Love (Axiology)

Summer Vacation 2006 070 

Romeo and Juliet, were they great lovers?  It seems that there was something immature in their love.  It was not the love of Heathcliff and Cathy.  Though Heathcliff and Cathy were more enduring, they were still deficient.

I remember reading in Wuthering Heights that Cathy’s love for her husband was like the birds and the sky, but that her love for Heathcliff was like the rocks and the soil.  Whether that is accurate or not, I have grown to prefer the love of the rocks and the soil.  The passion that burns so brightly is frequently the infatuation of narcissism.  The lover sees that he is not alone in the world, a beautiful woman values him or cherishes him.  He exalts in her presence because he feels a sense of worth.  His love sweeps him into folly and ruin. The steady love of marriage is not the soar and crash of the romance movie.

Someone once said that after a few years of marriage love begins.  It is after the flame and the fury that the real substance becomes apparent.  Most couples get married because of what they receive, but that needs to change with the years.  Marriage is a sanctifying experience where the lover is changed by loving the lovely and the unlovely with dependence on God.  Often such unconditional love has its earthly reward, but sometimes it does not.  As an avenue of God’s grace, marriage transforms us as we love not necessarily because we are loved. 

It is the man who trembles with fear at the prospect of marriage who is ready for it.  When a man sees a woman as a gift from God to love and to hold, to cherish and worship in sickness and in health, he is ready to marry.  But what does that mean?  He must imagine her ugly and commit to love her.  He must imagine her insane and commit to care for her.  He must imagine her as a shadow or the antithesis of who he knows, and he must be faithful.  This is a reflection of the love that Christ shows the church.

Many men claim to love but balk at some flaw or insufficiency.  That is not love which alters when it alteration finds.  Love is a constant presence, though human frailty leads to its ebb and flow, the underlying commitment to sacrifice is constant.  Love is sacrifice.

Christians should have the greater capacity to love the unlovable because they are nearer the source.  If we do drink deep from the fount of love, we drink deep of the Holy Spirit.  He transforms us from those who have a check list that everyone is measured against to those who have a check list about their own readiness.

Are you ready to put aside your own desires, wants, and pleasures?  Are you ready to lay yourself at the altar and let marriage transform you by the renewing of your mind?  If it is an emotional flood that you call love, don’t cheapen the enduring rock.  If God has led you to care for a woman and consider her before your very self, then propose.

About Plymothian

I teach at Moody Bible Institute in Chicago. My interests include education, biblical studies, and spiritual formation. I have been married to Kelli since 1998 and we have two children, Daryl and Amelia. For recreation I like to run, play soccer, play board games, read and travel.
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10 Responses to Love (Axiology)

  1. Heshewethree says:

    Ditto. I too was blessed to find your site. This post was great. I know just who to send your link to so they can read it and be blessed. Peace.

  2. Hannah_red says:

    This is from one of my favorite sonnet I discoverd senior year. Your post sheds more light on this sonnet for me. Concerning relationships, it is interesting to see how different the Greeks deal with them. I was discussing with a friend today who is dating a Greek how there is much more commitment in relationships here. Even from the point of dating they see it as they are in for the life so problems should be brought up right away and dealt with, the little things. I am thankful to learn how another country views and deals with relationships. Thanks for the post.

  3. When two Christians get married they are uniting as one and should only be separated with death. I think to many people go into marriage thinking that they will always be happy 24 hours 7 days a week and they end up getting a divorce. Real love has it’s up and downs every week if not daily. Real love is when you stand by the person and love them even when you do not feel like loving them at the time. Real love is working out each other’s differences and problems to understand, agree, and support each other through the good and all of the bad. I love being married, my husband and I courted and were engaged long distance for 2 ½ years before we were able to get married. When the day came we were both so excited and thought that sure life would have it’s ups and downs but we would face all of them together and we have. When you get married your spouse begins to really know all of your good habits and bad, they truly get to see the real you. My spouse is my best friend who helps me to see the wrong in my life, keeps me accountable, and helps me to strive to be more like Christ every day. The keys to having a strong marriage are having Christ first in each of your individual lives and first in your marriage. Next make sure you are communicating both verbally and non-verbally. If you are not picking up on the non-verbals then point them out to each other in a nice way until your spouse gets the hang of it. If you need help get counseling before the problem gets to big…don’t be afraid to help your marriage. Romeo, Juliet, and Happily Ever After do not exist in the real world, but you can have a great marriage if you realize that you need to put your spouses needs before your own and work through every up and especially the downs together. I agree when you said that “Love is a constant presence, though human frailty leads to its ebb and flow, the underlying commitment to sacrifice is constant. Love is sacrifice.”

  4. rookie1987 says:

    Wuthering Heights I enjoyed reading that book. The style used by the author was one that I am always interested in. Romeo and Juliet what idiots. That wasn’t love but a greed for oneself by each of them. I would go for the rocks and soil. The high and flying is bound to crash whereas the rocks and soil is steady and firmly planted with a solid foundation. Thanks for this post. Love is something that the idea of has been misconstrued by our society. We tend to view love as only an emotion but it is much more then that. It is a choice daily, and like was stated above a sacrifice. I enjoyed reading the rest of your post. The only thing I have a question about is your very last statement. “If God has led you to care for a woman and consider her before your very self, then propose.” This needs to be clarified.. Because I know for one that every woman you love you will not marry. Your sister you would not marry but I know I would consider her before my very self. I hope someone doesn’t go and do something rash from reading that also. Some people think they are in love and examples abound but it is the birds and sky which I would say will burn out and leads to a lot of divorce in this country.Salt and LightSilver

  5. Very well put. Something beneficial that my fiancee and I do every so often is consider how our relationship reflects (on a lowly, human scale) the relationship with Christ and His betrothed. We also consider aspects of how Jesus loves His people that are not existing in our relationship. This has proven to be very eye-opening. It has especially helped us to consider what “love” means, and how to unconditionally give it, while we are so very far apart. When all you have is the verbal part of commiunication (aside from the occasional letter or package), and a limited amount of time to talk, frustrations and misunderstadnings are inevitable. What we have found so far is that the need for 100% mutually open communication is critical. (No way! Dr. Phil was right!) The times when we hold things back are when we are weakened. It is difficult, but is is sanctifying. One statement that I would disagree with is, “It is the man who trembles with fear at the prospect of marriage who is ready for it.” You can never be totally ready to be married. Maybe 99%, but there is always something that can only be learned through experience. It like many other major changes in life. Looking back to when I first started college, I had no clue what to expect regarding roomates, classes, social life, etc, even though high school prepared me, and mentors frequently talked to me about it. And trust me, I was plenty scared, but that didn’t fully prepare me. Only after arriving to college can I say I am ready to do it. That said, I acknowledge that neither of us are “ready” for marriage, but we will nonetheless seek the face of God, and continue to pursue the wisdom of older couples. Also, is it possible to NOT fear the prospect of marriage? Is it wrong that I am SO excited about getting married, and have little fear? I do wonder where the money will come from to support my to-be wife, and other similar things, but I am looking forward to the chance to love her when she is by all other accounts unlovely. Im am excited that she considers what it would be like to love me when I am old and helpless. Both of us, individually and together, have thought upon this topic. Will I still love her if she is in a vegetative state after a car accident? Will she love me if I lose my limbs in a work-related accident? As we grow closer to the Lord and coinsidentally, closer to eachother, the answer seems to be more of a “yes, I would love you and take care of you even if ________.” everyday.Asa

  6. Mr Worrall, Amen and Amen. K is a blessed woman indeed. 

  7. timothymm says:

    The previous comment was meant to be from me, but my wife was signed in… 🙂

  8. Thefroo says:

    I completely agree and this is something that I am trying to figure out for myself right now. God has definitely blessed me with a wonderful girlfriend and I pray in time that God will lead us to something for then that. I need to make sure that I really love her and make sure that I lvoe her for the right reasons and not just for the good things but also for the bad things. In one of my classes today someone ask for a prayer request about her brother who ran away 2 years ago and left behind a wife with 2 kids. He is insane and they haven’t had any contact with him for about a year now. This girl asked her sister-in-law why she doesn’t just divorce him and she said, “in sickness and in health and right now he is sick”. Thats the kind of love that I want for my wife. I think God puts trials in our way when we are dating do let us know if we would be able to love them no matter what. I need to seriously decide if this is something that I can see moving forward.Gods fool,Justin

  9. Elijah1313 says:

    “Someone once said that after a few years of marriage love begins.” How true is that statement. Love all seems so ideal before marriage unites you. You see your spouse and their weaknesses as things that you can overcome, or quirks that make you smile. But it sometimes becomes the things that you are drawn to the repel you the most after you have lived together a while. And then you reach (at least I did)a point where you realize just how disgusting human nature is…and I am not talking about my spouse. It is in this relationship, that I have realized that how wicked I truly am. All the ideals I held for my husband were selfish in nature and I fit him into a box where he could serve me. And once I realized that marriage is not about happiness, but holiness (which results in happiness anyway!)it was a huge ah-ha. I mean, to realize that maybe it was me who needed to focus on how selfish I am, and lay down my pride, and give up my rights…that is the moment I realized how truly wretched I am. But I have found, now that I no longer think of myself as this “generally ok Christian” it is now that I am able to really accept and love my husband for who he is, because with all the faults I realized he has, I now am made humble enough to know that I am no better, and can extend grace and kindly admonish him in a way that was never possible before.

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