When my wife and I got married, some friends of ours gave us a copy of The Meaning of Marriage by Timothy and Kathy Keller, famously of Redeemer Presbyterian Church in New York City. It took me a couple years, but I finally got around to reading it and at an appropriate time, too.
The subtitle for the book is, “Facing the Complexities of Commitment with the Wisdom of God”. The work covers a thorough range in the realm of wedlock, including how to prep for marriage, how to love your partner better, dealing with the intricacies of a relationship, and ultimately centering the marriage around Christ and His gospel. Though the topics are many, the consistent theme that stood out to me was how much effort goes into matrimony.
Love may have a storybook beginning, but it can never sustain itself in such a way. C.S. Lewis notes the “explosive love” initially felt must give way to a more “quiet love” if it is to last. Marriage is when that quiet love is of most importance. Yet to master that transition doesn’t come easily. When I got married, I quickly learned that it would not be smooth sailing. I had to learn my wife’s moods, delicately handle tense situations, and figure out what made her tick. It was trying work, but worth it a couple years later as I feel we have a strong marriage. The sweat I put into our union was truly a “labor of love”.
While I probably should’ve read this book shortly after our wedding (or shortly before), to read it now is also apropo. With a child on the way, our marriage is about to shift gears and enter new, unexplored territory. The road will get bumpy and the mettle of our marriage will be tested yet again. The growth of our love will come with much blood, sweat, and tears, but at the end of our labor is a sweetness only won by the work.