I love a good love story. If it’s a true love story, I love it even more! We often say to couples, “Tell me how you two met.” What we are really saying is, “Tell me your love story!”
I’ve heard some sweet stories lately. I recently met a couple who knew each other from birth, dated very young and married at age 16. They just celebrated their 60th anniversary, and, most importantly, they’re still in love!
Another friend mentioned in casual conversation that she met her husband at age 15, and they dated for six years. Now, six kids and 32 years later, they’re still enamored with each other.
These stories are just precious. They check all the boxes of love, laughter and happily-ever-after in my book!
But what do we do when love ends?
Living a great love story can make the dissolution of the relationship seem unbearable. God’s design for marriage was never meant to include divorce, but it happens all too often. I believe the greatest personal sadness of divorce is that you lose your love story.
One of the hardest things I had to come to grips with through my divorce was not understanding why God, who can do anything, didn’t save my marriage. I decided to focus instead on what I do know. I know that God won’t force change on us, and sometimes people operate free will in a direction other than one He would choose. I also know that God is good. Always. I know He rescued me from a bad situation and redeemed me from the curse of my own bad choices. He’s faithful, especially through sorrow.
What does it take to survive and then recover from such bitter loss?
We must allow ourselves time to grieve. Sorrow does great work in bringing us nearer to the heart of God. In a season of loss, the Father will prick and prod our hearts in order to refine us and lead us on a path of healing. We will find that, if left alone, that which is burned away in the fire of refinement would have done us more harm than the pain of the burning. Know that in the flames, you are continually held, loved and fought for by the Father.
Psalm 18:16-19 says:
He reached down from heaven and rescued me; He drew me out of deep waters. He rescued me from my powerful enemies, from those who hated me and were too strong for me. They attacked me at a moment when I was in distress, but the Lord supported me. He led me to a place of safety; He rescued me because He delights in me.
Even if you did everything wrong in your story, it’s not the end for you. If the “powerful enemies” in your life are your own regrets and fears, God still fights for you. And, yes, He truly does delight in you! Zephaniah 3:17 tell us,
For the Lord your God is living among you. He is a mighty Savior. He will take delight in you with gladness. With His love, He will calm all your fears. He will rejoice over you with joyful songs.
Our Heavenly Father, with whom our most celebrated love story is entangled, does not leave us in despair. The loss you have felt will be made beautiful once His redeeming love steps onto the scene.
O storm-battered city, troubled and desolate! I will rebuild you on a foundation of sapphires and make the walls of your houses from precious jewels. –Isaiah 54:11
Marriage is God’s desire. It’s a gift He has given us to be lived out on this earth. It tempers us, stretches us and fulfills us. He is ever present with wisdom and direction daily in our relationships. And oh, how we need it!
I am but a foreigner here on earth; I need the guidance of Your commands. … Your decrees please me; they give me wise advice. –Psalm 119:19, 24
Staying within God’s wisdom and direction is a crucial part of living a great love story.
God tells us how to love in Romans 12:10, “Love each other with genuine affection, and take delight in honoring each other,” and what to watch out for in James 3:15-16, “… jealously and selfishness are not God’s kind of wisdom … wherever there is jealousy and selfish ambition, there you will find disorder and every kind of evil.”
Waiting on Your Love Story
When I purpose to love with abandon, give unselfishly and delight in honoring my spouse, that’s when my greatest love story is written. When I make marriage about me, all hell is poised to break loose.
If you’ve lost your love story, I’m so sorry. Know that God is a good Father. If you ask for bread, He won’t give you a stone (Matthew 7:9-11). Translated into marriage-speak: If you ask for a godly marriage, He won’t give you a debacle. The key is waiting on His plan and resisting the urge to rush forward with ours.
God gave me a second love story that is so much greater than the first. This one is written by His hand, not mine. I know He’ll do the same for you. Your heart is held by the unconditional love of the Father. This simple knowledge will sustain you within and without a relationship. We may know love without God in this life, but it won’t be the love story we desire. That story requires the unshakable foundation God provides for two people who are willing to do things His way.
You are not finished living a great love story. Just wait and see; true love is coming for you.