My husband and I are coming up on thirty years of marriage. I can say, without hesitation, that I love him more now than I did as a wide-eyed, blushing bride all those years ago. Back then, I didn’t think it was possible. But we’ve been through so much together in these past three decades, each victory and trial cementing our dedication to each other.
I may not be a qualified expert in the area, but I know a thing or two about marriage and I’m going to tell you something that will have the relationship experts tsk-ing and shaking their heads in disappointment.
It isn’t all about the love.
It’s true we say things such as, “I like vanilla, but I love chocolate,” or “I like this color, but I love that color,” to indicate the degree of our adoration. But sometimes liking something or someone can be more telling.
“I love you, but I don’t have to like you.”
Have you ever heard that? I have. I’ve said it a time or two, as well. It’s a true statement. I love my husband utterly. I love my children beyond measure. But sometimes I don’t like the way they act and, I daresay, the sentiment has been returned.
Let me put it another way. Do you have any friends you don’t like? You shouldn’t. We choose our friends because we like them and enjoy being around them. Sure, there might be those occasions when they do or say something we’re not particularly fond of (or visa-versa), but on the whole we like them. That’s why they’re our friend.
Now let me ask you this. Do you have any family members, whom you love, but don’t necessarily like to be around? (This is a safe place and that person probably isn’t reading this, so it’s okay to admit.) If you’re not sure, let’s chat after Christmas and the family get-togethers that commence.
The Bible talks often about how much God loves us.
Both the Old and New Testaments are very clear on the subject. This month we celebrate the tangible gift of God’s love for us in the birth of His Son. It’s difficult to grasp the full extent of His affection for us because it goes much deeper than we are humanly able to understand. But we know, and hopefully believe, God loves us completely.
Do you ever stop to wonder if God likes you, though?
If Jesus were to call you up and ask to meet up with him at the local coffee shop, do you think it would be out of familial obligation or because he genuinely enjoys your company? I think it would be the latter. I mean, he loves everyone, whether they believe in him or not (John 3:16). But he reserves friend status for those of us who know him.
… but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you. ~ John 15:15
He likes us! He really likes us!
We, as devoted Christ-followers, are a part of Jesus’ inner circle. Those he calls “friends”.
Let me come full circle, here. I waxed poetical about how I love my husband more today than yesterday (but not as much as tomorrow) at the beginning of this article. That’s as it should be. But what I didn’t say, and what is more spectacular to my way of thinking, is that I still like him. I enjoy spending time with him.
Being loved is special, but being liked is its own kind of extraordinary.
Do you believe Jesus would want to hang out with you? Why or why not?