Optimistic Love

married couple taking a selfie

Mike and I recently attended a wedding. The bride was stunning, and the groom beamed with pride. Not a dry eye in the place.

Weddings are beautiful — not just because of the music, flowers, dresses and tuxes, but also because they represent young, unblemished love.

Like the birth of a child, the beginning of a new family holds unending promise and boundless dreams that have not yet been tarnished by conflict or foolish choices.

I’m not sure about you, but my marriage feels like it would now qualify for a “scratch and dent” sale. After 15 years and the arrival of three children, my husband and I have weathered some storms. Compared to the optimistic love of those recently married, I sometimes wonder if our marriage has lost its newlywed beauty.

Instead of discovering one another with amazement, we finish each other’s sentences and politely laugh at the same jokes. Has the splendor faded with the monotony of everyday life?

When I look at my marriage from a different perspective, one the world resists, I can see visions of beauty that make our wedding day look drab. Sure, the house is messy, our three boys are loud, our schedules are busy, and romance is a rare commodity. But the miracle of living alongside a man who knows me inside and out, yet still loves me, is priceless. The bumps and challenges, harsh words spoken and tears shed over the years have left a dent or two. But I can choose to view those imperfections as a priceless exhibition of God’s grace rather than a fairy tale thwarted.

Wherever you are in your marriage, no doubt you have some scratches and dents, too. Perhaps you are even tempted to see those imperfections as a sign that you are “settling for less.” Take heart in a biblical principle: Christ’s strength and glory do not shine through our perfection, but through showing each other His grace in the midst of our weakness and disappointment.

I had the privilege of watching my parents celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary. Their bodies showed the wear and tear of their lives, and the lines on their faces spoke to the trials they had gone through together; yet their eyes sparkled with a love that went far beyond their initial “I do.” Through them, I saw the beauty of a lived-out commitment that put even the most romantic wedding celebration to shame.

This article first appeared in the January/February 2010 issue of Focus on the Family's Thriving Family magazine.
Copyright © 2010 Focus on the Family. From the Focus on the Family website at FocusOnTheFamily.com.

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