In our look at literature, consider the following note from Mark Twain's notebook:

     Love seems the swiftest, but it is the slowest of all growths. 
     No man or woman really knows what perfect love is until they 
             have been married a quarter of a century.

An interesting insight, this. It is utterly contrary to what most of us think when we marry. We marry someone "we love" and then, too often, it seems that love dies out. By the time you talk to young husbands of a few years, you often find a true dearth of loving sentiments expressed. There are multiple complaints about her attitude and fewer compliments about her good points. We have concluded, in fact, that the primary purpose of our counseling is to try to "keep love alive" over the years. We are wrong.

The real problem is that we do not know what we have. The feeling we share when we marry is barely worthy to be called love in any sense. It is pleasant and motivating and quite often tied to a strong physical attachment, but it is seldom deep. It is easily offended (consider how seldom a wedding is a joint plan by bride and groom) and tends to be very self-centered. The first few years of marriage are often a testing, where each side tries to determine how to hold its own prerogatives over the other.

But Twain is correct. Love as the Bible teaches it, love as history knows it, takes time to grow. We marry to make ourselves happy, but love is about making our spouse happy. We marry because of what we want, but love focuses on what the other wants. We seek our own way and our own desires, but love seeks the desires of the other. 

Love takes time to grow. You cannot yank a plant out of the ground, it grows by nature, and so it is with love. You can go to seminars and read books and take surveys, but love grows by the nature God has given us, and it takes time. 

Do not despair because the early excitement and breathlessness has gone out of your marriage. Rather, embrace the growth of true love, a love of service and self-sacrifice and caring about the wants and needs and happiness of another person. 

It is the kind of love we all want, even if we don't understand it. The command to wives is to love their husbands. 

How are you doing?

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