I leaned in close to my beautiful Karen.
Her back was resting against the railing that separated us from the waterfall. This was the girl I would spend the rest of my life with, and I knew it. Earlier, we had walked through the small New York town of Rush. We held hands and laughed. We dreamed and ate chocolate. Now we were hidden from the whole world beneath the fir trees, our very own hideaway. We kissed. It was sweet, magical, beautiful, tender, affectionate—all the things a good kiss should be.
I knew I needed this girl in my life and I wanted to be a part of her life—till death do us part. A year later we got hitched. Two became one.
I married Karen because I needed her, every part of her. As Jerry McGuire said “She completes me.” It’s the truth, a healthy absolute. I am truly lost without her. I need her mind, her compassion, her patience, her wisdom, her revelation, her encouragement, her smile...
“If a relationship is built solely on needs being met it will eventually collapse into a legal partnership.”
And it isn’t wrong to need her, but I have discovered over the last twenty-something years that while “needs met” is a beautiful part of love, it can't be the foundation.
If a relationship is built solely on needs being met it will eventually collapse into a legal partnership, a business relationship, a sterile agreement to cohabitation. If each person in a relationship is primarily focussed on their needs being met, at some point their love will grow apathetic and cold, at some point the lovers will fall out of love.
True love is measureless, it grows exponentially, it defines and makes sure, it empowers and encourages, it has an answer and redeems every issue, heartache, and disappointment. Marriage is meant to be an intimate covenant of this love, a beautiful expression of the measureless power of love.
When love is at the center of a relationship, when we are becoming love, then a relationship is not about what I can get or how I meet my needs, it’s about what I can give. And the generous truth in this relationship is not only are needs met, needs are exceeded in the measureless abundance of love. It's in laying down our lives for each other that we grow in love.
“Falling out of love is not possible if you are becoming love.”
Falling out of love is not possible if you are becoming love.
If Karen and I only loved each other for needs met, we would miss out on intimacy. Intimacy is the greatest expression of love and trust. I am not just writing about the physical. Intimacy is available in every aspect of a relationship where giving is the foundation. Intimacy is way bigger than needs met. Intimacy is about revelation, about knowing and being known. Karen and I have been married nearly a quarter century and she is more fascinating to me today than yesterday. The more I give myself to her, the more I want to know her. The more I know her the more I have to give.
It's the same in our relationship with God. If we only love Him for what He can do for us, if our love revolves around needs met, our love will grow stale, lukewarm. And if we aren’t in a growing discovery of love, received and given, we will end up relating to Him through the dysfunction of need.
“If we only love God for what He can do for us, if our love revolves around needs met, our love will grow stale, lukewarm.”
We love because He first loved (1st John 4:19). He already gave - everything. Every aspect of who He is, is available to us and discovered in giving ourselves to Him.
In the revelation of His perfect love is an invitation to knowing, to giving, to growing sure, to trust and intimacy. To grow in love is to give love like God gives. May we all grow in love.
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Jason Clark is a writer, speaker and lead communicator at A Family Story ministries. His mission is to encourage sons and daughters, fathers and mothers, to grow sure in the love of an always-good heavenly Father. He and his wife, Karen, live in North Carolina with their three children. Website: www.afamilystory.org