my restored marriage. It’s a story of redemption that I hope will encourage other married couples to never give up.

Three years ago my friend, Lori, had a great idea for putting together a “Happy Marriage Recipe Booklet” for a bride-to-be. She asked me to contribute my own special recipe for a great marriage. After a few days of praying and searching my heart for the best marriage tips, I wrote a list of the top ten things that have contributed to my thriving marriage.

1. Live a life that is fully surrendered to Christ. Let Jesus be the lover of your soul. Let God be your primary love relationship. Do not expect your spouse to meet the needs of your soul that only Christ can meet.

2. Forgive every day. Keep a pure and tender heart toward your spouse always. Never let the sun go down on your anger.

3. Pray together every day. Pray for each other and with each other every day.

4. Talk intimately every day. Let your spouse see your heart. Share your dreams and the secret places of your soul to cultivate intimacy.

5. Compliment each other verbally every day. Never criticize. Ask the Lord to change your own weaknesses and pray for your spouse to grow spiritually. Spiritual growth naturally decreases the power of weaknesses. The Lord will purify you and your spouse if you pray and draw near to Him.

6. Keep a gratitude journal. Write at least one thing every day about your spouse that you are grateful for. Keep it in a place where it can easily be picked up and read every day.

7. Intentionally cultivate romance. Write love letters. Have candle light dinners. Dance together. Laugh together. Play together. Act as you did when you first met your spouse. Look your best for him/her. Take care of yourself.

8. Be your spouse’s best friend. Never put anything or anyone but Jesus before your spouse. Your children, friends, family, church, work, hobbies should never take higher priority than your marriage.

9. Never ever gossip about your spouse. Gossip will destroy a marriage relationship. Go directly to your spouse to discuss problems. If there is a serious problem, seek wise counsel from a pastor or licensed counselor. Don’t talk about your marriage problems with friends or family members.

10. Affair-proof your marriage. Never talk on the phone, be alone, or have heart conversations with the opposite gender unless it’s a close family member. This is how affairs start. Innocent phone calls to a friend’s spouse can lead to sharing intimate details of your life. Even same gender friendships can rob your marriage of intimacy. Don’t be tempted to share your most precious pearls with a friend. Save the treasures in your heart for your spouse. If you want a passion-filled marriage, you shouldn’t be best friends with someone else.

The list could go on and on. But these ten things have impacted me as a wife more than anything else. My marriage is not perfect, but it is very fulfilling and beautiful. It’s an ongoing learning process for both me and Michael. Together with Christ, we are learning how to love each other perfectly.

Are you in need of a marriage make-over? If Christ could restore my broken marriage, it’s possible for yours to be healed, too. Nothing is impossible for God (Luke 1:37). I know for sure—a marriage built on the Rock of Christ will never fail. It will serve to purify your heart more than any other relationship on earth. A Christ-centered marriage is guaranteed to be filled with passion and love beyond measure.

“I am my beloved’s and my beloved is mine; he grazes among the lilies.”

Song of Solomon 6:3

This post was written for my former blog and has been updated and revised.

STRONG MARRIAGES ARE BUILT ON THE ROCK OF CHRIST

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The sun was setting as Michael and I were walking to the edge of Mobile Bay to see the fireworks in Fairhope, Alabama. As my husband held my hand gently with his strong hand, it felt blissful to think back over nearly three decades of being married. For the first time in years, we had gotten away alone. The family-friendly and quaint city of Fairhope was the perfect way to celebrate the independence of our country and the beauty we’ve found in our marriage.

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Looking back at the beginning of our relationship, I could’ve never dreamed of how incredibly beautiful our marriage would be after twenty-nine years of being married. My grandmother had prayed for my husband since I was an infant. She often told me that she was praying for the man I would marry. Because of her words, as a young girl I possessed a unique confidence in God to lead me to the special man who was somewhere in the world waiting to reveal his love for me.

Our Wedding Picture

Twelve days after my eighteenth birthday, my prince arrived. Within six weeks, I knew Michael was the man I would marry. I wrote about it in my journal with limited words in case someone got a hold of my diary, and I kept it a secret in my heart until four weeks later, when I received the surprise of my life.

Ten weeks after we met, Michael whisked me away to the breathtaking North Georgia Mountains. He planned a day of hiking for us, and led me to Helton Creek Falls tucked deep in the woods—a place he had discovered years before and had dreamed about proposing to his future wife. While I was sitting on a tree limb in front of the waterfalls, Michael got down on his knee and presented me with a magnificent diamond ring. In his knightly way, he asked, “Will you marry me?”

Even though I’d known in my heart, Michael was the one for me; the question caught me off guard. Words about marriage had never come out of either of our mouths. It had only been seven days since Michael had first told me he loved me. I didn’t know that he’d been having the same intuitive thoughts I was having about our destiny together. He knew if he waited much longer the element of surprise would be lost. His plan worked. I was taken by complete surprise. The word, “Yes!” popped out of my mouth quicker than my mind could fully comprehend what was happening.

I was overjoyed and utterly amused by the thought of being his bride. It was a dream come true—one I had replayed over and over in my head while pretending to be a princess when I was a young girl. Even now, it evokes emotions in me, remembering the beauty of the summer we first fell in love. It was everything screenplay writers and poets write about. It was magical. If I’d not been so young, we would’ve married the summer we met.

We got married twenty-two months later in April, 1985. We were two young people passionately in love, making a pledge to walk in oneness. Some of the memories are crystal clear to me, others are not as clear. I have a twenty-seven page memory book I wrote about our wedding and honeymoon that helps to fill in the gaps.

The one detail etched in my mind above all others is how the Spirit of God was so powerful the day we said our vows. While taking communion, I wept as I sensed the Holy Spirit so powerfully. It was truly a union ordained by God. In my memory book, I wrote about how many of our guests said our wedding was the most meaningful ceremony they had ever attended. I believe our guests were sensing the powerful presence of Christ Jesus that day.

After celebrating with our family and friends, we made our departure for our much awaited honeymoon. Within minutes of arriving at our destination, an enthusiastic, young man approached our car and introduced himself to us. With a huge smile, he said, “I’m Derek.” He told us that the Just Married decorations on our car had captured his attention. We were at the Quality Inn in Orlando, Florida and weren’t expecting to get special attention. But Derek helped us carry our luggage in. Then he prayed the sweetest prayer with us about our new marriage.

We never saw Derek around the hotel again, except for one other time. During our stay there, he came to our room, knocked on the door, and handed Michael a card. Inside the card he wrote what I believe was a message from God. It was as though the young man knew we would need the encouraging words for the road ahead of us. He filled the card with words of blessings. It ended with these words: “May you both be willing to forgive each other when difficulties arise even as Christ Jesus forgives you. Don’t let the sun go down on your anger, but always seek restitution promptly. May your marriage be built on the rock of Jesus who ensures stability in trying times.

At the top of the card, he drew a picture of us standing on a rock. Next to it were the words, “The Rock of Jesus.” Many times I have wondered who Derek really was. He couldn’t have been more than twenty-five years old. How could he have so much wisdom? Was he really an angel in disguise?

On the Rock

This card has remained sacred to me since that day in 1985. I have kept it in a place of honor with our marriage certificate. Through the years when we were fighting storms that threatened to destroy our marriage, and all I could see was darkness around me, the Lord reminded me of the words of wisdom written in that card. When I felt like giving up, I held onto those words and God’s promises, and trusted the Lord to carry us through.

In the past—especially when our children were small and we had very little time for each other, the pain and disappointment in our relationship seemed impossible to recover from. But Derek’s words proved to be true, and we saw for ourselves that a marriage built firmly with Christ as the foundation will never fail. God’s love prevails no matter how much pain there is when we forgive each other daily through the power of His Holy Spirit.

Our recent trip to the Mobile Bay area will be forever etched in my mind as a time of joy and victorious celebration. As our hearts are now truly woven together as one in Christ, we celebrated and will continue to revel in all that God has done in our marriage to teach us about His love and forgiveness.

My heart is rejoicing because we made it through the fierce storms, the sun is shining brightly on our marriage, and our love is stronger than it’s ever been.

Michael and Amy

For those of you battling in your marriage I pray that you don’t give up. If my broken marriage could be restored and renewed, anyone’s can. I am confident you will make it through the heavy rains and strong winds that may come as long as you are standing firmly on the rock of Jesus Christ.

“Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against the house; yet it did not fall, because it had it’s foundation on the rock.”

— Matthew 7:24-27 (NIV)

REMAINING CLOSE TO CHRIST FOR STRENGTH IN MARRIAGE

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Michael looks into my eyes and takes my breath away. Twenty-nine years after we said our vows in front of God and our loved ones, our love is stronger than ever.

During the hard years when the children were young and the stress seemed insurmountable, there were times when I actually felt nothing toward the man I had vowed to love forever. The misunderstandings and the hurts had taken their toll on my heart and it all seemed impossible to repair.

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Now I know that with Christ all things are possible (Luke 1:37). Love grows out of hearts that are knitted closely with God. His love never fails.

I understand why God asks that we pledge our love to each other for the rest of our earthly lives because it takes a lifetime to learn how to love unconditionally and fearlessly.

After nearly three decades, our love is deeper than I could have ever imagined; it is a true miracle. As we remain close to Christ, His love is the strength of our marriage.

“Instead, we will speak the truth in love, growing in every way more and more like Christ, who is the head of his body, the church.” — Ephesians 4:15 (NLT)

I’m linking up for Five Minute Friday where Lisa Jo Baker and other awesome people write for five minutes flat with no self critiquing or no striving for perfection. This week’s prompt is: “Close.” It took me more than five minutes to write this post today.

The photos were taken the day we celebrated twenty-five years of marriage by renewing our wedding vows.

Five Minute Friday

MARRIAGE IS FULFILLING WHEN WE’RE WILLING TO LOVE SACRIFICIALLY

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That’s not what I am saying…I passionately defend myself to my husband as we try to hear each others’ hearts. We’ve been married for nearly twenty-nine years yet we still have trouble communicating at times. I believe God created men and women with opposite natures just so we would have to rely on Him in our commitment to each other. There is no other relationship that tests our ability to love unconditionally than the marriage.

Real love is when we are willing to sacrifice our own needs in order to see that our spouse’s needs are met first. My need as a woman to be heard and understood should be much less important to me than it is for me to respect my husband’s desires.

I am challenged daily to love purely with no selfish motives, but with the help of Christ and through His strength I know that I can press on in loving my husband sacrificially.

“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.  It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.  Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.  It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.”

— 1 Corinthians 13: 4-8 (New International Version)

I’m linking up for Five Minute Friday where Lisa Jo Baker and other awesome people write for five minutes flat with no self critiquing or no striving for perfection. This week’s prompt is: “Willing.”

The photo was taken the day my husband and I renewed our wedding vows.

Five Minute Friday

MY HERO AND BEST FRIEND

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As I look back over my marriage to Michael, I think of the laughter and joy, and the times we struggled to stay committed.

We have been in a battle to fight for our marriage from the beginning when we married at the ages of nineteen and twenty-three. Both of us coming from families that were broken up by divorce, the odds were against our marriage. But in the midst of every trial that we’ve endured, my husband has courageously fought for us. He has remained committed to the vows he made to me twenty-eight years ago. In the hardest of times, he has pressed on in loving me. I am grateful for our marriage and look forward to many more decades of sharing love with my hero and best friend.

“Many a man proclaims his own loyalty, but who can find a trustworthy man?” Proverbs 20:6 (NASB)

I’m linking up for Five Minute Friday where Lisa Jo Baker and other awesome people write for five minutes flat with no self critiquing or no striving for perfection. This week’s prompt is: “Hero.”

The photo was taken the day my husband and I renewed our wedding vows.

Five Minute Friday

TOGETHER WITH CHRIST

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It’s a good thing my husband Michael and I said, “Until death do us part” in our covenant to each other and to almighty God on that April day twenty-eight years ago because our love has been tested time and time again.

With a number of job losses and stresses in our lives we have been through seasons when we fought like cats and dogs. All along, there was a genuine love deep in our souls for each other underneath our selfishness. But our disunity seemed to dominate our relationship until we both learned to live a fully surrendered life to Christ.

Now, together with the Lord, we walk hand in hand in unity following our Creator into the destiny He has prepared for us.

“And the two are united into one. Since they are no longer two, but one…”  Mark 10:8 (New Living Translation)

I’m linking up for Five Minute Friday where Lisa Jo Baker and other awesome people write for five minutes flat with no self critiquing or no striving for perfection. This week’s prompt is: “Together”

The photo of my husband and me was captured by my daughter without us knowing she was photographing us.

Five Minute Friday

Five Minute Friday: Lonely

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I sat down at the dining room table and began sobbing as I faced the realities of the moment. There seemed to be multitudes of stresses in my life, and I felt all alone. I had taken the easy road and allowed a wall to go up between my husband and me that seemed to be ten thousand feet thick. It was in 1997 when I hit rock bottom.

I was desperate for Jesus. Through deep prayer, God showed me that I needed to forgive my husband in the same way He had forgiven me.

As I began to open my heart up again to my husband, he began to open his heart up to me. Brick by brick, Christ began taking down the wall that had kept us from the intimacy we both longed for.

The love we once had in our youth began to grow like a young, delicate plant, and eventually grew into a strong oak tree. Because of Christ, our lonely days are over. After twenty-eight years of marriage our love grows deeper with each passing year.

“My beloved is mine and I am his…” Song of Solomon 2:16 (NIV)

I’m linking up for Five Minute Friday where Lisa Jo Baker and other awesome people write for five minutes flat with no self critiquing or no striving for perfection. This week’s prompt is: “Lonely.” Today, I had a hard time finding a good stopping point. I wrote for about ten minutes.

Five Minute Friday

Love Never Fails

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To love and to be loved are the two greatest things we can experience in this life…I felt a warmth all around me when I heard these beautiful words spoken during a wedding toast once. I wholeheartedly agree that there is nothing that compares to the fulfillment of loving someone deeply and experiencing his or her love in return.

I am continually being challenged in my ability to love perfectly and unconditionally. Loving others when they’re kind to me is not a hard thing. The difficulty comes in repaying unkindness with kind deeds. If we only show love when we are treated kindly, then why do we need Christ?

Marriage is the perfect place to practice showing true Christ-like love.

I believe God loves bringing together complete opposites; this is what He did in my life, with my husband and me. It’s kind of funny when I think about how totally opposite we are. My husband is an introvert. I am an extrovert. He is a morning person. I am a night person. He is a reserved, more serious person. I am a free-spirited person. He is a ‘plan every detail’ kind of person. I am a ‘go with the flow’ kind of person. He is more of a spender. I am more of a saver. He is more laid back about housekeeping. I am the ‘wants everything in its place’ kind of person.

I could go on listing more differences in our God-given personalities. And I didn’t even mention the natural differences there are in men and women.

There’s a reason we said, “For better or for worse,” in our marriage vows. When two people come together with completely opposite natures, there will be friction. There is no way to get around it. One time, I heard someone say they preferred to have a mate with a similar personality to theirs. Not me. It would be totally boring to spend the rest of my life with someone like myself. I have no doubt that my husband Michael was made for me. But knowing we were made for each other doesn’t keep us from being tested in our ability to truly love one another.

The marriage relationship is the most powerful way to live out our Christianity. As husband and wife, we are bonded like no other bond.

When God began healing our marriage and tearing down the walls between us, a deep level of spiritual and emotional intimacy began growing in our relationship. We began sharing our deepest fears, our hurts, and our wildest dreams with each other. We laid out our most valuable treasures to share with the other, trusting that they would be delicately treated. There is no one on this earth that knows me more intimately than my husband.

It has been a beautiful thing. But as the depth of our marriage has grown, so has the cost. Our ability to hurt each other is much greater now. When we were holding tightly onto the deepest parts of our souls, it was safer. There wasn’t so much at stake.

Now my husband holds the most valuable part of me in his hand: my heart. I have given all of it to him, not small parts. He has it all. The only One who exceeds this bond is Christ. It is my bond with Christ that has allowed me to open my heart fully to my husband.

Without Christ’s love, I would have to keep my heart guarded and protected, living in mediocrity. I did that for many years. I lived and loved halfheartedly. I was too busy trying to protect myself from hurt to really love the way I know Christ intends for me to. The cost was too high for me. I knew that if I dared to love as Christ loves, I could end up getting hurt; therefore, I didn’t take many risks.

Things started changing when I allowed Christ to begin healing the wounded places in my heart. As He healed each wound, a piece of the protective shield that surrounded my heart began breaking away. I began opening myself to my husband in ways I never had before. I began letting him see my bare soul.

I consciously made a decision to love with all my strength no matter what the cost. It hasn’t been as easy as I thought it would be. My unguarded heart is vulnerable and when hurt is inflicted, it can go deep. Loving hard, loving fully means hurting sometimes. That’s part of it.

The marriage relationship is the place that love is tested the most. The closeness in the relationship forces us to face our differences. The only other option is to grow apart, living together in the same house. What’s the point in that? We didn’t get married to be roommates. We want to be lovers and best friends.

I remember a pivotal time in my marriage that changed how I related to Michael. He had hurt my feelings, and I was having a hard time letting it go. I just kept thinking, “I have a right to feel this way.” My flesh was demanding its way. I wanted my husband to come to me and make it right. Instead of loving him unconditionally, I allowed a wall to go up between us. The protective barriers were creeping back around my heart.

I had an option; I could either keep waiting on him to come and make it right or I could let go of my hurt and be the initiator of the reconciliation. It’s so much easier to wait, let him come to me, and let him admit his wrong. It feels better that way.

After contemplating my choices for a while, I ended up in my secluded place with the Lord, praying softly. “Lord Jesus, what would You do in the situation I am in?” He immediately whispered His words to me. Love him, expecting nothing in return. It hit me in my spirit like a ton of bricks. My mind was bombarded with thoughts. How can I do this? Everything in me wants something in return.

The Lord flooded out my thoughts with a Bible verse I had memorized during my high school years…I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength (Philippians 4:13).

As I pondered the Bible verse, Christ continued speaking to me in my heart. I felt His Spirit nudging me to read 1 Corinthians 13, even though I had read it dozens of times throughout my life. I sensed God asking me to read it in the Living Bible translation. I went into our office, pulled my old Bible off the bookshelf, and began reading the beautiful scriptures about love.

“Love is very patient, never jealous or envious, never boastful or proud, never haughty or selfish or rude. Love does not demand its own way. It is not irritable or touchy. It does not hold grudges and will hardly ever notice when others do it wrong. It is never glad about injustice, but rejoices whenever truth wins out. If you love someone you will be loyal to him no matter what the cost. You will always believe in him, always expect the best of him, and always stand your ground in defending him.” Corinthians 13:4-7

By the time I got to the end, I was weeping. I asked the Lord to forgive me for the mistake I had made. I had gotten so caught up in what wrong had been inflicted on me that it was all I could see. Since that day, I have prayed often for the Lord to allow me to continually be an instrument of His unconditional love.

Letting go of hurt is difficult. Loving someone regardless of the hurt that may have been imposed is hard. It means I have to die to my desires to be heard and die to my desires to be understood. It means putting others’ feelings before mine.

Mother Teresa knew how to love. It’s obvious that she understood that sometimes loving hurts by the words she spoke, “I have found the paradox, that if you love until it hurts, there can be no more hurt, only more love.”  Her words echo in my soul, reminding me to keep pressing on in this journey of unconditional love.

I want to love with no boundaries, take every risk possible, and love at all costs. The awards are amazing. The irony I see in all of this is that when I hold back from loving purely, I am sabotaging my chances for the deep connection my spirit is craving. At times, I still get caught up in the belief that holding back will protect me from hurt. In reality, when I hold back on love, I am hurting myself more and I miss out on a fulfilling marriage relationship.

When I dive in, loving my husband as fully as I possibly can, the desires of my heart are fulfilled. Each time I take a risk, it hurts at the moment to deny my own needs, but in the long run my marriage is blessed beyond measure; the romantic love returns, the passion comes alive, and our relationship flourishes.

God made no mistake when he chose my husband for me. He knew my weaknesses needed to be my husband’s strengths and that my strengths needed to be his weaknesses. We need each other. This is what oneness is about (Genesis 2:24). Loving unconditionally is a process that takes a lifetime to learn.

It’s amazing—this thing called love. There is no greater power than the power of love. It’s worth the risk. It’s worth the tears. It’s worth diving in as deep as you can go…because no matter what, love never fails.

“Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge; it will pass away.”  1 Corinthians 13:8 (NIV)

This piece has been revised and was originally written in 2008. Today, I am so thankful for the love I have in Christ and for the way it spills over into my marriage after twenty-eight years. The photo was taken the day my husband and I renewed our wedding vows.