The following quote is from Tim Keller. It’s from his book The Meaning of Marriage (a book that some have called the best book on Christian marriage that they have ever read.) I found this quote to be a great expression of the beautiful way that passion in marriage matures as couples spend the years together. It also made me aware that the love Christ has for me (which marriage pictures) is not the thrill of a boyfriend discovering new and thrilling things about his girlfriend; it’s an deep and beautiful love from a husband who knows His bride fully and intimately–and yet loves her anyway!
What you think of as being head over heels in love is in large part a gust of ego gratification, but it’s nothing like the profound satisfaction of being known and loved.When over the years someone has seen you at your worst, and knows you with all your strengths and flaws, yet commits him- or herself to you wholly, it is a consummate experience. To be loved but not known is comforting but superficial. To be known and not loved is our greatest fear. But to be fully known and truly loved is, well, a lot like being loved by God. It is what we need more than anything. It liberates us from pretense, humbles us out of our self-righteousness, and fortifies us for any difficulty life can throw at us. The kind of love life I am talking about is not devoid of passion, but it’s not the same kind of passion that is there during the days of naivete. When Kathy first held my hand, it was an almost electrical thrill. Thirty-seven years later, you don’t get the same buzz out of holding your wife’s hand that you did the first time. But as I look back on that initial sensation, I realize that it came not so much from the magnitude of my love for her but from the flattery of her choice of me. In the beginning it goes to your head, and there is some love in that, but there are a lot of other things, too. There is no comparison between that and what it means to hold Kathy’s hand now, after all we’ve been through. We know each other thoroughly now; we have shared innumerable burdens, we have repented, forgiven, and been reconciled to each other over and over. There is certainly passion. But the passion we share now differs from the thrill we had then like a noisy but shallow brook differs from a quieter but much deeper river. Passion may lead you to make a wedding promise, but then that promise over the years makes the passion richer and deeper.
(HT Tony Reinke, Matthew Sims)