(Author’s Note – a few weeks ago, I wrote a series of posts on relationships. As I wrote at the time, the response was more than I expected, and I realized that perhaps this is because our relationships affect every aspect of our life. So I’ve decided, as much as I’m able, to dedicate Thursday’s posts to relationships. They won’t all be about dating, although some will. Some will be about marriage, and some will be about other important relationships. My hope is that they are encouraging – for those who are in godly relationships that they would spur us on to an even purer reflection of God’s love; for those who aren’t – that they would direct hearts to seek the type of relationships that honor God. I hope you enjoy!)
Now this isn’t the fastest courtship on record, but for someone who plans as much as I do, it was a departure from convention.
I had never expected that I would date a guy for 5 months and then 5 and 1/2 months later marry him.
Yet I did. And it’s a testament to the type of man that my husband is that I was willing to take this leap.
The best part is I was completely surprised by my husband’s affection for me. I don’t write that in a self-deprecating way, what I mean is that it wasn’t expected. Unlike previous relationships, there weren’t months of flirtation and wondering what it all means. There wasn’t plotting and planning on my part to try to decipher the inner workings of the male mind. There wasn’t even the awkward time where everyone’s wondering if we were just friends.
He asked me out. I said yes. And the rest, as they say, is history.
And I’ve learned to really appreciate this about our relationship because it wasn’t tainted by so much of the drama that often occurs when a relationship begins.
But what I’ve also learned is that being surprised by love isn’t a one-time occurrence. It’s something that should happen throughout our relationships. And here are a few ways that I think it can:
1. Do small favors – So many of us like to think that we would make grand gestures for those that we love, and perhaps we would. However, most of us, aren’t willing to accede to the small, ordinary requests that they may have. Does your husband want to watch a basketball game while your favorite television show is on? Let him. Does your girlfriend want you go to her best friend’s birthday party? Go. Neither of these things are significant in and of themselves, but they demonstrate how significant the other person is to you.
2. Go The Distance – It’s common that when you hear about someone who’s been married for a long time, to marvel at the longevity in their relationship. That’s because in this day and age a love that last a lifetime is a rarity. Being surprised by love isn’t just about persevering until “death do us part” but that’s an aspect of us. Startle people with your commitment to your spouse. Amaze them with the fact that the number of days you’re together has grown rather than atrophied your love. They’ll admire it, and your spouse, knowing that in you are in it for the long haul, will appreciate it more than words can express.
3. Be the Cheerleader – One of the best ways to be surprised by love is to have someone cheer you on even when there’s not much to cheer about. My husband is the best at this. On days when I’m crabby, and not the best representation of Christ’s love, he tells me I’m great. And he means it. It’s not said in a patronizing, just to keep me happy kind of way; even when I’m less than ideal, he loves me. And trust me, that’s always a pleasant surprise.
4. Be the First to Forgive – When you first enter a relationship you’re quick to mend fences. Over time that inclination can fade. If you want to surprise your loved one, forgive them first. Regardless of who’s wrong (and for most arguments in a good relationship, there’s blame on both sides), be the one who offers forgiveness first, even, perhaps especially, if they don’t “deserve” it.
It’s a wonderful thing to be surprised by love, to unexpectedly have the wonderful gift of a godly person who cares for you. It’s even better to continue to be surprised by love as you share life together.