Dropping the L-Bomb
Happy Valentine's Day! We're wrapping up our relationship series with this article for singles and unmarried couples. May God bless you in all your relationships.
I LOVE my wife, but, until about eight months ago, I'd never told her.
Let me back up a little bit, tell you my story, and try to explain...
Look around you today. We live in a world that l - - - s to say this four letter word. Plastered across the movie screen, printed all over red hearts or small candies, l - - - is used to describe things we really, really like. For example, I l - - - sports. I l - - - fishing. And, ironically as I write out this blog post, I l - - - to read physical books (not electronic) when I can find the time. Brick Tamland l - - - s carpet, desk, and lamp. He l - - -s lamp.
We've devalued the word and everything that goes along with it. We embrace pleasure without commitment. We promote self-service in relationships instead of self-sacrifice. Instead of understanding the beauty of the covenant of marriage and its intimacy described in the Song of Solomon, we see sex plastered all over the TV, movie screen, and even the computer you use to read this blog. The word l - - - today is fake. When people use it, they often mean lust and infatuation.
God's LOVE came with a commitment to me before I even knew Him. Before I repented of my sins, Jesus came to earth, carried the weight of my sins, and died to set me free. He paved the way for my salvation before I ever realized I was in bondage. Christ demonstrated true LOVE as not something earned but something given. The New Testament describes this LOVE with the Greek word agape. Agape LOVE means Jesus LOVES you...because He LOVES you...because He LOVES you.
As a single person who has partaken in a covenant with the Lord, you understand Christ LOVED you while you l - - - d lots of other things way more. In relationships, we often do the same thing. Before we meet our spouse, we l - - - our boyfriend or girlfriend (no, really, we really l - - - them). We give ourselves away to lust and pleasure before making a lifelong covenant meant for husband and wife. We say the words, "I l - - - you" and probably don't even think about it. We give something away physically, emotionally, and spiritually to relationships that never make it.
As a young brother, I decided to do something drastic to save myself for my wife. I decided to show my LOVE for my wife before I ever met her. Not only did I save my body for her, I saved my tongue. I never said, "I LOVE you," to my wife (or ANY other girlfriend) until I asked for her hand in marriage. I told her parents I LOVED her before I ever told her.
For the record, there were moments when this was miserable. First, as a young minister with few young people in my branch, I thought maybe God wanted me to be single forever. The thought hurt, and I felt empty. Then, when my wife and I started to date, things also got tough. There were moments in dating it would have been easy to go upstairs or whisper the message sweetly in her ear. We both desperately wanted to share how we felt.
This past spring, I took my sister in Christ, my future wife, to Niagara Falls, got on my knee, told her, "I LOVE YOU," from the top of a tower and asked her to marry me. My sister, my wife knows she was the first girl to hear those words from my lips. She was worth every single moment waiting for.
If you are single, I challenge you like I challenged myself. God has a spouse for you that is worth every single moment of doubt, question, and concern. Make your covenant with that person right now, today, even if you don't know who they are yet. Save yourself physically until after you kiss on the altar. Save "I LOVE you" for when you get engaged. Put Christ first and let Him say, "I LOVE YOU" to you both before you ever say it to each other.
May God bless your marriage as He has blessed mine. I LOVE YOU, BRIANNE!