By Mark Brice
Why do I love my wife?
My love for my wife started off as an attraction, but it was more of a liking than a love. She was a sarcastically funny woman who would not hesitate to mock or tease me (or that is what I remember). I couldn’t help but be attracted to her biting wit. The love I have for her now, though, cannot even compare to those feelings of attraction that I had about her early on.
I had not yet learned about her deepest wounds and sadnesses, and therefore could not love her intimately. It was when she first opened up to me about her fears that I think my feelings of attraction grew into love. That was when I began to “choose” to love her as opposed to relying on feelings.
During our engagement, I began to see a woman who values her family and friends and is dedicated to their success. She is committed to remembering birthdays, setting up Skype dates, and being help whenever she is a guest. She is a confidante not only to her friends and family, but also to my family and especially my mother. Her listening and observational skills pick up the most minute detail and she uses these to build others up and help them grow past their walls. These are all things that I fail at, and when I see her utilizing her skills, my love is mingled with pride.
I remember learning in my college years that love eventually became a choice. Even knowing this, I still struggle to choose to love my wife. There are so many distractions and ways that I can serve myself, instead of choosing to love my wife. This is especially true in the day-to-day where you can come home from work and flop on the couch and not pick up the clothes and shoes that have been sitting around for the past few days. I catch myself in these moments, reminding myself that those are the places where love must abound in action. Not the romantic love I always fantasized about earlier in my life, but the lived-out love that you have to learn.
Why do I love my wife? Every day she comes home from work and hugs me. She is one of the few people patient enough to listen to my thoughts and frustrations. She UNDERSTANDS me and KNOWS me, and still she CHOOSES to love me! So few people know my heart, the wretched dirty parts that are redeemed by Christ, and fewer still are able to look into the face of my sinfulness and choose to love me nonetheless.
I have the capacity to hurt or love her more deeply than anyone else. This power is frightening and it is only by God’s grace that I can avoid the former and achieve the latter. I entered into a covenant with her before God, our family, and our friends, to love her through all of the joys and challenges of life. I seek to uphold this covenant on a daily basis, though I need to remind myself of my responsibility constantly. It is not a sexy thing to say that you love your wife out of a sense of duty or obligation to a promise made, but for me, it is an essential component of my love. My faith and my love are inextricably woven together, and it is by God’s grace that I will be able to love my bride in spite of my own inadequacies.
I love her because I want to love her. Because she knows me and chooses to love me. Because I am called to love her. I wait, in eager anticipation, for the day we are called home and can love one another perfectly.