True love waits for many things.
It waits for Mr. Right to providentially appear instead of settling for Mr. Pseudo-Okay. And even after the diamond is glittering on your finger, and the date is circled on the calendar, and the stamps for the invitations have all been licked. . .
True love keeps on waiting for that special day.
When the wedding ceremony is over, however, there are some things that true love doesn’t wait for.
1. True love doesn’t wait for your husband to say he is sorry first.
When the two of you have just quarreled and he is stewing on one side of the house and you are simmering on the other side, true love doesn’t hunker down in the bunker and wait it out. Marriage is not a battleground where two mortal enemies dig themselves into their trenches and exchange barrages of bullets. Ideally, true love will cause the two of you to run smack into each other in the middle of the living room in your rush to apologize to each other. But even if he is not exhibiting any signs of forthcoming amends, true love will urge you to make the first move (Matthew 5:23-24).
2. True love doesn’t wait until your husband has performed penance for three days and groveled at your feet in anguished remorse before finally granting forgiveness.
Although most of the time it takes two to tangle and therefore both should share the blame, there may be times when each of you will admit the fault lies primarily with him. Maybe he forgot it was your birthday or went to a ball game with his buddies on your anniversary. Still, your response is your responsibility. Christ commands us to forgive and keep on forgiving, even if the other person were to continue to do the same irritating thing over and over again, innumerable times in one day. Guess what? You do things like that, too, sometimes. (Your husband might say often.) So be quick to forgive. And keep on forgiving, just as Christ has forgiven you. It would be impossible to overemphasize the sobering significance the Bible places on forgiveness: Christ declared bluntly that God will forgive us the same way we forgive others (Matthew 6:14-15).
3. True love doesn’t wait to replace the empty paper towel roll.
Or put on the new TP roll. Or take back the library books. Or wash the car, or put gas in the tank, or change the baby’s diaper. True love doesn’t wait for your husband to do the small, thankless jobs in life. True love jumps to do them first. To take the load off. To be a helper fit for him. To complete him, not to compete with him. Sarah Edwards provides a delightful example of this. Apparently, the diligent preacher Jonathan Edwards lifted his head from his stack of books one day to ask if it were about time for the hay to be cut. His wife replied serenely that it had been already been in the barn for two weeks. She had overseen the task for him (Proverbs 31:12).
4. True love doesn’t wait to express gratitude and praise.
True love edifies with words. It builds up. It produces lavish praise for your hard-working husband instead of a wrinkled-up nose at his grease-stained jeans. It expresses gratitude for all he does to provide for your family. It doesn’t search for his failures and hold a magnifying glass over them. It seeks the respectable things–the admirable, awe-inspiring moments–in your husband’s life and then hikes to the mountaintop to shout them out for the all the world to hear. It rejoices in the good. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, and endures all things. It guards your tongue with the law of kindness. It compels you to reverence your husband (Ephesians 5:33).
5. True love doesn’t postpone intimacy.
It is a fascinating thing how a few moments of vow-making during a wedding ceremony can transform waiting for intimacy from something that is wholly holy into something that is wholly not. Don’t postpone intimacy until the house is clean/you lose some weight/he takes out the trash/the kids are older. True love makes you available right now (I Corinthians 7:3-5).
When you first enter marriage as a blissfully happy bride–with the sparkle in your eyes the only thing more sparkly than the ring on your finger–these things seem so simple. Why do they often become neglected over the years? Keep true love alive in your marriage by not waiting.
Laura Berrey and her husband Tim serve as missionaries in the Philippines. She blogs at livewithamission.com.