How Love Grows – Part 3
The goal for love in a marriage is to reach the third stage of love. We define this stage of love as “I love you for who you are.” Now we move beyond loving our spouse for how they make us feel, and beyond loving our spouse for what they do for us. Now we love our spouse simply for who they are.
From the beginning of our lives, we have sought to be loved this way. But no one has been purely loved this way. We have all experienced judgments, criticisms, and conditions attached to our being loved. Even though it is our desire, the thought of being loved this way also stirs up fear. That’s because love and fear are opposites emotions. John tells us in I John 4:19 that “perfect love expels fear. But no one can humanly loved perfectly, so there is always some fear attached to our ability to love and be loved.
Think of the movement of these two emotions: Love is always movement towards someone. Fear is always movement away from someone. You can see the predicament we are in when we seek to love, or be loved, simply for who we are. But the proper question really is, “Can I love my spouse this way?” What happens when we do that?
There is an old story about a man named Johnny Lingo. He lived in the Pacific Islands and was very successful. In his culture, you bought your wife with cows. A good woman might fetch three cows, and someone really incredible might cost 4 cows. Johnny wanted to marry Sarita, who was considered too skinny and homely to fetch even three cows.
When Johnny sat down with Sarita’s father to negotiate the price, he father suggested 3 cows, but Johnny quickly countered with an offer of 8 cows–a price no one had ever paid for a wife. Johnny became a legend, but what was amazing was what happened to Sarita. When a visitor to the Islands heard the story, he went to meet Johnny and Sarita. He could hardly believe the beauty of Sarita.
When Sarita lived at home, she believed she was worth nothing much. Now she knew she was worth more than any other woman in the Islands. Johnny said he wanted to marry an 8 cow wife. Sarita was loved as an 8 cow wife. And she became an 8 cow wife! More next posting.
Question: What would happen in your marriage if you treating each other as if you were both “8 cow spouses?”