While anyone who knows me might likely agree that I am a bit of a sap, my definition of the word "Love" has changed a lot since my younger days of puppy love. Still the ever hopeless romantic, I know that romance is not the end, but only a means to show your beloved how much they are loved.
Now that I have been blessed beyond words in my new engagement, pondering on how to love as Christ would have me, has never seemed so immediate, so real.
Thankfully, God's timing is always perfect, and "our" (have to get used to the blessing of no more "mine") engagement started during the Lenten season, with my parish's regular Friday night "Stations of the Cross" only a few days later. As my love and I walked the stations in honor of our first Love, I wept as I knew that this was true marriage prep for any man, with the full knowledge that if I am truly to love this wonderful woman (and any small persons our Lord would bless us with) than this way of the cross, this ultimate act of love and sacrifice, must be how I am to live.
and gave Himself up for her"
It is easy for writers to pen tales of those early months of a relationship, yet almost every "romantic" story ends with the marriage, or the "I love you" . . . .yet this is when real love not only begins, but is also when it starts it's testing. I have to admit, that one of the most true to Christian love stories I have seen in recent years, was the movie "50 First Dates", and the truly sacrificial way that Adam Sandler's Henry loved Drew Barrymore's "Lucy"(you'll have to watch, I don't spoil endings). Yes, it is also a true Adam Sandler movie, with all the silly locker room humor you expect, but for those with "eyes to see", there is a story of love . . .God's way.
It teaches, in it's own way, that love is not what I can get, but what can I give. If I truly desire to see my beloved in heaven, than I must be willing to take the nails in my hand. If I honestly wish her to know she is loved, I must be willing to wear the crown of thorns in her name. If I completely am to be worthy of this beautiful bride, I must be willing to be made ugly before men. If I really wish for her an abundant life, I must be ready and willing to give up my own life.
I knew I was ready to "pop the question", when I said yes to the above, and with God's grace, hope to continue all the days He lends me breathe.
Anyhow, rambling on as I do, I will just end with two things. First that any of my married, or hoping to be married, brothers out there, would just meditate on "perfect love" before a crucifix (the perfect symbol true love) for a few minutes each day, or at least once a week.
Second, that you could pray for this silly man, who desires nothing more than to lay down his own desires, and his life, for the amazing person (and hopefully lil' persons) God has entrusted him with.