It’s some time in February 1965 and I’m hot and bothered in the back seat of my future sister-in-law’s car, traveling from Johannesburg to Salisbury(now Harare) for her wedding.  As her best friend, she has asked me to be her bridesmaid. The window is open, but the air that blows in is dusty-hot (no AC in those days) and we are longing for our destination.

Little did I know that I was on my way to meet my future – Best Beloved (who happened to be bestman) and the life God would call us into. We have almost lost count of the birthdays we have celebrated since then, and now we count the blessings of contented old age 😊!Tomorrow happens to be his 76th birthday but he will leave in the morning for a CfaN event, so I have planned a special dinner tonight – lamb chops, coconut/ginger rice, with a little green salad on the side. Cooking for him is one of my creative joys, and I am so grateful for every day of this life we still travel together, in spite of his somewhat frequent forays into the world of sporting accidents! As someone said to him recently – “Pete, I think your brain has not yet caught up with your body”!

This, naturally, takes me down some interesting thought trails about the nature of love and commitment – the ‘for better, for worse’ part of the vows we make. Romance is fleeting but love grows, and as I heard a wiseman say – ‘Love is what you do when romance has worn off.’ The amazing thing is just how rich thoughtful love is, and, given time and experience, it develops some wonderful tools to inject romance when it is most needed. This is usually the product of valuing what is important to your spouse even when it makes little sense to you 😊

I find that my God-life is exactly like that. My heart was opened to our Lord Jesus at the tender age of 7, but I did not learn to love Him deeply, without reservation until I began to understand the nature of love. Emotions and feelings tended to dominate much of my experience with God in the early days of my relationship with Him (perhaps that is a natural consequence of being saved as a child?), and it was not until hard lessons knocked on my door that I began to learn what it means to love the Lord with all my heart, soul, mind, and strength.

I’m sure we all love the scripture from Jeremiah: ‘I have loved you with an everlasting love. I have drawn you with unfailing kindness.’ Kindness is really just love in action. The familiarity that comes from living with someone for a long time can give birth to ‘the little foxes that spoil the vine’ (Song of Solomon 2). Sadly, it is all too easy to be unkind when you know someone well enough to know their weaknesses – perhaps better than you know your own!

The longer I live, the more I understand these words from Paul: ‘But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord.’

Everlasting love and unfailing kindness – these are proof of the dedicated life and committed marriage.