I recently had the opportunity to be around a couple who had 35+ years of marriage under their belt. Watching the way they interacted with each other raised the marriage bar for me.
As we gathered to enjoy a meal outside, Jen came to the serving table to get a plate for Greg. “Greg loves asparagus!” she said, excited to be serving him something he enjoyed.
I was born in the hometown of Romeo and Juliet. Every day on my way to school, I used to walk past the famous balcony where Shakespeare has the pair exchange passionate vows after a party. I recently returned to Verona, in the north of Italy, and passed by again—but the thick crowd of tourists made it almost impossible to get near the famous balcony. I noticed the walls around were covered with signatures and it seems that the city has to periodically repaint them, so as to allow more starstruck tourists to write their names. The street hosts a number of shops that sell love-related souvenirs.
My husband Daniel and I live with our four children on the 13th floor of an apartment building in Taichung City, Taiwan. Needless to say, the elevator is a part of our daily lives.
It had been just another normal, busy day, with most of my time and energy spent keeping the kids happy, fed, and out of one another’s hair. We had all been out together, doing what I don’t even remember, and were coming home. We stepped into the empty elevator, and one of the kids pressed the button. The number 13 lit up on the panel, and the doors closed.
To be genuine and lasting, romantic love must be based on a more enduring foundation than mere physical attraction or fleshly gratification.
It must include an unselfish desire to protect and help and make someone else happy. It must also involve admiration for the other person’s finer qualities. A person can be in love with their partner’s mind, spirit, sentiments, and bearing—all of which have little or nothing to do with physical beauty. Real love is a spiritual thing; it’s not merely physical. It’s mostly manifested in spiritual and mental companionship and compatibility, the likes and dislikes and habits that the two people have in common.
Our lives involve all sorts of relationships. In fact, relating to people is largely what life is about. Relationships, when based on the right foundation and growing in the right direction, are wonderful, rewarding experiences. Each new relationship also brings with it an exciting new set of challenges and surprises. And of course no relationships are as challenging or full of surprises as romantic relationships.
Lasting, genuine love is based on a more enduring foundation than mere fleshly gratification. It must be an unselfish desire to protect and to help and to make someone else happy.
As my mother used to tell me, don’t marry the girl you can live with—marry the girl you can’t live without!
After twenty years of marriage and rarely spending so much as a night without my husband Bruce, circumstances had kept us apart for over a year. Our two teenage sons and I were doing Christian volunteer work here in the beautiful Philippine Islands, while he was in our home country of Canada, fundraising for our work here and helping our older sons get settled into new jobs and lives. It was one of those do-what-you’ve-got-to-do situations, but I missed Bruce’s company and emotional support. So did the younger boys.