Love is patient and kind... ~ 1 Corinthians 13:4
Patience is that sort of virtue that promises to never lose heart. The very essence of the word speaks of endurance and it is coupled with kindness. To hear these words makes one reflect on the Divine. After all, in these chipped vessels of flesh, there is, very rarely, enough of these two virtues to be truly tasted and savored and known.
A long-suffering spirit that meekly extends kindness is never to be found. Such a soul is forged.
Is this not the design of marital covenant?
Love begins with an air of magic, or so it seems, and draws us with all its mystery and power. Enrapturing and freeing, it take us by the hand and we feel, for the season, as if we are new creatures, capable of being extended far beyond our limits. The tremendously compelling grip of Love awakens us to who we truly are and to who we truly can become. It seems to promise, with certainty and security, that this enrapturing aspect to Love shall never wane. We believe it because it seems to prove everything in an instant, in a feeling, in words, and in actions. Love seems to remake us when it meets us. All seems full and perfect and serene, as if the ultimate happiness as been known. It can make one think it would be so comforting to just settle there in that perpetual state of bliss.
Yet, the aim of Love is to take us beyond our ideals. Its purpose is to walk us to Glory. One can never known the piercing light of Glory unless one has traversed every bend of the shadows.
Thus, it is that, when the alluring and magically empowering side to Love seeks to leave the center stage of our finest hour, we are purposed to learn the very essence of Love. It is then that we are asked, "Will you proclaim in the shadows what you saw in the first rays of light?"
We are offended. We feel betrayed. Perhaps, none of us would dare actually to express it so honestly, but we feel slighted.
We do not want to have to learn a way that is foreign to us. It is so unlike us and so we shy from it.
The interactions of newlyweds are, sometimes, given a bad reputation. There cannot be any season of life like it. It is as perfectly joy-giving, but it may be more grueling hard and sensitive work. One cannot help but think this is why there are heaps of premarital counseling and articles and books detailing 5 to 100 things men and women should know before tying the knot. The intensity and the desperation to prepare, prepare, prepare is forceful and rigid. Many quote divorce statistics and argue and strive over our society's battle with marriage. We quickly learn methods to fix, prepare, and prevent. We have never sought to ask ourselves, where did the simplicity of the way of Love go in the bustle of all these issues?
If husband and wife chose to listen to the stillness and the quiet of trusting Him who is Love as patience and kindness, they may find a freedom not given by methods, books, and programs.
The tender, youthful years of man and wife are fragile indeed. Just as the planting of a small seed and the first appearance of a plant's stem demands understanding and compassion, so it is that the Bride and her Groom need such a space and time and gentle treading.
Such a space is called an environment of grace.
Grace enables Love to grow in an authentic way.
Grace is the favor for man and wife when both fail the other and themselves.
Grace is the cloak of protection as Love matures.
Grace is the hand extended to us when we have fallen because all has not failed, all has not been lost.
Grace is that ethereal gift granted to us from our Maker and comes hand in hand with Love.
Grace is the reminder of the things we have seen and known to be true about ourselves and others in the Light, although we, presently, are in the dark.
For it is Grace that shows us it is quite all right when the burdens of this world have stripped us down.
It is Grace that embraces us in our nakedness and clothes us, as well as enabling us to see the other's nakedness and extend protection instead of judgment or disappointment.
What if more husbands and wives strove to embrace the uniqueness of their own journey rather than yield to the pressure to perform and function at some universal standard from the get-go? What if both yielded to an environment of grace rather than the designs of their own making or of others?
There are no demands for husband and wife to conform to anything except to the heart and mind of Christ. And, if that is a demand than it is a sweet one, for what is troubling about conforming to the long-suffering and kind heart of our dear Savior, who daily bears gently with us?
In marriage, we are lead by Love to become like children again. To live in the wonder, the imagination, but also the true belief that the fruit is within and will be given in due time.
Love is Patient. Grant it time to grow and flourish within the bower of the bride and groom.
That, in fact, is what God’s love is: it is His armor, an armor of forgiveness and acceptance that we put on...And so it is in marriage that when the Lord draws a man and a woman together in the most intimate of human associations, He does so by giving them His love, which is all that can shield them through the searing experience of self-revelation they are to undergo. This is an experience that all people both crave and fear, with a fear that is conquerable only by love. Only love can drive out the constant threat of condemnation and rejection that otherwise haunts and spoils all experiences of intimacy. People cannot seem to refrain from judging one another, and in the crucible of marriage the judgment can be so intense and oppressiveness that the only recourse is a loving forgiveness of the other’s wrongs, and in turn a courageous willingness to see one’s own sinfulness exposed, conquered, and actually replaced by the other’s love. In such a relationship, a true transfusion and transformation of characters may take place as each puts on the good qualities of the other and forgives the bad. Each is armor to the other, each is the other’s strength and worth.
~ Mike Mason, The Mystery of Marriage