“Love must be learned, and learned again, and again; there is no end to it. Hate needs no instruction but waits only to be provoked.” Katherine Anne Porter
Gary Thomas used the above quote in Chapter 3 to solidify his argument that love is not a feeling, it is something to be learned. I’m referring to the unconditional, Christ-like love that we’re supposed to feel for our spouses.
Do you know what’s easy for me to do? Its easy for me to nag and nitpick at Jon, to keep a tally of everything he’s done wrong or how much he owes me. Its easy for me to point out the ways Jon could be a better husband or dad. Its easier to believe that Jon’s not meeting my needs or doing his fair share. The list goes on.
Do you know what happens to me when I get sucked into that line of thinking? I become impatient and angry; I become bitter and mean. And the further I fall into this pit, the more our family suffers. When I’m in this cycle, I notice that my patience with the Littles is low and my expectations unattainable. In short, I become intolerable to live with.
But its easier than loving Jon the way I’m called to love him. Because the way I’m supposed to love him requires work. A determination to turn thoughts from the negative to remembering the times he’s been a good husband and father. To resolve to keep the focus on everything he does right, and does well. To take that painful step of asking myself how I’ve failed him and our marriage, and then taking the necessary actions to seek forgiveness.
See? Its work because it goes against our very nature to love in this way; in a way that puts him above me. And because I fail, and fail often, I’m resolute in my desire to learn how to love Jon the way Christ wants me to love him. Again. And again. And again.
And PS, I’m thankful for a man who’s always ready with a portion of forgiveness. He’s had to extend it more times than I care to count.