No truer words have ever been spoken in marriage vows. It’s completely ironic how these words can be prophetic. The death of marriage will play out this way. The death of all love happens the same way. Two people come together. Usually there is an attraction or interest. They begin to get to know one another and start the huge dance of trading for love. What does that look like?
Imagine riding down the road and coming across a shack. The boards are gray and weathered, a few of them are even missing. They have been worn down by time and the elements i.e. not feeling loved. You can see glimpses of sunshine through the places the boards no longer meet. Opportunistic weeds and plants i.e. life’s experiences that were unloving, have grown around this place and it is an eyesore. This is much like what a person’s heart is like who has never felt real love. They can be totally awesome and they can even buy and trade imitation love to the point that they seem confident and happy. But with this heart can someone really be happy?
Now imagine this heart and another heart just like it deciding to get into a relationship and eventually marry. What happens is that they start to barter for love. They try to fix up each other’s shacks. The remodel begins. They exchange vows and marry and now have two shacks joined by not only imitation love but sex as well. The thing about imitation love is that it is such a counterfeit that when two people start out , they are feeling pretty happy even giddy. Their friends wish them well and sigh hoping for a love like that. That’s like putting new carpet in the shack and throwing on paint. Can you imagine that the worn down shack will be anything better if it’s just aesthetically fixed up? Paint won’t fix breeches in the walls i.e. places love was broken when they were children. Carpet won’t make the foundation of that shack more sure. The foundation is everything. If it’s weak the house will always be weak. It’s a dead house and will just be a dead house. That’s much like our old life when we were imitating love that is based on conditions. The conditions are like a deadly dance.
Imagine going to a graveyard and two people begin to dance. Every action and reaction forms this unholy alliance. It is not long before the expectations of how their love should make them feel starts emptying them. They do not have the knowledge of loving without getting something or protecting themselves. Their expectation of love making them feel less empty and afraid begins to drown their life. Years of this deadly dance erodes the imitation love to the point that all that they have left is imitation. They go through the miserable motions of trying to hold something together that had died to the point that the marriage now resembles the shacks it started with. The marriage is dead and no real love was ever exchanged.
This best describes my past life. I hate saying that because I really thought my life was so much different. I have played much of my life on a field of death. The field of death has other names none of which make you happy. Approval, attention, selfishness, expectation, power, imitation love just to name a few. Anything that puts you in a position to barter with, control or be controlled are all dancing with death. Anything that takes responsibility for your happiness off of you and places it on to someone else is a field of death. When you are around people who leave you feeling empty or afraid you are dancing with death in that field. You will become a drowning person and start to panic trying to get the love you long for. NOTHING … NO THING… good comes from that. The consequences are huge to pay for living this way. Broken dreams, shattered lives, emptiness, misery, confusion and pain are all just a few of the trades we wind up with when imitation love fails. Until you know what real love is you will fall for imitation love every time.
So if you really want to talk about death. Then die to yourself and that life. Choose a new way that surpasses surviving and moves you into thriving. That way is unconditional love. Now remember I am still in that cocoon so I am a neophyte learning this myself. It felt like what I wrote above was deep in my heart.. I ache for all the years I played with death. The future will not be like the past. I’m painfully excited that I am learning a new way. That’s a pretty way of saying I was just imitating love because I never experienced it as a child . The consequences of that have affected my former marriage and my children greatly. Now I am learning that real love does meet the criteria of wanting someone’s happiness for them unconditionally.
I decided not to fix up an old shack… but to die to it and walk away. I am learning to build a new home for my heart that can hold all the love I have capacity to give and find people who know how to really see me and love me to share that with. I truly want to be free. We can stop dancing on the field of death. We can start today loving and being loved.
I Corinthians 13:10-13
10but when the perfect comes, the partial will be done away. 11When I was a child, I used to speak like a child, think like a child, reason like a child; when I became a man, I did away with childish things. 12For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face; now I know in part, but then I will know fully just as I also have been fully known. 13But now faith, hope, love, abide these three; but the greatest of these is love.
Back to my cocoon…. Still learning but finally getting a small clue.