"You may now kiss the bride..."
Fairytales are great at helping us get together, but what happens after the vows are made, after the cakes been cut, after toasts are given, and after he kisses the bride? It's so easy to get wrapped up in the planning and preparations, the one you love and the beauty of the day, but the love we feel has to be a decision and not just an emotion; one that starts it's own story shortly following happily ever after.
We've all heard it many times before, often recited at weddings, love is patient, love is kind. But it seemed to hit me in a different sort of way when I read these verses in The Message.
Love never gives up.
Love cares more for others than self.
Love doesn't want what it doesn't have.
Love doesn't strut,
Doesn't have a swelled head,
Doesn't force itself on others,
Isn't always "me first,"
Doesn't fly off the handle,
Doesn't keep score of the sins of others,
Doesn't revel when others grovel,
Takes pleasure in the flowering of truth,
Puts up with anything,
Trusts God always,
Always looks for the best,
Never looks back,
But keeps going to the end.
Love never dies...
1 Corinthians 13:4-8
Oh... so that's what I was agreeing to when I recited my vows in front almost everyone I knew. It's easy to love people when they act lovely; we usually don't even need to decide to love, it's just our naturally reaction. We're so used to a conditional love- I'll act loving towards you when you start acting loving towards me- be what we're not so practiced at is actively loving people when they're not so lovely, especially our spouse.
It says in the bible that without faith it is impossible to please God (Hebrews 11:6) and I truly believe that it takes faith to step out in love towards someone when you don't feel like it. You have to take your trust off of yourself and out of the comfort zone that you've created, and put it into God's love for you. So that even when it's not reciprocated right away, or ever, your heart can stay at rest.
Reading the verses above, it becomes more clear to me how our emotions can get us into so much trouble. I feel hurt, I feel wronged, what if they do it again, what if it's not enough, what if I'm not enough? Lies and fears keep us trapped in our emotional state, holding us back from acting on truth, which will in turn set us free from our negative emotions. Anytime you step out in faith, God will always meet you there. He's not in the boat after all, He's out on the water, waiting to see if you'll trust Him for something so much greater to happen in your life.
Now when I look at my ring, I'll think Him and what He wants me to do and how He wants me to act. Making the decision to love time and time again will open up your life for so much more. We were never meant to live small lives, but rather lives that were so big and expansive that they immediately put to rest not only our own fears, but the fears of others.
And that's how they would live happily ever after... well, sort of