Taking off Those Selfish Sunglasses.

((from Abbie))

“Love is patient, love is kind.”

It seems so simple when it’s said like that, doesn’t it? Just be patient! Just be kind! Just put others before yourself! Like… DUH. Love is SIMPLE. 

I didn’t really understand the degree of how much I DIDN’T understand love until I got married. Little 24 year old me, star-struck and expecting a fairy tale ending. HA! Just kidding, I wasn’t star-struck and I know that marriage is a lot dirtier, harder, and requires more work than being awakened by a kiss at the end of a long, sweet, slumber like Sleeping Beauty. But still, there was a lot I didn’t know and a lot I didn’t understand.

For one- how selfish I am.
It’s SO easy  pin yourself as a somewhat selfless person when you’re comin’ home to yourself every night. You are the only one you have to worry about, so you spend the day pouring out and come home to quiet space that allows you to be poured back into. But when you get married, that all changes. Suddenly it’s less about lasting until the end of the day and more about being 100% ‘on’ all the time, with no break to decompress. Which is beautiful until you take off the rose-colored shades you view yourself through and realize that your authentic self is actually not that pretty. Ahem… speaking about myself here. (Also- as a side note: the point of this is NOT to say it’s easier to be single than to be married. That’s like comparing a truck to a Prius. Both have entirely different capacities and blessings and hardships and capabilities. So please know I don’t believe that and I don’t advocate that. Anyway…)

Suddenly, love doesn’t feel easy any more, and it’s so easy to hide behind excuses. Words like “boundaries” and “space” start getting thrown around, and the kind of WHEN to put your husband’s needs before your own starts to feel blurred.

But I just worked a 12 hour day- I need some time to myself. Can’t I just hear about your day later?

I’m so tired I can barely move, can we push sex to another night? 

I want to feel romanced, can’t you just do this for me?

See what I mean? Lines become blurred because lives are intermingled.

Our first world society preaches A LOT about self care, and as important as I believe this is, I wonder if self care in marriage is disguised as just putting yourself first. Maybe the lines are only blurred because we don’t WANT to go above-and-beyond, not just because we can’t. Maybe it’s because it’s really stinkin hard to give 100% when your spouse is only giving 50%. But, regardless of the what or the why, love IS truly simple.

It’s kind and patient and generous and forgiving, not once, not twice, but 70×7.

It isn’t envious or boastful or proud.

Those things are pretty straightforward when you take your selfish sunglasses off. But just because it’s simple, doesn’t meant it’s EASY. It’s not easy to strip yourself off of you every day. It’s not easy to be patient with your husband when you’re being snapped at. It’s it easy to right some else’s wrongs when you feel taken advantage is. It’s absolutely devastating when a spouse lies or cheats and then the Lord asks you to respond with forgiveness.

The answer is to go to the source of Love, because our own definition of love is warped and confusing, especially when life is shared closely with another. There’s nothing easy about it, but it is simple. And thanks to Jesus living in us, it’s also do able. All that’s required is a daily looking for Him to be our leader instead of ourselves.

See what I mean? Simple, not easy.

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