Tuesday, April 9, 2013

So This Is Love

So this is love, Mmmmmm
So this is love
So this is what makes life divine
I'm all aglow, Mmmmmm
And now I know
The key to all heaven is mine
My heart has wings, Mmmmm
And I can fly
I'll touch every star in the sky
So this is the miracle that I've been dreaming of
So. This. Is. Love.

When I was a little girl playing with my Barbie's, my Ken and Barbie were almost always Cinderella and Prince Charming, in terms of the shaping and unfolding of their love story in my active imagination ... and with the help of my 3-story Barbie Dreamhouse.

As I grew older and laid my Barbie's aside--although not until I was 12, or so--I transitioned to daydreaming about my 'one day' Prince Charming. I was, after all, raised on Disney films and my favorite was, of course, Cinderella. Thoughts of my prince riding up the sandy beach on his white steed and scooping me up with one arm--me all barefoot and long hair flowing in the summer breeze, as the sun was beginning to set across the ocean's horizon--would lull me to sleep many a night. (I was raised a southern California beach girl. My dreams always included the ocean and sandy beaches.)

Ah, the dreaming heart of a young girl and her visions of love shaped by fairytales and the hand-drawn imagineering's of Disney and his crew. Now girls daydream of their Romeos with Taylor Swift's Love Story the background music to their romantic imaginations.

What's the saying? "Young love. Ain't it grand!"

Actually, it is sweet and filled with all kinds of idealistic views of enchantment and princes and glorious rescues from the mundane world of homework or chores and grand adventures of conquering the world together through a love much deeper and stronger than anyone who ever lived before, or will ever live again.

But how come there's only side to that coined phrased? Why can't I recall one about old love just as easily? You know ... the time and trial tested kind of love? Surely that deserves a catchphrase all it's own. Right? Maybe when we get a few more Hollywood writers to capture our hearts with stories like Carl and Ellie's from UP (I could watch that opening scene a billion times over and never grow tired of it), the tide of a culture hypnotized by youth and the backwards notion that passion is reserved for young love will be begin to turn. Maybe.

I digress. All of this really came pouring out of me as I opened my blog to write about this week's Marriage Builder, an email blast from Marriage Today written by Jimmy Evans (one of my absolute favorites!). Today's email really got me thinking, and there were a few golden nuggets I just had to keep, while adding my thoughts--not to improve upon, but make personal.

Jimmy writes:
"In the eyes of God, our story was far more significant than two kids who fell in love and decided to get hitched."
Story. I love that word because I adore reading a well-written story. I've often thought of my life as a story unfolding--just take a look a the sub-header of my blog--but I've given far less thought to the fact that my life with Anthony, our marriage, tells a story just as well. Why have I restricted 'story' to an individual? For that matter, doesn't our family tell it's own story?
"God brought Karen into my life for ... purpose. God envisioned us as a couple long before we ever met. He knew exactly what I needed in a life partner. He created Karen with the gifts, talents, and attributes I most needed in a wife. He created me to meet her needs as well." [Jimmy Evans]
Most love stories we watch on film or read in books never touch this concept: that of finding a spouse that meets your needs instead of your wants. We speak in terms of the hair color we're attracted to, the build, those eyes. We even list out character traits such as sense of humor or fun or intelligent or handy. I wonder how my thoughts for my future husband would have been affected had I turned my prayers for him towards God's perspective instead of being so me-focused: "Can I please have someone who likes baseball and loves the outdoors and taking long walks on the beach?"

Thinking about it now, with lots of years of marriage under my belt, He probably would have said, "If he loves you, he will spend his time doing things with you that you love (and vice versa), but that's not how I look at partnership."

I never thought to pray for someone that would sharpen me and challenge me and encourage me to become a rockin woman of God. Someone who would have talents and skills and attributes that not only complimented me but were also different (gasp!) from mine. And maybe to pray for my future husband to have eyes like God, to see like He does, and have a heart always seeking to be more like Jesus.

Do you see the difference? I know that God created us visual creatures, men more so, and that part of the love connection equation includes attraction and chemistry. God has to draw us to someone initially, doesn't He? But what if our prayers were so focused on the heart of our future spouse--the way God sees (1 Samuel 16:7)--that we trusted God for the rest of our 'wants'? How much different might we enter the convenant of marriage?
"We understood little about what we were getting into. We barely survived those early years." [Jimmy Evans]
I deeply resonate with this in my marriage to Anthony. I was no more prepared the second time around than I was the first, I simply brought in years of mothering experience, lots of wounds and no greater perspective on the real purpose for marriage. I owe our survival to nothing more than God's massive covering of grace and a handful of godly people speaking into our lives at just the right moments.
"But here's what I know: If I had seen [Karen] as someone God created especially for me, I never would have disrespected her as often as I did in our first years together. I never would have taken her for granted. I would have loved her more, treated her better, and been more patient, thoughtful and tender. I would have listened better and worked harder to meet her needs. I would have cherished her, nurtured her, encouraged her, treasured her, and helped her become what God intended her to be." [Jimmy Evans]
Oh, I would have too with Anthony. I would have too. But here's what I know: God is our Redeemer (Isaiah 47:4) and is capable of taking any number of years we feel we may have survived and turning them into beauty (Isaiah 61:3). The story He wants to write with our marriages began with His heart for Adam and Eve:
"God formed Adam and eve to build a lifelong love affair with each other, to walk hand-in-hand in the Garden, to keep each other warm at night, to work out problems when they disagreed--to grow in love and learn how to navigate life together as a married couple." [Jimmy Evans]
I know that Cinderella will forever enchant the hearts of little girls because it's meant to--it's a fairytale. But for me now, I'd much rather have my {love} story look like Carl and Ellies.



  1. I never thought to pray for someone that would sharpen me and challenge me and encourage me to become a rockin woman of God. Someone who would have talents and skills and attributes that not only complimented me but were also different (gasp!) from mine. And maybe to pray for my future husband to have eyes like God, to see like He does, and have a heart always seeking to be more like Jesus.
    I love this whole bit. There was a time I wanted prince charming and what the world said he was. I have come to desire and find the above in my husband and man does it spin me right round! I love this post!

  2. Wow! This was an incredible post. Thanks to my "rockin" wife,Connie, who shared it and said I would like it if I read it....BOY DID I! I also loved it when you wrote about praying for a husband who has eyes like God has. I love it when God helps me to see my wife like He sees her. Actually, it breaks me down pretty hard. Because usually when my Father does that it's typically because she needs me to be the man that He has designed me to be for her and not the man I am on my own. My wife prays for me constantly, I truly know this. But this post reminds me that my Heavenly Father keeps her in my mind and in my heart constantly so that we both can be drawn together and our hearts interwoven so that we can both benefit from the love that He has for both of us. Thank you so much for writing something so beautiful.