It was a long day, and we were both exhausted. I opened our front door, and the first thing I saw was the sink full of dirty dishes, messy floor and crumbs on the kitchen bench. Fuming, I stomped into the kitchen and started cleaning without talking to Joel. I thought to myself, “What a great valentine’s day we have”. My husband, noticing that I was upset, asked what he could do, and then quietly went about coating the chicken drumsticks with flour and frying them for dinner.
As the chickens sizzled away in the pan and all the dishes were clean and put away to dry on the rack, I became calmer and realized that I could have treated Joel more kindly. You see, I was hoping for some sparkling romance. I was expecting a bouquet of flowers or a box of chocolate. I wanted to be assured of Joel’s love by this physical expression. Yet if I had looked more intently, I would see that my husband loves me through his quiet servitude – when he gets up early so he can take me to work; when he gives me a back scratch because my sun-burnt skin is peeling; when he sits with me through a chick flick to keep me company; when he drives out of the way so we can get Thai food; or when he chooses cookbooks as gifts because he knows I love cooking.
For the past year and ten months, marriage has taught me that love is a commitment between the two of us. Yes, there is the romantic aspect that comes with candle-lit dinner and sitting under starry night. But, most of the time, it is the display of fierce loyalty to one another and the overflowing of grace and forgiveness in this household. In this dirty kitchen, we are truly rid of any pretense. We recognize our imperfection; and we strive to love better by imitating Jesus Christ.
I am slowly learning to keep my words few and my attitude kind towards Joel; and to make space for God in this relationship so He may fill us up with the depth of insight into how He loves. After all, dirty dishes can be cleaned in a few minutes. But broken heart may take months, if not years, to heal.
“And this is my prayer: That our love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that we may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless until the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ—to the glory and praise of God.
(from Phil. 1:9-11)