Love is supposed to be the heart of all we do and say. In our imperfection, we are consumed with ourselves and motivated to love by what we might gain. The latter -- our default -- is something we must work to suppress. We must choose compassion and understanding. We must put ourselves in other's shoes whether they are the right size or not.
To love is to give daily grace. How easy to see the mistakes, the poor attitude, the wrong in others. To love is to judge ourselves the same way we judge others. There is always more to the story if we care enough to find out.
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. (I Corinthians 13:4-7)
When your spouse has let you down, it strikes at the core of your marriage. It hurts in that "love place" where your deep longings, trust, and hopes live.
How can love hurt like this?
But the "standard" is the same for you as it is for your spouse. Can you love someone who has betrayed you?
Can you be patient, kind, compassionate, and forgiving (all of which is considered to be loving) when you have been hurt, especially in a big way, by someone that was supposed to be loving you?
How can you live out love unless you understand what Love is?
How can you give undeserved love, or grace, without knowing your deep need for it as well?
When I think about how I could stay married to someone who was not loving me, who cheated on me, who betrayed me, I see God. I see God working in my heart to love him. I came to understand that although his actions felt like they were about me and against me, that his struggle with sin was not about me at all. My husband was suffering and dying in his sin. That without love from me, he might have stayed in that place. That if I am called to love, then I am called to protect, trust, hope and persevere with my spouse no matter what. That despite actions that were quite unlovable, that God loved him and put me in his life for a reason. Even if that reason involved being deeply hurt. Even if the purpose was about being a part of saving my husband from himself.
I would want someone to love me that much!
1. This Is My Solemn Vow