Valentine's Day and Forty Five Years of Love and Marriage

This valentines day I find myself reflecting on 45 years of marriage, of the love that keeps it and of the things that sustain so long a journey. To attribute such success to unfolding wisdom would simply cloud the reality of my failure and dismiss the grace of a forgiving God that has made allowance for so much of my ineptitude.

Only arrogance would claim that such success is indigenous only to those who believe in God, but, for those that do, how marriage works is dependent upon our own surrender. My reflection simply confirms and illuminates His instruction upon my heart. There is no secret to a good marriage. It's goodness lies in my submission not to another, but to Him, through the life of another. The difficulty in marriage is that self(less)ness lies in such close proximity to self(ish)ness. Love is a command "to do" and it stands in stubborn opposition to the self and the need "to feel."

Our preoccupation with finding love, with feeling love and with getting love, is an insistence to command the terms of our own surrender when God has, so long ago, already written for us the terms. It is simply the surrender of "me for thee."

I know of nothing more correspondent to all the demands of my heart and mind, than to serve God. That I can do so without loving "her" is folly . To measure my failing in so important an endeavor, humbles my spirit and moves me to consider the wonder of a grace that allows me to rise up and try again. I have found that it isn't that I fail to love, but like water, I pursue the course of least resistance.

We put forth such ordinary effort into such an extraordinary call. Our attempt to love one another is too often, compromised by the measure of return. The love we give is proportionate to the love we get. Our own need too often reigns supreme, as it silently advances beneath the crown of our own conditions. We wave our self made scepter about our little kingdoms and give only if we get, but, I am reminded today, that love is the thing I get "to do" and not the thing "I do relative to what I get."

My prayer, today, is that God would grant me the extraordinary means to love, not because "I am loved" nor because "I get love". Not because I understand who she is, but because, He reminds me that the depth of love is proportionate to the diminishing of myself for the lifting up of another. Though contrary to human nature and opposed to the selfishness that would seek to reign in my life, my hope is crowned, not in who "I am" but in who "He is". He remains my hope against a will that is at war with my own surrender.

Who and what she is and why, is "His gift" to me and I have been given leave to unwrap whoever she is, one day at a time, until He calls me home. To love her and yet not understand her, is but the wonder of a tender heart that bends the stubborn will and does, contrary to my nature, turn its attention outward to another. Such love is made authentic in the acknowledgement that she was given for such a cause, by He, who in defining love, said that love is pure when unencumbered by condition.

Condition illustrates a bartered love. It diminishes its authenticity. It is a predetermined death proportionate to the weight of the conditions imposed upon love's fragile frame.

Today, I will bask in the goodness of a Gracious God and delight in the mystery that unfolds as I unwrap, one day at a time, the gift that defines His good pleasure upon my life. Today I will remember that marriage is not simply an agreement between she and I; It is an agreement between myself and God. Today I will thank Him for the wonder He rains down upon my life; that I am empowered, with what He Himself, revered above all else. I am allowed to love. Therein lies the secret of all things good, therein, is the greatest gift of all!

Comments 17 comments

QudsiaP1 profile image

QudsiaP1 5 years ago

Oh dear arb!

This is so touching and beautiful. If only more people have what you and the wifey do. Both of you are extremely lucky for being the beautiful individuals that you are.

You are indeed, made for each other, which includes the insanity love ratio as a bonus package.

Happy Valentine's Day my friend, I only wish to one day find some thing just as beautiful.


arb 5 years ago

Thank you for reading, your wish is now my prayer. Happy Valentines day to you Qusia. Perhaps the Dove, will one day, fly with the eagle.


Dion Rudd 5 years ago

thank Allen. not read on Valentines, but it has rung in my heart. really needed this! thank you again.


arb 5 years ago

Hi Dion, Thanks for reading!

I'm glad you could draw something from it. Be well


Nellieanna profile image

Nellieanna 4 years ago from TEXAS

So strong and good, Alan. You are a man of honor. Of course.


arb profile image

arb 4 years ago from oregon Author

Dear Nellianna, You come like a butterfly upon my hour. A familiar guest and still, each time you come into my garden, gladness blooms and the fragrance of friendship lingers all the rest of my day!


Nellieanna profile image

Nellieanna 4 years ago from TEXAS

What a delightful and gratifying response, dear Alan! I do come in loving friendship and with real appreciation.


lisa 4 years ago

Stunning, extraordinary and something all men and women should read.


arb profile image

arb 4 years ago from oregon Author

Thanks for coming by lisa! Humbled by your comments


Nellieanna profile image

Nellieanna 4 years ago from TEXAS

OH - the addition of the picture of you and your lovely wife is such a shimmering bonus! You both look extremely happy!

I'm especially pleased that you've found how to upload pictures! Perhaps we'll be treated to more of them! Hugs.


arb profile image

arb 4 years ago from oregon Author

She was born happy and life, regardless of its trials, has not been able to shake it from her. I, on the other hand, must labor like a flopping fish trying to get back in the water. She wears on me to be less serious and it comes slowly, like the threat of a rain that doesn't really fall. It just flirts with the idea.


Nellieanna profile image

Nellieanna 4 years ago from TEXAS

I'm glad you have a happy mate. It's her being - her WELLbeing. How good. I'm similar in being positive no matter what the opposition from life so long as I'm realistic in it, so I can admire that in her. And I applaud her wishing you to be more light hearted as she sees it. I'll bet it's more a matter of fine-tuning, though, of what each feels to be positive and natural. A good synergy, I'll bet.

Of course, one must be true to one's nature and in making any minor changes, all of that nature must be included - and to do so, it must be recognized and welcomed. It's your seriousness which is so much WHO you are, even though also a big part of who you are is this person with the formidable and fantastic sense of humor who sees such joy in less obvious things, which others might miss But what other water does the fish need than his own natural pond? Yours is available and obviously compatible. Flopping is not a requirement.

Well, what do I know? What you experience is how it is. You needn't DO anything to be otherwise. From 'in there' comes forth such magnificent poetry and beautifully expressed ideas. It's YOU, as one of your poems says, "what you hear is me - the spoken me".


LeaghJanell profile image

LeaghJanell 4 years ago from Fairfield, Iowa

I smile when I hear about happy, fulfilling relationships, especially when put into such poetically beautiful sentiments. It can never be overstated how a committed Loving relationship is dependent on its Divine Source.


arb profile image

arb 4 years ago from oregon Author

Hello leagh! Welcome to my hub and thanks for the gracious comment! It amazes me, however, that the divorce rate amongst those who believe is the same as those that don't. I think evidence, that we listen, but, we do not hear very well!


phdast7 profile image

phdast7 4 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia

Hello Alan -- I read this (and cried - the over truth, depth, and beauty kind of tears) a couple of months ago, just as I did today...and I cannot imagine why I didn't leave a comment then. Perhaps the phone rang or someone knocked ta the door.

It is marvelously written of course, beautifully expressed... but you are touching on that choice that is most difficult for so many of us, truly embracing God's call to selflessness and to the support and care and love of another...which as you so eloquently penned is how He stands in relationship to us. I will carry these words with me today and come back to re-read from time to time. ~~ Theresa


arb profile image

arb 4 years ago from oregon Author

Thank you Theresa. If I who wrote could live the call, I would write of how, but, I can only write of failing and the regret which follows. I too carry the words each day and pray that I fullfill as much as I can. The rest is buried in His grace and it is there that I rest. What a wonder is grace. What incomparable and immeasurable love extends such escape to so many, for so much and for so little?


you 3 years ago

You Are an amazing man Alan. Words carry a deep meaning and longing. I hear both in you...always... CB

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