Everything was all well and good for Chris and me in our first little dumpy apartment. We even laughed about the squirrel break-in – the rascal ate our cocoa mix and knocked over some stuff in our kitchenet.
But then Chris got sick.
I’m not a doctor and I might have been raised a little tough, so my first thought was: “Man, I married a sissy.” I’m ashamed to say I half-heartedly attempted to make him comfortable. I thought he just had the sniffles, but I started to worry when his cough worsened.
It turned out that Chris had a case of walking pneumonia and I felt like a heel after his doctor’s appointment.
A week later I came down with the worst sinus infection of my life. Chris seemed to be feeling a bit better with medicine and I could tell the man truly wanted to take care of his new (undeserving) spouse.
In a short amount of time, we both shared some pretty pathetic situations. Those were disgusting, yucky moments when we saw each other at our worst, and God taught me that love wasn’t about the candlelit dinners or sappy love letters – it was about taking care of each other … especially when I didn’t feel like it.
To love someone as Christ does means you act selflessly, find joy in serving and build your life around them. God used our sickness to change my perspective, my attitude and my outlook on our marriage. Our relationship was strengthened after we took care of one another in moments of sickness – rather than in health – and I learned those rough patches are times when God teaches us the most.
On this Valentine’s Day, not only am I reminded of our first “hard” winter together but of God’s miraculous love that is far from the commercialized version of “love” that our society depicts. This love is not shallow or mushy – it’s the kind of love that is willing to die for you. It’s a true love that forgives unceasingly, chases your heart and fulfills your soul.
To love someone as Christ does isn’t always pretty, but it’s the best love.
Becca Haines is a communications coordinator for Christ In Youth. She is married to Chris, and their children are Nolan, 7, and Nora, 5.