When Husband is out of town, it is easy to have a perfect Valentine’s Day. Longing to be together, missing each other… the absence makes the differences and difficulties seem far away as well.
For there have been days when we have struggled, pushed, pulled. Tears have flowed.
My careless words fly. Feelings get hurt. Sometimes silence has ruled, me being too angry or hurt (those two are closely related, yes?) to speak.
Misunderstanding turns into stone walls.
But, Love wins out. Not our love for each other. No, that love can be small and then smaller in the difficult moments. Sin can overcrowd our love.
The Love that wins in our marriage is His love. Gospel Love.
When the walls come up and the silence threatens, He draws us to Himself, reminds us of a Perfect Love that is stronger and better and more real and lasting than even our forever vows we made to each other.
When I am alone, replaying ugly thoughts in my head, very carefully building my case for how right I am and how I have been wronged (in my self-love I don’t consider that I have wronged, too… horrible pride!), He breaks through. “Is this what you want, to prove yourself right and righteous and then be… alone? To eat the fruit of a self-loving life? To withhold forgiveness, and so, have forgiveness withheld from you?”
Oh yes, Lord. Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who have sinned against us.
And He reminds me of how I have been Loved and drawn in and forgiven. And that if I want to be forgiven, I must forgive and lay down my right-ness so that I can be in a relationship with Him and with him.
So the reason we can keep going, the reason there is joy on Valentine’s Days and ordinary days in between, is that we have both been pursued by a never-ending Love. In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.
And that Love comes to us in our dark times and shines light and hope and causes us to lay down our rightness (which is really no rightness at all), to break the silence and tear down the walls we so carefully built. To enter back into relationship with each other, and with the Lover of our souls.
His Love is what keeps us coming back to each other, opening the door after it’s been shut hard. Because His Love keeps coming back to us, pursuing us. Keeps drawing us in and toward each other.
His Love is what breaks through our pride and keeps the important words from staying shut in tight. I love you. I’m so sorry. Will you forgive me?
And His Love brews the important answers deep and strong. I have been forgiven much and I forgive you. I’m not going anywhere. And just so you know, in case this happens again, I’ll forgive you again.
And I understand again what the Gospel means for my heart, what it means for my marriage. And I echo with William Cowper the precious words, “Redeeming Love has been my theme, and shall be ’till I die.”