What does love mean?
Saturday afternoon two of my friends (Jordan and Lydia) are tying the knot. What a great time to reflect on my own marriage and your marriage too! The content of love in a marriage sometimes is best realized from someone looking in at the relationship and offering what they see. A group of professional people posed this question to a group of 4 to 8 year-olds, “What does love mean?” Here are a few of their responses, followed by application for your marriage:
“When my grandmother got arthritis, she couldn't bend over and paint her toenails anymore. So my grandfather does it for her all the time, even when his hands got arthritis too. That's love.” –Rebecca, age 8. Paul tells husbands “Love your wives as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her.” (Eph 5:25) Being willing to sacrifice our life is not just relegated to physical dying on one’s behalf. Love is about self-denial, putting our spouse’s comfort above our own. Make sure you give yourselves up.
“Love is when you kiss all the time. Then when you get tired of kissing, you still want to be together and you talk more. My Mommy and Daddy are like that. They look gross when they kiss” –Emily, age 8. In Prov 5:18-19, we see that God gives us an incredible gift of intimacy that is to be shared and enjoyed between husband and wife. “May your fountain be blessed, and may you rejoice in the wife of your youth. A loving doe, a graceful deer —may her breasts satisfy you always, may you ever be captivated by her love.” Make sure you protect and nurture your intimacy. It is truly a gift from God.
And now, perhaps my favorite response: “Love is when Mommy gives Daddy the best piece of chicken.” –Elaine, age 5. Why is this so great to me? Because I like chicken! I also like having the best, who doesn’t? Paul writes about God’s best for our marriage; “Each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.” (Eph 5:33) God designed a wife to both desire and need to be taken care of by her husband. He as well, designed her husband to be well suited to accomplish this task. He has placed within the very DNA of a husband to desire and need respect (read ‘awe’) from his wife. God, never doing anything haphazard, made his wife in such a way with the ‘goods’ to meet this need. A marriage is healthy when we choose to give our best. Make sure your best is always given to each other.