“There will come a day when being in love isn’t enough.”
I don't remember who said that to me as my wedding date got closer. All I remember is my train of thought after I smiled, nodded, and went on my dreamy-eyed way. It ran along the lines of believing that Levi and I had done everything right in preparing for a lifetime of living together.
We had premarital counseling from a couple who had already made it nearly twenty years. We were saving ourselves, physically, for our wedding night. We prayed together. We went to church together. We talked about all the issues, like kids and careers and beliefs. We were adults.
This lead me to believe that Levi and I would be the exception to that "love isn't always enough" line. Of course love would be enough for us. It would be easy to maintain the intimate, kindred-spirit attraction and rapport we enjoyed so thoroughly at nineteen.
Slowly, but surely, there came a day in our marriage where love was definitely not enough. Levi never stopped loving me, but I most certainly did not love him any more. Why?
Basically, on my end, it was because he had let me down. *Gasp!* He wasn't perfect! I had high, romantic expectations. Of what, I'm not entirely sure. I thought I was grounded in reality. I was not. I was firmly rooted in the world's idea of what love is.
And that view is that love = romance. It's supposed to be that twitter-pated, goose-bumpy feeling, charged with electricity and excitement to the end of your days! This would be funny if it weren't so sad.
Of course, I'm not saying that romance isn't part of the picture. I'm just saying that I thought it was the whole picture.
Though I had been told that love was more than than sunset walks on the beach, I look back now, and realize I didn't really believe that, because Levi was different than all the other inferior beings out there who claim to be men.
Turns out he is, but not in the way I wanted him to be different.
When I finally experienced the hard truth that love isn't always enough, I had a decision to make. Thanks to a few women who loved me enough to tell me the truth and pray with and for me, I chose to look to the One whose bride I became long before I had ever met Levi: Jesus.
Very, very slowly, and with several stumbleings, I made my way back to my First Love. There, I found Love Himself – and that became enough.
In the meantime, it was bare commitment, by the grace of God, that held me where I was. It wasn't long before Jesus awakened me to the love Levi still had for me. His had never wavered. It had hidden from me, in places I had not thought to look. Once I opened my eyes, my own love began to grow again, but differently. More sturdy than before.
Before, it was like a poppy; here only for a day, blooming gorgeously, but gone as soon as night fell. Now, it's like a tree, planted by streams of water. Sturdy, immovable, and hearty. Its foundation is different.
I discovered that romance comes and goes. Being "in love" doesn't last a lifetime. And that's OKAY!
Being in love surprises you every so often, and is pretty darn pleasant while it lasts.
Love as the world knows it isn't enough. It never will be. Love as God defines it is, however, more than enough. It is richer, deeper, and far more satisfying. It makes falling in love with Levi come easier and more often. I get to have my cake and eat it too!
" Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails." ~1 Corinthians 13:4-8a (NIV)
I am very far from living up to this standard, but it is the standard I am working toward everyday. It certainly helps that I have a husband working just as hard. He and I are weak in different areas too, so that helps some, as does keeping a sense of humor firmly intact. 🙂
I never would have believed that "love" isn't always enough if I hadn't experienced it myself. Now, I know better, and am happier for it.
NOTE: Please know that I am only sharing MY personal story, and this is in no way a comment on the stories of others. Truly – no judgment here. Only my own heart in my own story.