Happily FOREVER After? - Faithful Love
Hands up if you want to get married one day. (Statistically, most of your hands go up.) Hands up if you want to stay married for the rest of your life. (Statistically, most of your hands go up.) Hands up if you’re confident that that will happen… (Crickets chirp.)
The idea of a faithful love, a love that lasts forever, can easily seem like a fairy tale in today’s world. Too good to be true. When we look around and see that in our world – our friends’ parents, our aunties and uncles, our parents… how can we see lives crumbling around us, yet have hope that we’ll be the lucky ones? How can we believe that love can last forever?
According to McCrindle research, one in three Australian marriages end in divorce. One in three. One third. That is a huge statistic. I imagine no one ever wanted it this way. One third of all couples don’t stand up at an altar and commit to love one another for about 12 years (the average length of marriages that end in divorce) or until they get sick of each other, or it gets too hard, or they don’t feel ‘in love’ anymore. When people get married, they commit to a lifelong love. A happily ever after. Forever. And that’s what our hearts want.
We’re made for a love that lasts forever. We’re made for a ‘happily ever after’ of sorts – but maybe that ‘happily ever after’ doesn’t look like the ones on the movies. Maybe, just maybe, it’s better.
The thing about the movies – from Snow White and Pride & Prejudice to Pitch Perfect and Easy A – is that they don’t really show what happens after the couple kiss/get together/get married. That in itself is considered winning the lottery, and happily ever after is assumed to just kind of ‘happen’ after that, as a direct result of being with a person. Any married person will tell you there’s more to it than that - that real love takes effort, hard work, sacrifice and forgiveness, amongst other things. And that it’s the best thing in the whole world.
If we’re modelling true love upon God’s love – what #rawtalk posts are kind of all about – then we have to believe that love can last forever, because we know with absolute certainty that His love does. He says, ‘I will never leave you, nor forsake you’ (Deuteronomy 31:8 and Hebrews 13:5), and ‘Remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age’ (Matthew 28:20). God did not stop loving us when it got hard, or required sacrifice. He took up His Cross for love of us. Faithfulness is choosing to love when it is difficult. Love is not just a warm, fuzzy, feeling. It is a choice, a decision, a commitment. A promise to love no matter what may come, to choose to put the beloved first, to seek their good no matter what. This kind of love, true love, is what will lead us to true happiness. Forever.
‘So Louisa,’ you ask, ‘How do I get this? What can I do about it now?’ The answer: practice.
Our future spouses are not the only people we are called to love in our lives, are they? We can practice being truly loving (in a less romantic but just as real way) to our friends and family in order to practice loving well. Be kind to your friends, even when their words are unkind. Be there for them even when it’s not fun – when they’re upset, and need a listening ear. Forgive your brother or sister for stealing your clothes, even if they never admit they’re wrong. Don’t stop choosing to love just because it doesn’t feel nice at the time. Real love can hurt – but it will bring more joy than you can possibly imagine.