I remember staying up late by the campfire, and taking walks in the moonlight. Yet washing dishes together last night was somehow just as sweet. I'm so glad that I've never held another lover’s hand. He gave me my first kiss when I was nineteen, and he asked me to wear his ring, to be his bride, to share his days to share his life. It all seemed so right, and it still does...
I remember the spring when he placed a wedding ring on my finger. The sky was so blue that day when I gave him my heart for a lifetime. I was his bride, I still am.
I remember a honeymoon cabin in the woods, and everything that we had waited for. Spring turned to summer as we camped along the river in Austria, where mountains rose up and villages were sweet. We walked for miles through the vineyards and orchards, with seven years of history and a lifetime ahead to share.
And we couldn't wait to start a family. I remember when our little boy was born, just in time for our first anniversary. I remember the tears in my husband's eyes when he first heard our baby cry. I remember how our tiny son looked right into his daddy's eyes, and he was just two minutes old. As we shared the miracle of new life, the truest expression of our love and unity, I feel in love with my husband all over again. That same feeling washes over me with every little child born into our precious family. I'm simply amazed. I am amazed at how strong and sweet love can be as we tuck in baby number nine, and enjoy the quiet of night once all the kids are fast asleep.
And I still miss my husband when he's gone. And I can't wait to have him home each day. I love the way he holds me close and prays for me every night and every morning. I love his gentle voice and the way he kisses away my tears. I love the way he fills our home with music, He loves the way I fill out home with art. I love the way he treasures me, and how he still holds my hand. He loves me when I'm silly, He loves me when I'm scared, He loves when I burn the pumpkin pie.
I can't help smiling, delighting in the joy that has been growing these twenty-something years, and yet it seems like we are just beginning to learn what love really is.
Love is sharing, giving, sacrifice, Love is laying down my wants and plans and living life together. Love is waiting, persevering, being faithful and forgiving. Love is gentle, love works hard; love is the teacher of our hearts. Love will thrive when life's a grind, love always has the time. Love brings healing, even when it hurts. Love doesn't give up. Love doesn't live for selfish gain and passing pleasure.
Love will stay up late at night, to rock a baby by moonlight. Love simply treasures life. Love is there when all else fails. Love is humble, love prevails. Love does dishes. Love scrubs floors. Love takes little, but gives much more.
This summer as we camped along the river in Austria, returning to the place of our honeymoon, where mountains rose up and villages were sweet. We walked for miles through the vineyards and orchards, with a baby in tow, and our eight other children were back home in Italy with Grandma and Granddad. With more than twenty years of history and a lifetime ahead to share, we are still falling in love, and we wonder how it is that our love can be so sweet and how life can be so beautiful. And as I sit by the campfire, I watch as the light flickers on the pages of the Bible in my husband’s hands, as he flips to 1 Corinthians chapter 13. Where the secret to a life of love is revealed.
Human love can be so sweet, so satisfying, and so beautiful, but human love will always let you down. The secret to a life of love is this: God's love never fails, never ends and never runs dry. No other love compares you see, to the love my Savior's given to me. Love is poured out in our lives through faith, through hope and sacrifice. The deepest love is the love of Christ, the love that bore a cross. The truest love will save the lost. The greatest love gives life and peace. It’s only by the love of God that my husband and I ever understood what love was meant to be. When we open our hearts to the fountain of God’s love, when we think about how much God has forgiven us, how much God has given to us, loving each other comes so easily. The love of God is everlasting, and the love of God is the river of life that flows into our hearts, our lives, our marriage, our family.
So when the campfire is only embers, and the years become decades, and we find ourselves surrounded by the laughter of our children’s children our love will yet be deeper still. We will smile at each other the same way we did when I was fifteen and he was holding the umbrella on that stormy day when we first began to fall in love.