Yesterday I went to my second week of a class that my church is offering about marriage and love called STRONG AS DEATH. If you know me and the things going on in my life right now you might find this to be curious as I am not in a dating or marital relationship… Even though all of that is true, I have been thinking a lot about what love and intimacy in relationships really look like. In the book “SCARY CLOSE” by Donald Miller, Don talks about his many failed relationships and what he has learned from them in a raw and vulnerable way. He is now married, but a lot of the time he writes about comes before marriage. In one of the chapters, he talks about making a plan for his marriage and it really intrigues me. It made me wonder if I was at all ready for this kind of a relationship and how I could best prepare for what is to come.
So I began to look at my life and take a few steps back to see how I could best prepare myself for a lifelong love. As I talked about last week, I have not had the best track record of loving myself, in fact you could even say that I have a terrible track record when it comes to loving and caring for myself, and I know that this is the first step. For me to love myself and to see that I bring value to a relationship takes a lot of self forgiveness. I have made some mistakes in life that I will need to ask my future wife to forgive. For most of my life I struggled with an addiction to pornography and masturbation. I don’t remember the motive when I first looked at pornographic images, but I do know that it has been feelings of emptiness and loneliness that kept me so entrenched in the struggle for so long. For some time in my life, I believed that there was no hope for me to find someone who would love me and the images on my screen always seemed to be there when it felt like nobody else was. For me this has been one of the biggest lies of the digital age; that when lonely, there is always someone on the other end of the keyboard who is more than willing to say and do what you ask… But it all comes with a price…
I wasn’t willing to admit it, but even my friendships began to be effected by this issue. I had everyone fooled, and I began to see that this didn’t just effect my romantic future, but it effected the way I desired to love people in my life. It has been such a crazy journey but in the last year, the Lord has been working major healing, and giving me freedom from this struggle in my life and I finally feel like I have some freedom to talk about it. This might shock some people in my life, but for me to be real and talk about love, I need to be free to share with you all and this is what I am doing. I hope that for some of you reading, you will realize that even in the middle of the struggle, you are so valued by God! He is not scared by the baggage that any of us might carry, but His desire for our lives is for us to understand His love for us and after that to put His love on display in the relationships we have with each other!
All of that being said, I feel like I am on the road to be ready for a relationship and I am so looking forward to the time when there is a woman in my life that I get to extravagantly love, but sometimes I need more wisdom than what exists just inside my own head. That’s why at the very beginning of this post I started to talk about STRONG AS DEATH, because I want to be ready for the time when I meet that special woman. I want her to be able to trust me and know that I am not just leading her on a journey through a forest of nonsense with no destination in mind, but I want to be like a trail guide in the forest of love. I want to know that I have put in the work to be the best partner for the woman that I fall in love with. I want a love that is, as Solomon says, STRONG AS DEATH but that kind of love will cost me. I’m gonna end with a section from the Bible that tells us what love really looks like.
Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.