30 December 2013

you don't have to, but you do.

In his wisdom, God has crafted a life for us that does not careen from huge, consequential moment to huge, consequential moment. In fact, if you examine your life, you will see that you have actually had few of those moments. You can probably name only two or three life-changing situations you have lived through.
We are all the same; the character and quality of our life is forged in little moments . . . You are daily on the job adding another layer of bricks that will determine the shape of your marriage for days, weeks, and years to come.
-What Did You Expect? by Paul Tripp
If so, the question is how to build those bricks up solid. How do we use our little moments to construct something beautiful, instead of a rickety eyesore?

I think our motive makes all the difference. We could be motivated by anger and selfishness, or a grudging sense of duty. Or we could be motivated by love. Love makes us say, "I don't have to do this for you. But I will, because it is my joy to give you joy." And love creates an atmosphere that we can come home to.

Newly Married by William A. Breakspeare
Jared and I will celebrate our fourth anniversary this week. That's four years of inconsequential moments. Four years of ironing shirts exactly the way he likes them, of packing his lunches in the right container so they microwave evenly. Four years of rubbing my shoulders after I've had a bad day, of filling the gas tank on his way home so I don't need to worry about it the next morning. Four years of doing these things because we wanted to do them.

We didn't have to. But since we loved, we did.

Not always of course. Some days I only wash his clothes because it's my job. I'm sure he has felt the same. Certainly, when it's really hard-- when we're angry and hurt and don't want reconciliation-- it's not a loving feeling but duty that pulls us back together. We made a commitment and will stick to it come what may. Our covenant is our bedrock.

Yet over that bedrock, I think that our marriage has flourished through willing love, not cold "responsibility." Here's to four more years of that. And four more after, and four more once again, and four more till death parts us.

We don't have to. But since we love, we will.
Duty makes us do things well, but love makes us do them beautifully.
-Phillips Brooks

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