Ten years ago on this date I stated my vows before God, family and friends to love, honor and obey my wonderful husband Justin Wright. Ten years later we are still married and madly in love with one another. I've come to the conclusion that most people get married because their mate brings out the best in them but marriage also has the tendency for our mates to see, experience and bring out the worst in us at times. Marriage is a great culmination of commitment, companionship, faithfulness, loyalty and above all LOVE. A marriage that focuses on ALL that love includes can survive insurmountable obstacles.
Several years ago when I worked with the middle school youth group at Chestnut Ridge Church one of the other female leaders (a reader of this blog I believe) gave me a print out about the difference between love and lust. Not lust as a sexual desire but lust as selfish desires that live in each of us and are the ugly side to all of us. The list was based on 1 Corinthians 13 and basically showed how lust is the opposite of the love God desires us to show those around us.
Love is patient - Lust can't wait; it's impulsive
Love is kind - Lust is critical; it wants its own way
Love does not envy - Lust seeks more than it earns
Love does not boast - Lust builds up self no matter who it hurts
Love is not proud - Lust is easily threatened
Love is not rude - Lust is disrespectful
Love is not self-seeking - Lust is demanding
Love is not easily angered - Lust is moody and lashes out
Love forgives others - Lust says "vengeance is mine"
Love hates evil - Lust does anything to get its own way, it rationalizes
Love rejoices in truth - Lust encourages lies and tries to hide sins
Love always protects - Lust doesn't care who it hurts, it just wants its own way
Love always perseveres - Lust backs out when times are tough
Love always hopes - Lust says, "If you blow it, you're out"
Love never fails - Lust stops when it isn't being served
Love is unending - Lust lasts just for a while and then fades
Love is enduring - Lust is insecure
Love is faithful - Lust will cheat on you
Love is commitment - Lust is not trustworthy
So, how does my ten years of marriage measure up in the love department? Well, lets just say that lust, as defined by this list, has definitely entered our marriage. I am selfish, critical, moody. I want my own way, I am demanding and want to have my needs served. These attitudes do not characterize my heart for my marriage on a regular basis but they certainly have shown up over the last ten years. I believe that each of us marries to get a mate and find out we got a mess instead (make sure you include yourself in that equation!) I have seen time and time again that love, when applied as 1 Cor. encourages, can bring about the glory of God in marriages. From the couple that stays married despite infidelity, to the couple that overcomes multiple surgeries and physical difficulties. The couple that finds out just how different they are and maybe change so much they feel they don't even know each other. Any couple that survives infertility, miscarriage or the death of a child. Marriages that survive infancy (at least in my opinion!) and raising kids. Even though flawed, marriages that survive and thrive are a picture of the love that God has for His people. He loves with perfection and His love is completely unconditional. Lust never characterizes His love for us. I have grown in my desire over the last ten years to learn and work at applying to my life loving in this way. Not only in my marriage and my parenting but in all my relationships. I have a LOOOOONG way to go but I am so thankful that I have a great God as a perfect example and a great God-given life partner to walk through this journey with. I love you Justin and pray that God would make the next 50 years better every day!
Thanks for reading and I pray that you would be blessed and encouraged to evaluate your love life towards those around you.