**Happy Birthday, Dad!**
Chapter 3: Learning to Love: How Marriage Teaches Us to Love
There were two things that stood out to me in this chapter. The first is summed up by the quote at the beginning of the chapter..
Marriage requires a radical commitment to love our spouses as they are, while longing for them to become what they are not yet. Every marriage moves either toward enhancing one another’s glory or toward degrading each other. – Dan Allender and Tremper Longman III
This chapter reminds us that love is an ongoing process. You don’t “arrive at” loving your spouse. Sure, at some point you realized you loved your spouse (hopefully), but it was most likely through the growth of your relationship, not something that smacked you in the head out of the blue. It’s not something you can finish and walk away from. You have to nurture it, work at it, so that it grows and changes along with you, your relationship, and your life.
I remember when I first realized that I loved Husband. This might sound bad, but I didn’t want to admit it to myself. The idea of it scared me a little. Because I knew it was kind of a big deal. I wasn’t afraid of what it meant, I just knew it would change life forever and I wasn’t sure I was quite ready for that kind of commitment.
Having been married almost 13 years now, our love is different than when we first said, “I love you.” It’s different than when we said, “I do.” It’s different than when we first met our son. And our daughter. As it should be. Life has changed a lot in the last 13 years. And if our love stayed the same while we grew and changed, it probably wouldn’t be a good thing.
The second thing that stood out to me is that marriage is the ultimate workout for learning to love. Thomas says, “When we love well, we please God….by loving others, we bring enormous pleasure to our heavenly Father.” We please God when we love our spouse well. I like the phrase he uses there, ”love well.” Not a little or a lot. But well. You can do lots of things – overdo them, even – without doing them well.
I know how I feel when Caedmon and Honor are loving each other well. No, it’s not always my idea of what love should look like. Because I don’t think 87 slobbery little kid kisses in 60 seconds is the best way to express love between a four year-old and a six month-old. But that will change as they get older. In a few years, the thought of giving each other a kiss might be met with eye-rolls. They will still love each other. Just in a different way. But knowing that they love each other and do it well makes my heart happy. How much happier must God be when we love our spouses well?
Allow your love to change and grow. But while you’re doing it, be sure to love well.