We "love" our spouse, family, friends, and bacon. That just seems wrong somehow, using the same word when we mean something completely different. If you love your spouse the same way you love bacon, I'm going to recommend counseling. The Greeks had at least four different words for different kinds of love. We use one four letter word that seems to have lost a lot of meaning these days.
We speak of being in love and loving someone as if it is the same thing. It's not. "In love" is something that happens to you, sometimes in spite of your best efforts. "Love" is a choice you make when the feel-good fuzzy feelings have gone away and the person you were "in love" with does something incredibly stupid. Love is an action verb, and it is time society woke up to that fact.
I've read that being "in love" lasts about three years, maximum. This partially explains why the divorce rate is as high as it is. Personally, I place a lot of blame on Hollywood for giving society unrealistic expectations of what love is. They are good at portraying "in love," but they rarely even attempt portraying real love.
Don't get me wrong. Being in love is real, and it's natural. It's wonderful while it lasts. It just doesn't last indefinitely, and it's unrealistic to expect it to do so. That's why I said love is an action verb. It's not passive. It's work. Hard work. Whether it's worth it or not is up to you.
The week before my wedding, I was getting the oil changed in my car. I was talking to the shop owner, and my impending marriage came up. He told me that he'd been married 20+ years, and that marriage was hard. I kept waiting for him to follow up with the statement that it was still wonderful, that it was worth it…something. He finally just walked away. Either he had the weirdest sense of humor that I have ever encountered, or one of the saddest marriages.
In the past year, I've always remembered that encounter when love got a little hard. I hope to always remember that. Leaving that anticipated statement unsaid drives home the point that it's up to me. Each time, I have to answer the question: Is it worth it? Yes. Yes, it is.
This is as much a reminder for myself as for anyone else. I know I'm young. I know I'm inexperienced, but I want to succeed. I want my marriage to last because it has a solid foundation on God and love, not because I believe divorce is wrong. I want my love to grow stronger with each time I choose love even when it's not the easy route. By God's grace, it will.