About two weeks ago, a pair of my friends got married, pledged their love before the Lord and all their friends and loved ones, and are now happily husband and wife. O what blissful joy!
My mum gave the exhortation at the wedding ceremony. Usually those words sound familiar because the message is often repeated, only in its various forms, at different weddings. But this time, something mum said struck me worthwhile and true. I promised to take it down.
You know how we are always talking about loving someone? We think about all the beautiful qualities the person we are in love with has, we ask romantic things like, What do you love about me?, we take complementary tests and personality tests just to affirm that a couple is a perfect match, we think about how beautiful the babies will look like with such a beautiful couple.
But romanticism aside, all these affirmations or questions are merely devised by man to affirm the love between a couple. It does not prove the love between a couple, and it definitely does not suggest that a couple will remain happily in love forever – if they are tested “99% complementary” a month before they tied the knot.
All these romantic markers we look out for in a relationship to decide whether it works or it does not, has actually caused us to forget what we truly need to focus on to make a marriage last: how to love.
We do not love someone for their golden locks, or beautiful smile, or sexy physique. Those are superficial. Neither should we love someone for their cheerful personality, amiable friendliness, and open mindedness. Those things will change over time. People change, hearts change, and minds change.
Perhaps this is why we see a lot of people divorced today – because we assume that our partners will stay the same. When life rubs their the hard way and things get rough and our partners change, we say, “I do not know you anymore”, and maybe, go on to say the wedding is void because “you are not the person I married.”
Before I heard this message at the wedding, I must say that I probably assumed my future partner to stay the same way too. I would not fall in love with his physical features, I was certain, but what is wrong with falling in love with his personality, with his heart and mind? It was wrong because thinking that caused me to forget that he will change, a decade or so down the road. What then? Do I disacknowledge the marriage vows taken before the Lord… because he is no longer the same man?
How can we love then? If Christ is the centre of a marriage, would we then learn how to love one another better? If we learn to love one another with the love that comes from God – because God first loved us – not because of another person’s good qualities, we will hopefully realise what it means when we say, “Love comes from God. God is Love.”
And I suppose when we seek to love God more wholly, rather than love our partners, the love exuded from a couple’s relationship will not be one centred around the couple – it will be instead, a love centred around God, the Creator of the Universe, the Lord who joined the two hearts as one. That will be one that is the most beautiful and pleasing and eternal, wouldn’t it?
As a sidenote, I am glad I have learned to put down. :)