If you are a fan of romantic films/books you may have noticed that the relationship between the two main characters often begins with a serendipitous moment. A strong gust of wind suddenly blows the scarf off of a young woman and lands at the feet of a passing stranger. They lock eyes and there is an instantaneous connection. Let the romance begin.
We like to think of love as whimsical, arbitrary, and full of wonderful moments of unexpected connections—and to be sure it is all of these and more. But I’ve also come to learn in my short marriage (my wife Jessica and I have been married for 6 years now) that love is more intentional than accidental, and that the real stuff of love is often a planned event. Love isn’t so rigid that it leaves no room for the mysterious or mystical, but also not so ethereal that it vaporizes in the face of reality.
I say this because there wasn’t anything really romantic about my initial meeting with my future spouse. Both of our fathers were preachers and they wanted us to meet. I travelled down to their house for the weekend with the explanation of a “speaking engagement” at their congregation. The weekend was enjoyable (although Jessica was a little reluctant to meet me because she knew her parents had set it up). I pulled out all the stops to impress her. I even brought my guitar to play and sing to her family (I remember this to my embarrassment). Before I left to go back home I asked her to be my date to the prom alternative that our church was hosting and she said yes. In the months leading up to our date, we exchanged emails back and forth and a friendship started to blossom. Soon after we started dating and did so for about two years (I don’t want to mention too many dates lest I get in trouble for their inaccuracies). We were married on July 24, 2010 during my summer break between my 1st and 2nd year at the Southwest School of Bible Studies.
Looking back on our relationship I can’t help but realize how important our shared values in Christ were. Although we didn’t agree on everything, we knew that we had a solid, unified belief in Jesus as the Son of God and the authority of scriptures. Our families were different, but similar in the most fundamental ways. This foundation allowed us to build a relationship that would lay the ground for our own family.
Through the years we have shared in grief and in joy; in laughter and in sorrow. She is my best friend, and the one I want to share my inner most thoughts with. We aren’t perfect—no one knows that better than us and the Lord. But He has been so gracious to us as he perfects his love through our marriage.
I’m slowly learning that marriage isn’t simply a romantic endeavor but a theological one. It is within the confines of marriage that we are called into covenant; to experience the love of Christ through years of faithful martial intimacy. This is where God teaches us to love. He has taught me (and still is). The greatest benefit of our marriage is that I have learned to love Jesus more, and not simply Jessica. But through loving Him more, I have come to love her in a way I didn’t think possible. Praise his name.