There’s a question I’ve been asked many a times throughout the past year. A lot of people wonder why I chose to be in a relationship with 4,000 miles separating my wife and I. Why give up all that time and effort? Why not date someone closer? Why ? The question seems to resound many times on days where you feel like you don’t know the answer or are just avoiding it altogether.
To answer this question, I will point to a book my sister gave to my wife and I as a wedding gift: Sacred Marriage by Gary Thomas. We are not far along in the book but it has become a very nice piece of my day when we sit down and go through this book together. In the first two chapters, the premise has been simple, marriage is about putting God first. Yes, this is contradictory to what everyone says about marriage and it’s generally more of an afterthought even for Christian couples, but the first indication of religious marriage has always been based on the relationship between God and His people, Jesus and His church. And that relationship, in both cases, has always been that of unconditional love (granted it is harder to see in the Old Testament than the New, I will give you that). The idea of unconditional love is lost in our everyday language. The greeks had four beautiful words that expressed love and all the different ways we used it, which you may have heard before:
- éros – sexual love
- philia – friendship or familiar love
- storge – familial love
- agápe – unconditional love
We tend to lump love into one word to cover a multitude of emotions. I can love chocolate, my friends, my wife, and my family all in different ways but I tend to use the one word for all. After generations of conditioning ourselves to think that love is love, no matter the case, it is easy to see that marriage becomes the general love as opposed to a certain type. Now this does not mean to say you cannot experience different loves within a marriage, but the overarching theme is that of agapic love; a type of love that does not falter in good or bad, health and sickness, rich and poor. But when I forget this kind, and choose my definition of love out of convenience for my current situation (i.e. I love my wife when she is cooking dinner, riding her bike with me, letting me sleep in) and making it conditional on my feelings, I am doomed to fail in that marriage, and more importantly, it opens up the question, “Why?”
I think this has always been the answer I’ve given with different wording but the ultimate reason is I made a promise to my wife when we got married and furthermore, I made a promise to God. Within that promise I chose unconditional love over deciding when to love her and when I would not. If it seems simplistic, that fact of that matter is, it is. The choice is simple and the actions, when they are fully chosen and believed, are just as simple.
If the above isn’t enough, a good reason why would be I just got to spend the most incredible Valentine’s Weekend with my wife. Had a few days of application submission for jobs as well as relaxing, cooking, and bike rides. See below:
So with the love of my life, a new vocation, and a job interview lined up for next week, I would say,