Monday, September 08, 2014

The Honeymoon Ain't Over!

Having a blast at the zoo, 9/6/14. All couples should have a zoo membership. I decree it to be so.

"The honeymoon's over."
I really don't think it's too strong of a term to say that I hate that phrase. Maybe I'm just a bit sensitive, being a newlywed. Maybe the romantic in me (the one who squirms uncontrollably like a happy puppy during "Cinderella" and sobs inconsolably like a collicky baby during "Return To Me") rises up and rebells at the thought of honeymoon intensity being unsustainable.  But our pre-marriage counselor blew that thought out of the water. Honeymoon intensity can't last forever, he cautioned. "Right now your hormones are raging and your mind is in a constant state of fireworks," he said. "It's just not sustainable, and that's okay." 

Humph, said I. 

And yet the practical side of me (*note: not the side that wept while watching cartoon "Tarzan's" gorilla mama die) understood that our counselor was right. Ryan and I discussed that while enjoying the stage of our relationship where even just holding hands was electrifyingly wonderful, we anticipated the stage where more depth could occur... love would then flow more from commitment and intimacy, and less on emotion and passion. Soon we'd get the chance to CHOOSE to adore each other through faults and annoyances, grouchy days, bad breath and pimples. And the beautiful, fragrant flower that is love places deep roots and finds nourishment through the daily grind of life.

We've been married for a year now. Yesterday, 9/7 was our anniversary! I can't deny that while I still reach for his hand at every opportunity and find my eyes wandering around a crowded room until they settle on him, I don't feel quite the same indignant sense of grievous injustice when I don't get to sit next to him at the dinner table. :) In short, our counselor was totally right. Our love has deepened. Our roots are growing. The fireworks of our dating days have morphed into Chinese lanterns... quieter, steadier, brightly burning for a long, long time. 

A few months ago my mom sent us this John Piper daily devotional piece she had just read:

“As the bridegroom rejoices over the bride, so shall your God rejoice over you.” (Isaiah 62:5)
When God does good to his people it is not so much like a reluctant judge showing kindness to a criminal whom he finds despicable (though that analogy has truth in it); it is like a bridegroom showing affection to his bride.
Sometimes we joke and say about a marriage, “The honeymoon is over.” But that’s because we are finite. We can’t sustain a honeymoon level of intensity and affection. But God says his joy over his people is like a bridegroom over a bride.
He is talking about honeymoon intensity and honeymoon pleasures and honeymoon energy and excitement and enthusiasm and enjoyment. He is trying to get into our hearts what he means when he says he rejoices over us with all his heart.
And add to this, that with God the honeymoon never ends. He is infinite in power and wisdom and creativity and love and will see to it that we get more and more beautiful forever; and he is infinitely creative to think of new things to do together so that there will be no boredom for the next trillion ages of millenniums.

Reading that was a defining moment in my spiritual life. I compared it to the feelings that Ryan and I had in our dating days and on our honeymoon... the exhaustingly wonderful exhilaration of new love... and realized that GOD's love for ME is like that. Always. Never ending. He is able to sustain both the intense ecstasy and the deep level commitment that we humans have a hard time balancing. We'd grow exhausted--ok, and maybe a little creepy--if the honeymoon never really ended. But Jesus, the Mighty, Inexhaustible Most High God, feels such passion and delight in us that it's impossible for time to dim it. Our failures can't disappoint Him enough for His firework love to dim. Our coolness can't extinguish His ardor. Our faults can't induce Him to take off His rose colored glasses. The sheer constant mononity of our puny human lives does not bore Him into disinterest. 

He is madly, deeply, passionately in love with you and I.  Oh, what a mystery!!!