Praying My Marriage to True Love

Courtesy of my sister Helen's photography...
and her and my bro-in-law's lovely hands. ;)
My marriage has gone through rocks, ravines and valleys. And back again. I am praying it will survive.

Three years ago we did a major move. That move proved to be a catalyst of many challenges. Oh, how it has shaken our lives, our beliefs, our characters, our faith and our love for each other. It hasn't been easy. If we make it through August, my husband and I would be celebrating a huge landmark in our marriage--- the 10th.

Not that the first several years were without challenges, but having the same faith and vision had made it easy. God has checked and kept the balance. However, it has been a struggle uphill for most of the year now. Mainly because, I believe, a marriage relationship is founded by the Source of Love and the Author of Marriage--- God, Himself--- and when one of the partners in this relationship minimize, ignore, neglect, if not outright reject Him, trouble comes as the husband and wife become divided on their beliefs, goals, and lifestyles. Being joined as one by the Creator, the process of severance, as they go each of their way, is painful, very painful that it is not impossible for both of them not to get hurt. It's like going through a painful surgery to create two different people when once there was just one.

It has been a much painful struggle for me thinking that I am losing the most common connection that my husband and I ever have. In most things, we have been different and have celebrated those differences. However, to put God away is one I cannot do. He is not merely a habit, hobby or peculiarity that can be put into the background and taken up if I so desire. God is life and His way leads to life. My God and I have gone a long way for me to abandon Him now. Not when I need Him the most.

Through the storms of doing and going my own way, to running to Him, to finding His purpose in me and my family, to losing both parents and almost losing a daughter, the storm of waiting, of being away,  of being isolated, rejected, and wrestling with my own weak self, He was there. I have known God to be the One who is able. The One who lifts me up. If He can get me through those tough times and back into my feet again, then I know He'll do it again this time. Not because I am a perfect daughter of His but because He wants me (and my husband) to be the perfect bride when He comes to take His people. Oh boy, has He got a lot of work to do in me! Still, in this struggle, I can hear Him talk me through it until I can see a sliver of hope and... find love.

I love my husband very much. He has been the only man whose love means so much to me and whose neglect or rejection of the God I love hurts more than anything. To have been away from him in distance was bearable than this spiritual distance between us. True love goes beyond mere physical and emotional attraction. It should transcend beyond what could be seen, for in the first place it originated from the One who is Unseen but always Present and who Sees. It should be able to sustain the couple even through the ugly parts of life.

Our marriage had seen ugly. There was a lot of frustration, fear and pain.

Yet, this is not the end, even when there were times I thought it was, moments when my heart unraveled. There were times when I was ready to throw up my hands and say "This is it!"; even willing to give up for the sake of the children, while on the other hand, stay for the sake of the children. It is only through God's mercy that I am holding on. He gave me bouts of relief and it fills me with hope that there is a way out of this storm.

I believe the One who is Unseen sees all and deeply desires to bring us back as one as He wants us to be one in Him. But to have us grow together in His love again, God needs our cooperation. As with any of His work, He is always there but for those who go away from Him He can only do so much. 

As with any of the colorful characters in the Bible that God wants to show us as ensamples, we have a choice to either decide to be who God wants us to be, obtaining His blessings that He has prepared for those who love Him, or be anything we want and end up losing on the life that God offers. 

Yes, choices, choices. It all depends on our decisions.

And true love is a choice. A decision to follow Heaven's divine pattern of intimacy. 

I choose...

 ... to love even when I don't feel like loving or being loved.

"While we were still sinners, Christ died for us" (Romans 5:8). I thought my husband was not deserving of my love any more. But I find that love is not love until given to someone undeserving, like me. Christ dying for saints is, well, acceptable; but for one man to die for sinners is preposterous. Really unthinkable! I can not do it even in a million years!

But God did. I see Him in all the gory and ugly details of His crucifixion, bearing the pain and humiliation. He was rejected for my sake. Took on that sign of the lowest form of all humiliation--- the cross--- and died the death of a criminal. 

Soldiers dying for their country get the honor of being a hero, but not the Son of God. He died treated nothing less than the lowest of all scum. This, He didn't deserve. He was sinless! What He did is not what I deserve. I am a sinner. To die for a friend may be okay, but to die for an enemy is very difficult for any human being to do. But Jesus did it. For me.

God loves me in all my flaws, peccadilloes, and ugliest of character. And only through Him could I truly love as He does. I, even if I try so hard with all that I have, won't even come close to loving my husband and fulfilling his needs. It is with God's Spirit that I decide to love even if I feel that my husband don't deserve my love or respect. Because true love loves regardless of whether the recipient deserves love or respect.

I want to love like that. To truly love. But I cannot do it on my own. So I choose...

... to pray my way to true love.

I wish for my marriage to be in a new place from where it is right now and I cannot do that by simply thinking, wishing, complaining, blogging, and even working on it. I have to remember to pray. There is something in this marriage that God wants to do. He knows what He is doing and I want to know what it is. I want to know His will on this relationship that we have asked Him to bless nine years ago.

Unlike my dear husband, Jesus knows the desires in my heart. Often misunderstandings occur when I am unable to communicate my need effectively. Molehills turn into mountains in my head. But the times I remember to bring it to the Lord in prayer, He opens my heart and gives me the strength to squash those insidiously wormy stuff before they turn into ugly monsters, terrorizing both me and my husband.  Instead, I want God to take our present state into a higher ground, where no one and nothing can touch our marriage and bring it down.

God opened my eyes to see that even the best relationships that we have, whether it's being a parent, child, friend or mate, will never equal to the one that we can have with Him. Slowly He has made known to me that all these relationships can only flourish with Him, and not because of my own ingenuity, communication skills or even my lovely personality. (Which I am still working on. Haha.) And so He allowed my marriage to go through on rocks, ravines, and valleys that I may learn to "do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with" Him (Micah 6:8).

God never leaves us when we fall. He lifts up those who have fallen. "But You, O Lord, are a shield for me, my glory and the One who lifts my head up" (Psalm 3:3). I may have failed my husband on many counts and so did he, but I know there is Hope for us. I'm bringing it all to His feet. He can take it from there and into a place where He wants us to be.

Oh, how He loves us. God loves even through our fickleness. He loved even when His heart was broken while watching Adam and Eve leave the Eden home He had made for them. It was love that allowed them to leave even when it was breaking His heart and knowing that from then on He had to watch them from afar. All through the ages, Heaven's heart was broken again and again. Finally, Jesus gave His life up--- a total manifestation of God's love. True love.

I want true love. I want to love as true as God does. He gave me my husband to love. I have all the choices to either back down or do as God would have me do. He will supply the courage and the strength to do so. In Him I can be strong. In Him I can "do everything in love" (1 Corinthians 16:14).

My husband may not be making similar choices like me, or living the same lifestyle that I do, or even disagree with what I believe in, but in matters of my relationship with God, how could I be any different? In many ways I have made choices contrary to what is in His heart for me. And He has been patient, kind, merciful and loving towards me despite of everything I do. I believe the Author of love gives love so we can love others in the same way.

If you are in the same predicament as I am, why don't you join me in praying for your marriage as I pray for mine to true love? God in His compassion will take our marriages from where He finds us, broken and in need of healing, to a whole new place where there is true love in Him. 

Well, much like, when one or both partners can learn to say like Angelika did (overheard during one of her plays), "You're so ugly, but I LOVE YOU."

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